Starting a New Job? Leave the Old One with Dignity

When leaving one job for another, it is important to hold your head high and act with dignity.
When leaving one job for another, it is important to hold your head high and act with dignity. (Matt Rourke/AP File Photo)

Starting a new career or position is exciting. But if you're leaving an old job for a new one, it's important to leave on good terms, no matter how bad things were. If you tell off co-workers or bad-mouth your former job to your new boss, you will appear bitter and damage your chances for a good reference.

If you want to take "the high road" and leave your former employer with dignity, follow these rules, according to published reports:

  1. Restrain yourself. Avoid "going there" with old co-workers you disliked by telling them off, even if they deserve it. Besides, you might run into this person at another job one day.
  2. Don't damage company property or steal anything, even the stapler. Vandalism is not acceptable in any situation. What's more, you could end up in jail if you damage company property. Stealing can land you in the same situation. Just take what you came in with: your dignity.
  3. Don't forget to ask for a reference. This might seem like an odd request, especially if you were fired. But you have to list your last job on your resume so it's best to show good manners and ask for a reference.
  4. Don't bad-mouth your former employer to your replacement. There is nothing to gain from bad-mouthing your former employer to your replacement. This will make you look cruel at best.
  5. Don't bad-mouth your old employer to your new employer. When you get to your new job, don't start bad-mouthing your employer. Just remember the old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

The urge to vent your frustrations or bad experiences to new co-workers is tempting, but it is not a good business practice. If you maintain discretion, your co-workers will admire your ability to be professional in all situations.

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