How you should tell your boss you’re quitting - Michelle Gibbings

If you are thinking about leaving your job, there’s a right way to go about telling your employer. Michelle offers her insight in this article.

There are many situations at work where you can wonder about the best time to talk to your boss about something that matters to you. For example, if you are thinking of leaving, planning on starting a family, or wanting to explore a ‘side hustle’. The approach you take all depends on the nature of the relationship.

I worked with a person who knew, before he left corporate, that he was going to set up a consulting firm. Every spare minute he had, he spent getting it ready. He set up his brand, website, value proposition, infrastructure — everything he needed to leap to his new career. He did this while working full time and keeping his work commitments ticking along, and his boss knew about it. In fact, his boss then hired him to do consulting work once he left corporate. But it doesn’t always play out like that.


Whether you tell your boss you are planning on leaving or not depends on the type of relationship you have with them and whether you think they’ll support you or try to sabotage your efforts.

There is no right or wrong here. You’ve got to use your intuition, understanding of the relationship and work context, and be realistic about what could happen.


If you are going to tell your boss, be clear on why you want to tell them and what you are looking for from them. Is it just to inform them, or do you need their support in some way? Consider how the news may impact them and therefore, how they may react.

Also, know your rights before you go into the conversation.


If you are planning on leaving and there’s a potential for a conflict of interest or a potential concern that your new work may compete — even in a small way — with what you do currently, then be very careful about what you say and do.

Quite often in sales, and roles involving intellectual property, employees are given their marching orders as soon as they hint they are thinking of leaving.

Be prepared to be let go on the spot. Have everything you need sorted so if that happens, all you need to do is go back to your desk and collect your personal items.

You want to preserve relationships as best you can. The old adage “don’t burn any bridges” is critical.


If you are planning on setting up a job on the side, often known as a “side hustle” or “moonlighting”, make sure all work connected with that second gig is done using your own equipment and technology. Have a separate laptop, mobile phone and all the infrastructure you need to set yourself up.

Many companies frown on this, and depending on your employment contract you could find yourself in a sticky situation if you don’t handle it correctly.

Read all your employment documentation — even the small print you might normally ignore. Know what your rights are and what they aren’t. You may find you need to get written consent from your employer to get involved in outside work