5 Essential Steps To Changing Jobs Without Burning Bridges

02/24/2017 11:20 am ET Updated Feb 27, 2017

It can be tough to find your dream profession; millennials know this first hand. Young professionals finding their calling frequently treat jobs like a new outfit: try it on, find it doesn’t quite work as they planned, then discard it and continue to look for a better option.

You can’t help it. You believe something better might be right around the corner, and you won’t stop looking until you find the perfect position. While there’s nothing wrong with chasing your passion, you should consider what you’re leaving behind. Your previous employers now have to deal with the repercussions that come with your absence.

There may be an occasion in the future where you have to call on these former coworkers or managers. Keep your relationship with them positive instead of burning bridges to the ground.

Here are five tips for gracefully handling a job departure.

1. Don’t Look for Positions on Company Time

You’re unhappy in your current place, so you’re already looking for what you can do next. It can be tempting to occupy yourself during a lull in your day by browsing open listings or postings on LinkedIn. Refrain from researching open positions on company time. It comes off as incredibly unprofessional. Use personal time outside of work for job hunting.

2. Don’t Interview While on the Clock

Just like you shouldn’t look for work, you also shouldn’t be meeting with other businesses during the work day. Schedule an interview over your lunch break, or take a personal day. When you accept a job, your employer may remember all of your random tales related to your absences.

3. Give as Much Notice as Possible

You just heard back from the company you interviewed with, and you got the job. Congratulations! Now you have to let your current organization know.

While two weeks’ notice is the norm, if you know sooner, give your boss a heads-up. It can sometimes take months to fill a vacancy between posting the position online, going through resumes and scheduling interviews. The more time the hiring manager has to find a replacement, the better.

4. Avoid Mentally Checking Out

You’re waiting to start at your new office and only have a few days left at your current job. Finish up pending projects and close out your employment on the right note. Leaving with everything in order will keep you in good standing.

Now’s not the time to start coasting. While you should avoid any long-term work, fill your days with worthwhile projects that are short-term until your parting date.

5. Give a Helpful Exit Interview

This is a great opportunity to be honest, however, you want to be gracious. You may have hated your loud coworker or thought the work was boring, but keep those feelings to yourself.

Give constructive feedback so the company can improve. Don’t badmouth anyone, especially if you want a reference. Be kind and professional throughout the entire process and thank your employer for the opportunity to have learned and developed your executive skills.

You may also like 7 Things to Do When Your Job Suddenly Changes. For more of Diane’s etiquette tips, visit her blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, “like” The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook, and follow her on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

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