Lessons for leaving

The parting of employees and employers can be a revelation about what each values

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I made a terrible mistake the first time I quit a professional job. I was in my 20s and had been working on an MBA at night and decided to return to school full time to finish the second half of the degree. Wanting to leave well, I gave my boss six months’ notice. Big mistake.

Understandably, when interesting new assignments came up, I didn’t get them. When decision-making meetings were scheduled, I wasn’t invited. Over time, I ended up drifting to the margins of the project, working on unimportant and uninteresting tasks. To my knowledge, none of this was retribution; everyone just started to think of me as a short-termer, someone who wouldn’t be a factor in the future, long before my interest in contributing waned. My well-intentioned attempt to depart smoothly ended up serving both me and my employers poorly. I lost out on months of interesting work, and they didn’t get full value from me despite paying me the whole time.

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