Friday, January 21

10 things to do before leaving your job

Man working from home without internet
fizkes /

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The penny hoarder.

If you’re ready to say goodbye to your 9-5 schedule, you’re not alone.

Millions of workers left their jobs last year, prompting the term “the Great Resignation.” Many others are considering making that move. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, more than 40% of American workers are actively seeking or planning to find a new job soon.

If you’re exhausted or frustrated with things at your current job, it can be tempting to hastily quit without doing any prep work. But the more you plan your exit, the better prepared you will be to handle the consequences.

Also, yelling “I’m quitting” or just getting off work will burn bridges and could hurt your future job search.

This employee resignation checklist details important steps to take before leaving your job.

1. Discover your next step

Excited man looking at documents while working from home
fizkes /

Unless you are financially independent and do not need a job to support your lifestyle, you will need a plan to earn money after leaving your job. It is best to review your options before losing your current income stream.

Consider applying for jobs before notifying your resignation. You can avoid having a break in income if you can start working in your new role as soon as your old one ends.

If you have entrepreneurial dreams and are not interested in working for another boss, check out our definitive guide to starting a business. This list of home business ideas can help you get started with little capital.

You may decide that you really just want to take some time off before launching into your next job search. Taking a professional gap year may mean you won’t see a paycheck, but the time off can be energizing and could help you better focus on what you’d like to do next.

2. Save money for the transition

Woman with piggy bank
Jason Stitt /

It’s smart to create a financial cushion before you quit your job. Even if you have another job scheduled, it may take an extra couple of weeks until you receive your first paycheck, or you may find that your new job is not exactly what you envisioned.

Have at least three to six months of living expenses saved in a emergency fund it’s ideal, but it’s best to save that money for a true emergency, like dealing with unexpected medical bills.

Instead, set up a sinking fund to save specifically for the costs you’ll encounter if you lose your job for any length of time.

3. Take care of the big expenses that lie ahead

A woman writes a check to pay bills

Big expenses seem to hurt the most when you’re unemployed and living off your savings. Before you leave your job, think about big up-front expenses, like new tires for your car, that you can pay for now while you’re still employed.

Also, it is vital to note that job loss can hamper your ability to qualify for financing or credit. If you’re in the middle of the home buying process, for example, losing your job could hurt your chances of getting a home loan, even if you plan to use your spouse’s income to cover payments. You may want to reconsider your plans or schedule things so your loan is approved before you leave your job.

4. Use your PTO or other benefits

Woman on the beach on vacation with her phone
Peera_stockfoto /

Before notifying your resignation, be sure to take full advantage of the benefits provided by your employer.

Some companies will pay for vacation and sick days accrued when leaving the company, but others will not. If your business doesn’t pay accrued paid time off (PTO), be sure to use your vacation days while you can.

Please note that your employer may not grant your request to use any PTO after they have given their two weeks notice.

It is also best to take advantage of any other employee benefits that you will lose. For example, if your child must receive braces, you may want to do so while you still have dental insurance with your employer.

5. Gather the information you will need to transfer your 401 (k)

401 (k) retirement savings
Andrey_Popov /

Once you quit your job, you will lose the ability to contribute to your employer-sponsored 401 (k) plan. Of course, you can keep saving for retirement with an individual retirement account (IRA) or a 401 (k) plan through your next employer, but you may want to roll over money from your old 401 (k) so you don’t . having to manage multiple accounts.

If you normally log into your retirement account from your work computer, make sure you have your login information and know your account number so you can easily access your account from home.

6. Find out how to get health insurance

health insurance /

For most people, losing their job means losing access to health insurance, although there are still options to continue or obtain new coverage.

One of the easiest options may be to enroll in your spouse or domestic partner’s health insurance plan if they have coverage through your job. Loss of health insurance (even if it is through voluntary job loss) is considered a qualifying life event, which means that your spouse or partner can add it to their insurance without waiting for your open enrollment period.

Alternatively, you can choose to extend your current health insurance coverage for 18 months through COBRA (the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). However, with COBRA coverage, you will have to pay your employer’s portion of the premium costs plus an administrative fee.

Since ongoing COBRA coverage can be expensive, another option is to find a more affordable health plan through the health insurance marketplace. The coronavirus pandemic stimulus legislation made it cheaper to obtain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

7. Find out how you will receive your last paycheck

Happy boy at his computer
Dean Drobot /

Your last paycheck may not arrive by direct deposit at the time you are used to. Check with your company’s human resources department or employee handbook for information on how they issue final paychecks.

Some companies will send you a paper check, even if you were enrolled in direct deposit in the past. Make sure your address and other contact information are up to date in your employee records.

You should also write down the contact information for your manager or your human resources representative in case you encounter any problems or discrepancies when it comes to obtaining the final payment.

8. Create a professional resignation letter

Woman working from home
insta_photos /

Although it is best to break the news to your boss in person, you will want to follow up with an official letter of resignation.

Your resignation letter should include the date of your last business day and other important details, such as any projects you plan to finish. You may want to include the reason you left the company, but it’s better to keep things vague than to badmouth your employer and potentially burn a bridge.
Check out this article for smart tips on writing the perfect resignation letter.

9. Tie the loose ends

An older worker shakes hands at a job interview
fizkes /

There may never be the perfect time to quit a job, after all, the job is never done, but your resignation will be more favorably accepted if you don’t quit during a busy season or in the middle of a major project.

If possible, try to time your resignation so that you can tie up the loose ends of the work you are currently doing. You are more likely to get a positive recommendation from your employer if you can take the time to train a new employee or provide a knowledge transfer so your colleagues can step in to fill your role when you are gone.

It is also helpful to use this time to gather contact information to keep in touch with your coworkers. Be sure to ask your manager about using it as a job reference.

If you work in a field where you need to collect evidence of your past work experience on a portfolio, gather what you need before placing your ad. Your employer may decide to cut ties with you immediately rather than wait until your selected end date. You don’t want to lose access to files that you may need for your wallet.

10. Prepare for an exit interview

Woman and man talking through the desk.
AshTproductions /

Before you leave, your employer may want to sit down with you to discuss your reasons for quitting. While exit interviews can also serve as a way for companies to gain insight into what they could improve upon, remember to handle things professionally so that you come out on good terms.

Be prepared to tactfully discuss why you are leaving, what you think about your time at the company, and what constructive criticism you might offer to your future employer.

Once you have gone through all the things on this list, you will be well prepared to leave your job without regrets.

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