[A special welcome to this week’s guest article from Melia Lewis of Hygieneedge.com]
Congratulations on a new career change! However, the only thing that lowers the high of a new opportunity is memory that you have to quit your current job. Though quitting can be stressful, it also needs to be executed smart so as to not “burn any bridges” as you move on to your new phase in life. Follow these easy steps to help make quitting easier for you now, and help your career in the future.
- Explain your reasoning for leaving. When you put in your notice to your employer, don’t be afraid to explain why you are moving on. It could be that you want to diagnose and perform more perio treatment, try your hand at new technology, or get out of clinical practice eventually. Give your vision of what you see yourself doing in the next five years and how this step will help with your future goals. Don’t forget to stay positive on why you are moving on. This will help keep your relationship that you’ve worked so hard on. You never know when you will need a contact or a reference for a future position.
- Keep in contact. Small connections over the years are a great networking idea for future jobs or possible reference opportunities. You could send a Christmas card each year with a small personal note saying how much you loved working there, or add your coworkers on social media and message them on occasion. Give a warm hello if you ever see a former employer out or at a dental convention, even when the easier thing is to pretend that you didn’t see them. Small steps that can make a big difference in the future.
- Leave when you know it’s time to go. Even if it doesn’t seem logical, it’s time to leave when your gut tells you to. If you leave employment then, you’ll be leaving on your terms, which is usually positive and keeps a positive relationship. If you leave when times are tough or you are forced to leave, it can burn the relationship and the connection that you’ve made with your coworkers. Trust your instincts – they know what’s best!
- If your company gives you a count offer, don’t take it! It’s tempting to stay at a place when someone begs you to reconsider. However, stick to your word to both companies and move on to your new position. This shows good character by keeping your word, and that you care about something more than money. Plus, in most scenarios when a counter offer is taken, the employee ends up quitting again in a few months and in turn burns the bridges of the possible employer that was turned down previously.
- Be professional with your last working weeks. Make the transition smooth for your employer by staying positive with your last few weeks of work. When you know you’re quitting, it’s easy to get lazy, let things slide like patient education, and being a team player stops. However, the dental world is small, and you never know when you may want to come back to the office, or whom your employer is a friend with. Always be gracious and be kind to all coworkers as you are quitting.
- Feel out how long your notice should be. Honestly, 2 weeks is usually not long enough to find a replacement dental hygienist. If you have a good relationship with your employer, try to give 1 month advance notice of you leaving. If the relationship is not good, first of all why are you working there still, and second, 2 weeks is plenty. Try to fight the urge of only giving a few days notice, no matter how awkward quitting a job is.
Now go celebrate! You deserve it!
Melia Lewis is one of 4 dental hygienists who runs the website Hygieneedge.com. Hygiene Edge is built by dental hygienists for dental hygienists. Our goal is to provide resources to further hygiene education, promote industry best practices and inspire every hygienist to become the best hygienist for their patients and their practice.