How to Actually Leave Your Job

If your job is draining every part of your life, it may be time to leave. But what about when you already know it’s time? What if it’s been time for a while? Well, then it’s time to start taking the steps to leave.

Update Your Resume

We often forget to document the most important part of our careers when we’re actually in our careers. You should be updating your resume every few months (don’t worry, I don’t do it either). But, if you have not, then it’s time to do so. I know you don’t want to think about your crappy job, but think of all the things you’ve accomplished during your time there. Did you lead a project? That shows great leadership skills. Did you resolve a conflict between two co-workers? You’re a problem solver! No matter how much you don’t like your job, it will help boost you to the next place. So, get it on your resume and sell yourself.


I didn’t realize how important having a network was to my career. Having people who are connected will benefit you in so many ways. For me networking got me an internship in my field with no interview. That internship on top of my regular job made me look stellar to future employers. Your network may also recommend you for jobs (and recommendations are always better than randoms). So, start looking for networking events in your city. Sites like Meetup, Eventbrite, or even Facebook events can help you find some events to get those networking skills up. Clevelanders can find some great events at Engage! Cleveland, a non-profit young professionals organization.

Get Involved

Nothing shows passion for a field than being involved outside of work. For example, According to Brittney is my marketing project. I do all the writing (being a good writer is important in marketing), I do all of the social media (also a staple of marketing), and I write about topics like career and money management (which shows that I am responsible). Lastly, it shows that I work hard and have a passion for marketing.

What’s your passion project that shows more to you than a list of jobs you have to have to pay your bills? It could be volunteering at a non-profit. They always need extra help. You could also get on the board of one of your favorite organizations. Maybe having a side business like me to show that you have a wonderful work ethic. Employers often want to know if you have what it takes to go the extra mile!

Find Good Job References

I know that it can be hard to job-seek when you’re working, but having some reliable references are very important. Find someone in your job who knows you and your work ethic. Getting a good word from someone who works closely with you will show your future employers that you work well with others even though you are looking for new opportunities.

But be warned if you really work in a toxic environment, that someone may be on the path to sabotage (this has happened to me). Not everyone will be happy about you moving up and out. So, use people you trust to put in a good word for you.

Job Search

The dreaded job search. I remember getting out of college thinking that this piece of paper was going to do all the work in securing my future. The truth is the only thing securing my future was me. No one was banging down my door because I walked across the stage and got handed a degree. I worked for the degree and I had to do even more work to get the job I wanted.

So, where to start? This is where that network comes in. Search around to people you know whose jobs may be hiring or business owners you know who may need a helping hand. Many people don’t post jobs, but hire people through word of mouth. So, you need to be the word coming out of their mouth (make sense?).

Get yourself on LinkedIn. I don’t use it a lot, but it is literally a resume and a place to connect with others for business. You better have a profile (in fact, I’m searching for you right now). And of course, get your resume on all the popular boards. My favorite is Indeed. I have gotten so many internships and jobs (and found interns) on Indeed that I rarely ever use anything else. But I also recommend Glassdoor so you can see reviews of your prospective job.

Leave on Good Terms

Nothing would be more satisfying than screaming “I Quit,” throwing your paperwork in the air, and walking out for last time in slow motion. However, this isn’t a movie and you’re not crazy (right?). So, instead of telling your boss how you really feel, tell your boss that you’re putting in your two weeks, thank them for the opportunity, and walk away with grace. You may need a reference or, god forbid, to go back to that job one day. So, keep the break clean.

Also be willing to train someone or complete some projects before you leave. A two week notice does not mean a vacation from your job. Show that you’re a team player, even when one foot is out the door.

For most, it’s not easy to just get up and leave our jobs when they start to suck. But, if you take the right steps, you can leave a terrible situation and find a new one that is great, like I did!

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Brittney Moffatt

Brittney Moffatt is a social media and marketing specialist from Cleveland, Ohio. I’m one part pink, sparkles, and girly things. One part nerd who loves writing and play the Sims. And one part black lipstick, rock concerts, and vans. But, all parts fun, ambitious, and dedicated to helping young women!

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