If you’re considering leaving your job, but worry that you might damage your relationships and chances for a strong reference, you're not alone. While you can’t control how your boss or colleagues will react to your decision to quit, you can minimize the negative impact. Here’s how. First, don’t delay telling your boss because you feel guilty; most managers prefer to have as much advance notice as possible. Be gracious but clear so you don’t send mixed messages.
Say something like, “After a lot of consideration, I’ve decided it’s time for me to move on to the next chapter of my career. My goal for this conversation is to discuss how to make the transition as smooth as possible for both of us.” No matter how well you handle this, sometimes your managers won’t be receptive — and that’s not your fault! If they act cold, hurt, or upset, try not to take it personally. No boss likes to lose a valuable employee.
The best thing you can do is to express your appreciation for the opportunity you’ve had and what you’ve learned in your time at the company.
Finally, don’t forget your colleagues. You don’t want to leave them in the lurch so for any tasks you’re unable to wrap up before you leave, pass the baton as clearly as possible. And remember: People leave jobs all the time. If you’ve handled the decision thoughtfully and carefully, you don’t have to burn bridges.