The right way to quit

The right way to quit

With a little grace you can leave an old job without burning bridges.
Mar 01, 2008

Dr. Jeff Rothstein
A team member quit recently after having been with my practice group for five years. She left for what she thought was a better opportunity outside the profession. She gave two weeks' notice but didn't fully complete it and was supposed to train someone to take over her job duties but didn't. After being a valued team member for so long, why did she choose to leave on a sour note? Too often good team members quit the wrong way even though they're leaving on good terms and could use a favorable reference.

Are you quitting your job? Use these tips to do it gracefully: your head held high and remaining in the good graces of your friends and contacts.

  • Avoid a bitter break even if you're fed up.
  • Give two weeks' notice or more. Doctors often agree to a longer phase-out period, such as one to three months.
  • Put it in writing. Provide your boss with a short note about your departure so it's official. Stick with the basics. You can always provide more feedback during the exit interview.
  • Provide a list of your tasks and projects and who could do them or be trained to do them.
  • Discuss what benefits are owed to you, like vacation time, so it's settled before you leave.
  • If you feel unsafe or threatened, discuss the situation with a trusted manager so you can make a case for quitting without an exit period.

Another team member also decided to leave not long ago. She was making a career change and brought in her pet for care one last time before she headed out of town to start graduate school. The team was excited to see her and talk to her about what she was up to. Now isn't that how you'd want to leave things?

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, is president of The Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group in Michigan.