We spend years at our jobs, and more time than we spend with our families on a daily basis. Because of the relationships you form during this time it can be understandably unpleasant to tell a boss that we are searching for greener pastures elsewhere. What if that boss is a friend? That can make the announcement that you’re quitting your job twice as difficult.
It can be both easier and harder to leave a job when the boss is a friend. On the one hand, it’s easier because your friend knows that you wouldn’t leave unless the new job opportunity was a better fit. On the other hand, it’s harder because the friend, your boss, will feel deserted.
Quitting your job is almost never easy, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. The wrong way is to bust into your boss’s office, and yell, “I am quitting!” and run back out the door. That is obvious, but besides that, what is the right way to leave without creating animosity in your friendship?
It’s best to be honest even if it will be awkward. Sit down with your friend and explain that you found a new job that you feel is better aligned with your life goals. Do not go into the specific details of why that job is better than yours, as this will only lead your boss into a defensive state. Tell him know that you intend to help him fill the gap left by your departure and ask how you can best do this. Your friend will appreciate that you are concerned about the business and concerned about the friendship on a personal level.
Give plenty of notice for your boss to hire a new employee. Sometimes it’s best to ease your way out. You are only required to give two week’s notice, but if your boss needs more time to find a new employee, then consider staying a bit longer for the sake of the friendship. If you decide to give extra time, be sure to put a deadline on it. You don’t plan on staying for months and should be clear with your boss about the time you are willing to stay on the job.
Offer to train the new employee. This makes the transition as easy as possible. Most employers hope — or expect — that the exiting employee will train the new hire. You are not quitting your friendship, just quitting your job. Plan on spending a few weeks making the transition smoother for both the new employee and your friend. If you don’t take the time to do so and your friend experiences hardship as a results, then don’t be surprised if he becomes upset with you.
Do your best until your very last day. Employees who have already accepted another job offer are known to experience a lame duck period. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Do your absolute best, both in terms of attitude and performance, until your very last day.
It’s crucial to have a strong exit plan when leaving any job. Employers are resistant to change, and they hate to lose a good employee. Friends might feel comfortable enough with you to use guilt to keep you from leaving. Still, if you have a new job waiting for you with that is better for you at the time, then you must think about your future. It’s a tough balancing act. Having a plan when quitting your job makes it less difficult to step into your boss’s office.