There are straightforward steps you should take before you quit. And some things you should never do. Paranoia is healthy when you are quitting. Here is a true story.
Frank bragged to his coworkers and his boss as he quit. He told them about his new job as branch manager, of his future earnings, and how he would be happy to take some of his old coworkers with him. Two days later the company lawyer called. He told Frank that if he insisted on going to the new company he would be sued. The lawyer also notified the new company. Frank’s offer was withdrawn. Frank stayed at his old company against his will. And he brought it all on himself.
I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it. (Cyrus Ching)
It is hard to believe all these stories I tell are true. They are. I tried to recruit Frank for another job. He still couldn’t go. I also talked to the company that tried to hire him. Of course the names and identifying facts are changed.
Frank brought it on himself. He had to brag. The safest thing to do is to quietly disappear into the sunset. Give absolutely no information about where you are going. Don’t tell them if you have a job yet. Don’t tell them whether you are even staying in town. You don’t have to fill out any “quitting applications” either. They use those to get you to give evidence against yourself in case you are going to a competitor.
Here are the steps to quit:
1. Check your old contract for a non-compete clause
2. Google “how to break my non-compete”
3. Check with your lawyer if you have any doubts
4. Get the new job offer in writing
5. Accept the offer
6. Put a letter on your boss’s desk that says “I am grateful for being able to work for XYZ company. This letter is my resignation with my last day of work of 12 June 2014.” Don’t add anything more. Make sure and sign it. Email it if you have to.
7. Keep your mouth shut
Paranoia can be healthy. Hide any information you can. If your old boss has to hire a private investigator to find out where you went, he won’t. He’ll only be interested if you start stealing clients from him. Even then he may not figure out it was you who stole them., or care enough to chase you down. You see, your boss may be thinking of quitting too. If he quits, and he has let a few employees go to a competitor without stopping them, he sets a potential legal precedent for himself to do the same. As long as you don’t get in his face and force his hand, he is likely to just let you go.
Slip quietly into the sunset when you quit.
Something to do today
Before you go to a new company and before you quit your old one, find out if either has gone to court to enforce a non-compete clause or to protect trade secrets.In every town and industry there are people who will try to keep you from earning a living. They don’t just want to protect themselves, they want to punish you. Stay away from them. If you work for one, find a new job and quit. Better now than later.
Later: The old boy network
Exploit the old boys
The money question
3 kinds of death