Monday, March 25, 2013

Lulu's Mailbag: How to leave a job on good terms

J sends us a great question regarding leaving an intern position:

My husband is a physician finishing residency this June. He has taken a job out of state, and we will be moving. I am currently about a year and a half into an intern architect job that I found about 3 months out of grad school, and I love my job. I feel very loyal to the company, enjoy the work that I'm doing, and I am sad that I will have to leave. My husband and I weighed our options and decided that as great as my job is, his new job opportunity and the possible opportunities for our family in the new city were too good to pass up. 
The only reason I've ever had to leave a position before was to return to school. Any suggestions on the best way to part on good terms with my firm? I already feel guilty that I know that I'm leaving and that I haven't told them.  I am unsure about the timing - I don't want to leave them in a lurch on short notice, but I would like to keep working and gaining experience there as long as I can. 

First of all, J, it's great (and a relief) that you're able to leave this job under circumstances that are neither desperate nor disgruntled. You're actually in a great position to leave your firm. Your approach with your firm and your manager is straightforward and polite: 

"I wanted to let you know that my husband has accepted a position out of state. We're both really excited about this for him, but unfortunately it means I have to leave this firm. I've really enjoyed working here with such great, talented people and have learned so much. I'd like to work here as long as I can before we move in June, and I'm glad to train anyone new that you bring on board before I leave. I'd also like to make sure that I can rely on you for a good reference--if you're comfortable doing so--when I apply to other firms in our new location."

Interns and architects leave firms because of a spouse's job all the time. It's a reason to leave a firm that generally makes for no hard feelings, so I see little to no reason to worry about a graceful exit from this firm.

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