quit your job
quit your job

How to Quit Your Job

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If you’re thinking about quitting your job, there are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind as you transition to what’s next. Whether you’re moving to a new employer, going to work for yourself, or retiring, you’ll want to make sure not to make some of these common mistakes. Let’s talk about some of the things that you’ll want to know about before you quit your job.

What to Consider Before Quitting Your Job

It should go without saying that the best time to find a new job is while you already have one. If you have the flexibility, you should try to plan out what happens after you quit your job. Here are a few things that you’ll want to consider before quitting your job:

  • Have some money saved up in your emergency fund since it may be a while before your first paycheck at your new job comes in.
  • If you have a company laptop or phone, make sure to remove any personal information before your last day
  • Your health insurance will likely change — if the insurance with your current job has you in a good spot, make sure to schedule doctor and dentist appointments before you go
  • Redo your budget with the information for your new job or financial situation

How to Rollover your 401(k) plan

Another thing that you should make sure to take care of is any 401(k) or retirement accounts that are associated with your previous employer. Unlike an IRA which belongs to you individually, 401(k) accounts are associated with a specific employer. If you don’t take action, your 401(k) account will just stay where it is and you may lose some control over the money in there. You won’t actually lose any money that you’ve invested in your 401(k), but it’s best to rollover your 401(k) account into an IRA so you can control how it’s invested.

Another financial thing to do before quitting your job is what to do if you have any company stock. Of course, this won’t apply to all companies, but it’s important to understand how leaving your company will affect any stock grants or options that you have. Most employee profit-sharing programs like options or stock grants have a vesting period. This means that if you leave before fully vesting, you may lose some of that stock. Make sure you understand that process before you quit your job.

Make Sure to Leave on a Positive Note

It’s also a good idea to leave your job on a positive note. While most of us have dreamed about a memorable job exit like pulling the inflatable emergency slide on an airplane and sliding to the runway, it’s best to keep your network intact and not burn any bridges. Do your best to make the transition as smooth as possible. Depending on your field, it may be likely that you will need to interact with your former co-workers down the road, so it’s best to keep things professional. It can also be a good time to give and ask for recommendations from your colleagues.

How to Negotiate Better Benefits or Work/Life Balance to Stay

If you’re in a situation where you feel that your pay or benefits are not where you think they should be, you don’t necessarily have to quit. This can be a situation where you can have an honest conversation with your manager about your situation and how you can get the pay, benefits, or recognition that you need. It makes sense to explore options at other companies, but also consider salvaging your current situation.

When you give notice to your current company, they may try to get you to stay. This could be a counteroffer with a bonus, better salary or promises of changes in the job situation. While deciding whether to take your current company’s counter offer will depend on your specific situation, it’s usually a good idea to proceed carefully. Even if you stay, your manager and others at your current company will know that you may leave again, and that may affect how you’re treated going forward.

The Bottom Line

You are responsible for your happiness and job circumstances, so if you’re at a job that is not working for you, it can make sense to quit your job to move to a different situation. If you do quit your job, make sure to plan ahead if you can, and be professional throughout the process. Before you leave your company, make sure you understand what will happen to any company stock grants or options once you leave. And once you do leave your company, promptly roll over the money from your company 401(k) plan to a retirement account that you control.

Dan Miller
Dan Miller

Written by Dan Miller

Dan Miller is a freelance writer and founder of PointsWithACrew.com, a site that helps families to travel for free / cheap. His home base is in Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and 6 kids. More from Dan Miller