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How to Quit

Michael writes:

I am a creative assistant for a feature film director. I like and respect the director, but, because of an array of circumstances, I am seeking employment elsewhere.

My question is this: how do I quit without completely ruining the contact and relationship I have with him? Keep in mind it’s not going to be brutally ugly for him because there is another assistant also.

This is how I like to quit:

On my very first job, I was also afraid to admit I was ready to move on. I started looking for work without telling my boss, afraid that he would be angry at me for leaving. One day, he got to work before me, and booted up my computer (just to be nice).

Outlook popped up, and he saw a bunch of emails regarding job inquires. We had a very awkward conversation when I came in. Mostly, he was upset that I didn’t tell him I wanted another job; he would rather I’d been honest with him. In fact, once we settled that, he helped me find my next job.

The truth is, we work in a very transient industry. No job lasts forever, especially not an assistant position, and your boss knows this.

The best thing to do is be straightforward, and tell him the truth. “Herr Director, I really enjoy working for you, but I’ve been here a year/two years/whatever, and I feel like it’s time for me to move forward in my career. I wanted to let you know that I’m looking for other opportunities, so you have time to find a replacement.”

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