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Dear Career Coach,

When it comes to quitting, is it terrible to leave without giving much notice?

Eager to Hit the Road

Dear Eager to Hit the Road,

Here’s the short answer: Yes. Generally, it’s not wise to leave a job without providing your employer adequate notice. You can really leave them in a lurch and tarnish your own professional reputation by doing so.

While there are some circumstances that require you to get out as soon as possible, it’s typically in your best interest to give your employer necessary time to adjust to your leaving.

With that in mind, when you’re planning to quit your job, the best thing you can do is to engage in a discussion with your manager about what works best for you and for them in terms of the transition period.

Perhaps they would like you to stay on through the completion of a project, until the end of a peak season, or until a co-worker returns from a leave of absence. If that’s not possible—and it’s OK if it isn’t—try to assuage their fears by creating a thorough transition plan.

Even if your notice period is short, you should still make the most of the days or weeks you have left in that role. Remember, a negative exit will not only impact you, but also your co-workers’ and manager’s final impression of you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re moving across the world to take a new position—it’s never beneficial to burn bridges. You don’t know who they might know when you seek your next opportunity. And you don’t know where they’ll end up working.

Be aware that once you give your notice, it’s possible for your employer to walk you out of the office on the spot—so be prepared for that potential scenario. That could provide you with the immediate closure you hoped for.

Whether it’s days or weeks, use this time to wrap up your work effectively, be kind to your co-workers, and generally leave an awesome impression. Rather than thinking, “I just have to perform these same tasks for two more weeks” think, “How can I leave everyone at this company with a positive impression of me and my work?”

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. Our experts are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask a Credible Career Coach in the subject line.

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Updated 6/19/2020