How to quit a job you just started without burning bridges

According to a 2016 survey, 31 per cent of people have quit a job in the first six months. Getty Images

Sometimes a new job just doesn’t work out, but leaving so soon after being hired can prove to be a sticky situation.

Should you quit – and if you do, how do you do it without burning any bridges?

It’s a common dilemma many people have found themselves in at least once in their lives. In fact, a 2016 survey of 1,005 people in the U.S. by BambooHR found that 31 per cent of people have quit a job within the first six months, HR Morning reports.

READ MORE: Unhappy at work? 7 signs you should quit your job

The reasons for people dipping out early can vary, Lee Weisser, career counsellor of professional consulting agency Careers by Design, says.

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“People could be leaving because the company culture is just not a good fit for you,” Weisser says. “Maybe the job isn’t what you were promised or it wasn’t what you expected. Maybe you find that you just can’t do the commute or maybe you got another better job offer somewhere else.”

But employees may be afraid to bite the bullet and leave, fearing repercussions.

“If you’re in a small industry and word gets around, it’s not good for your reputation,” Weisser says. “But I recommend you just be honest with your boss and human resources manager. Tell them you’ve made a mistake and that you’re sorry but you can’t stay in this job. You don’t have to go into the details.”

Other worries, according to job searching website Monster, is that co-workers may be aggravated because they’ll be the ones picking up your work once you leave. You may also be ineligible for unemployment insurance or for any sign-on bonus or reimbursement for relocation expenses you were promised upon being hired.

Despite those fears, however, it is better if you leave a job that isn’t the right fit for you as soon as possible, Weisser advises.

“You need to find the right time and place to talk to your manager but sooner is better than later,” she says. “Once you’ve done that, try and explain to your colleagues that the job just isn’t a good fit, but again, avoid the details. They don’t need to know all those things and you don’t want to give rise to gossip.”

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However, remember to talk to your boss first before breaking the news to your colleagues.

And when it comes to the actual process of resigning, Weisser says you must do two things. First, draft a letter of resignation and second, resign in person.

READ MORE: 7 ways to make a good impression your first week at a new job

“Your manager might ask you to stay for a certain amount of days after your resignation,” Weisser says. “But normally if you’re pretty new, they’ll just thank you and tell you to clear out your desk and say goodbye because they don’t want to invest any more time in you and they need to move on in the process.”

Monster adds a few other steps and tips one should be taking while quitting.

Even though you plan on leaving, continue to keep a positive tone and don’t mentally check out. Still continue to put your best effort into the job, this will help keep your reputation intact.

Lastly, there’s no need to be putting this small blip of a job onto your résumé or LinkedIn profile, Weisser adds, and don’t feel like you have to mention it in job interviews.

“Sometimes when we’re making these decisions… sometimes it helps to step back with a coach or somebody who can be a bit more objective,” Weisser says. “Rather than worrying about the immediate consequences, but thinking about the impact it can have long-term on your career. If it’s a job you’re not going to be happy in then you don’t want to stay any longer.”

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