So, you’re quitting your job… or worse; you got fired….

There’s a right way to do both.

While this could apply to any city and any industry, Chicago is one of the biggest small towns around where six degrees of separation here is more like two, and the Insurance Industry here is no exception. Between industry events, seminars, Carrier events, and Underwriter or Wholesaler relationships, there’s a good chance that someone at a prospective employer’s office knows you or at least knows of you.

Quitting Your Job

When you put in your notice, always give two weeks and present your immediate boss that notice in writing. Unless remote work prevents it, it’s still customary to print the letter, sign, and present in person.

You are under no obligation to tell your current employer the name of your new employer or any information about your compensation or position. In fact, it’s usually in your best interest to not divulge that info. Politely decline any such request by saying something like; “I’ve accepted a new opportunity which I feel is best for me and my family at this point in my career. I’ve truly appreciated the opportunity you have afforded me. “

How you leave a job is as important as how you do a job. That final impression out the door is that last memory your previous boss and coworkers will likely have of you. If it’s messy (ie:  if you finally tell off that annoying coworker), not only will it stick with everyone in the office, but word will get around. Conversely, a graceful exit helps build a reputation worth having.

Say your good-byes to your coworkers, and don’t be shy about asking those with whom you’ve worked for and with (anyone you’re on good terms with) to write you a letter of recommendation. Underwriters are also good people to also ask for letters.

How To Handle Getting Fired

Let’s get the easy part out of the way: If your employment is terminated, pack your things and leave respectfully. If you think a short, calm conversation is warranted, great, but don’t expect to change minds or gain insight. Relay understanding and acceptance, shake hands, and head out the door quietly.  An uneventful departure is also the best way to ensure unemployment benefits (if eligible).

Thanking them for the opportunity to work for them, while understandably hard in this situation, will go far to solidify your professionalism and future reference. If you feel the termination is on good terms (no fault), it’s always in your best interest to ask for a letter of recommendation as opposed to asking if they’d be willing to be a future reference. Having a hard copy or email in your personal files is a reference on demand. A future employer will welcome not having to track down a reference and you will be assured of the nature of that reference.