By October 15, 2020

How to LEAVE Your Programming Job

I think a lot of you are job-hopping. That's fine. It's cool. I get it, but you're not leaving the best trail behind you when you're leaving your job.

So in this video, I'm gonna tell you how to quit your job in such a way that you don't screw yourself over.

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez: Not having to worry about kind of the boring, nitty-gritty parts about programming. The fact that you can just jump right into actually building a solution and solving problems, as opposed to having to worry about, “Did I set up the environment correctly? Is the database set up right?” You just can kind of skip past all of that and really worry about, “What features am I trying to give to the users and what problems am I trying to solve?”

Today, we're going to be talking about how to leave your job as a programmer. I think a lot of you, you're job hopping. It's fine. It's cool. I get it. But you're not leaving the best trail behind you when you're leaving your job, so that's what we're going to be talking about in this video. I'm going to tell you how to quit your job in such a way that you don't screw yourself over.

If you guys are just joining me for the first time, I'm John from SimpleProgrammer.com. On this channel, I teach you how to develop your soft skills as a software developer. That's all the things that are non-technical, right? This is the communication skills, how to talk to people, how to get a raise, how to improve your career, how to market yourself, build a business if you want as a software developer. In fact, I have a whole book about this called The Complete Software Developer Career Guide. You can check it out here. It's a big book, it is big, and it's on Amazon. You can check the link up here. It's actually the best selling software development book right now on Amazon. You need to keep it that way, guys, so you need to buy it. I also have an audio version of the book if you don't like to read. I don't like to read, I like to listen to audiobooks. And if you need to read in Japanese, it is in Japanese. It's also in Polish and Russian and Chinese, as well. Click the subscribe button. Go ahead, I'll wait. Just go ahead and click that and give it a like because you know you're going to like this video. You know it. It's me. Come on. Come on, guys.

All right, so what are we talking about? We're talking about leaving your job. Now, this is something that might seem like a boring topic to you, but I think it's pretty exciting because I hear so many stories of people leaving their jobs the wrong way, and I just need to make a quick video to correct you on this and tell you why it's important that you leave your job in the right way. So there's two reasons why I would say that you want to leave your job in the right way. The first reason is because you want to continue to get paid as long as you can. You don't want to just get canned as soon as you say you're going to quit. Second, you don't want to burn bridges, because you never know when you're going to need a job again, and also the tech community is kind of a small world. In fact, the tech community likes to cancel people. I wouldn't know anything about that, but you should quit your job in the correct way. That's what we're going to talk about in this video.

So first of all, let me give you some advice on what not to do. A lot of developers that I talk, when they're trying to quit their job, what they do is they try to give their boss a large amount of notice. Now, I always say give the standard two weeks notice and no more. A lot of guys argue with me and they say, “No, no, no. I should just tell my boss that I'm looking for another job or that I've found another job but I can stay here for another month because my new job doesn't start for a month.” Very, very bad idea. Let me tell you why. As soon as your boss finds out that you are quitting, they're going to want to have you gone. They don't really want someone sitting around in the office for like a month or two months goofing off, because when you don't have a future at the company, and it doesn't really matter what your performance is, you're probably just going to be sitting around collecting a paycheck.

Now, I know that most of you guys wouldn't do that and you're going to work hard up until the end, but unfortunately, most employers, they're going to see you as a liability as soon as you are leaving and there's possibly going to be some animosity. As good of terms that you can leave someone on, it's kind of like ending a relationship and saying, “It's not you, it's me.” It's you. That's what it means. That's what that means every single time, and so even if you leave on good terms and even if you your boss says, “Oh, you're a pleasure around the workplace and we'd love to have you back again,” there's still going to be a little bit of animosity and they're not going to want you just hanging around destroying the morale of the other employees.”

So, regardless of how loyal you feel to your company and your boss and your team and how much work is needed to be done, you should always give only two weeks notice, but you should give two weeks notice. I think it's a common courtesy. I think it's a very respectful thing to do, to actually give the two weeks notice because your boss is probably going to have to replace you, and that gives them enough time to be able to possibly get a replacement or take the tasks on that you're doing and give it to someone else or train someone to do the work that you're doing. So two weeks is pretty standard and you should follow that, just don't give more than that. I've seen it too many times where someone will be really nice and they'll tell their boss that they are giving them a month notice and that they're starting their new job in a month, and the very next day they're walked out of the office and they're not getting paid for the entire month.

