This post originally appeared on The Daily Muse.
So, you’ve weighed all the pros and cons, and you’ve decided to resign from your current position. The decision could be a tough one or a no-brainer, but regardless, how you handle yourself—and your colleagues—after you’ve submitted that resignation letter is an important part of the process that many of us don’t consider.
If you’re starting to plot your exit, consider these three tips to help smooth your transition and keep your reputation rock-solid after you’re gone.
1. Read Your Contract
Deciding to quit your job will no doubt require you to consider a lot of factors. Pay, job satisfaction, and commute time probably come to mind, right? What many people forget, though, is the fine print. Depending on your role, you may have a contract with your current employer, which means how—and when—you resign will be important.
Take one of my former colleagues several years back as an example. He had recently been transferred to my office from another location out of state, which the company had sponsored. All his moving expenses, as well as a travel allowance, had been paid up front, with the specific agreement he’d stay in the position for two years. If he left before that time was up, he was on the hook for all the moving expenses (which weren’t cheap).
About a year and a half into his contract, he was offered a great opportunity someplace else and decided to resign. Naturally, the company wasn’t pleased, and immediately reminded him of the money he’d owe upon his departure. Ouch.
Suddenly, that new job wasn’t making sense financially. If my colleague had taken the time to review his contract, however, he would’ve known he just had to wait six more months, and he’d be free to move on. If his new employer couldn’t wait that long, then he at least would’ve had the opportunity to factor those moving costs into his salary negotiation.
The moral of the story? Before you hand over that resignation letter, make sure you’ve reviewed your contract with your employer. Whether it’s checking the length of your contract or finding out if going to a competitor will cause issues, reading the fine print will confirm you’re free and clear to resign without it costing you.