Now, sometimes when you give two weeks notice, they might say, “Okay, bye,” and you're not actually going to work for two weeks, so you should be prepared for that. You should have money saved up expecting that as soon as you give notice is the last day that you're going to be working there. Now, again, this is not always the case, but you should be prepared for that. I'm surprised by how many developers I talk to that are shocked when they get walked out of the office on the day that they quit. Giving two weeks notice is a courtesy thing, but they don't have to keep you around for two weeks, and honestly, it's probably, especially if it's a high security type of thing, they're probably not going to want you around knowing that you're going somewhere else, especially if it's a competitor. They're going to just want to get rid of you right away, regardless of how good of an employee that you've been. So that's the first thing.

The second thing is that you want to make sure that you don't burn bridges. When you leave, you should always leave on good terms as possible, and let me give you the answer already to the exit interview question that you'll get. They're going to say, “So, just be honest with us since you're leaving. We want to improve our workplace as much as possible, so tell me, what are some of the things that we can improve on? What are some of the things that you didn't like about working for XYZ company? You can be honest. You can trust us. We're just going to use your feedback to improve things, because we want to make sure that we make our work environment better and better.” Your answer to this question should always be exactly the same thing that I'm going to give you right now, which is this, “You know, working at XYZ company was wonderful. There's nothing that I can think of that I would like to improve. I really enjoyed the experience here and I feel like it's a great work environment and everything is great. It's all good. It's great.” “Do you have any negative feedback?” “Nope, I have no negative feedback. I enjoyed working with my boss, I enjoyed working with my coworkers. I enjoyed all of those things and I have no complaints at all.”

You should always give positive feedback and never give negative feedback, because you're leaving the place. Leaving a negative review has basically no benefit. Now, it might improve the workplace for someone else, but likely it won't. Likely nothing's going to happen, aside from that in your little file in the exit interview, they're going to give you the whole, “Don't ever hire this guy again. Not recommended for hire,” and possibly blacklist you from other companies that maybe you don't know. You don't know if the person who's the owner of that company owns another company as well in the area, that's pretty common, or they have a networking event and you're going to get discussed, so do not leave any negative feedback at all, just positive feedback. You don't have to lie, but don't say anything negative. If you don't have anything good to say, what does your mom say? Don't say anything at all. That that applies here. So, that's pretty much it. Those are the two pieces of advice that I would give you, and they're going to help you how to leave a job.

The last thing I'll tell you, one last tip here. I'll give it to you if you guys click the subscribe button, if you haven't, and give a thumbs up because this is good advice. This is going to save you. Sometime you're going to leave a job and you're going to watch this video and you're going to be like, “All right, I know what to do now.” The last thing is this. When you do leave a job, leave it better than what you found it. So when you're on your way out, work really hard the last two weeks, take everything that you have that you're doing and pass it on to someone else, train them, make sure that you're leaving that company in such a way that they're going to be able to be even more successful with you gone. That's that's the attitude that you have to have. You don't want to make it so that, “Oh, I wish that John never left this job, and how are we going to work without you?” You want to make it so that you're replaceable. In fact, while you're working at a job, you should make it that you're replaceable as much as possible. That makes you the most valuable person in that company.

I'll tell you, so many people are trying to guard secrets and trying to… don't do any of that shit. Instead, what you want to do is you want to leave us on as amicable terms as possible, and you want to train your replacement. You want to do everything in your power to make it so that company is going to succeed without you, because if you leave and suddenly things go wrong and there's a bunch of files that are missing and no one knows how to handle that process that only you knew how to handle, they're not going to think, “Oh, we should call him up and offer him consulting.” They might have to do that if they're really in a pinch, but they're going to think, “This guy left and he screwed us over.” So you don't want to do that. You don't want to create a bad reputation for yourself. Like I said, the tech community is very small, especially in local areas.

So that's it guys. That's what I got for you. Let me know what you think about this. Watch some other videos on the channel. Go check out SimpleProgrammer.com, the website. If you want to learn how to market yourself as a software developer, I've got a great course on there that you can find on the Simple Programmer website. We'll put a link down below as well, and I will talk to you next time.

About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."