How to Quit Your Job When You Are Friends with the Boss

Quitting your job for any reason can be stressful. That stress can be compounded when you like your boss. It can reach monumental proportions if you are friends with your boss outside of work. ​​Quitting your job does not have to mean that you are leaving your friend high and dry or ending the friendship entirely. However, it does mean you will need to approach the topic of leaving with a little more tact.

Don’t Spring the News

​A two-week notice is generally the standard rule of thumb when quitting a job. However, if you consider your supervisor your friend, you may want to give more notice, even a month or two, if possible. If you have just started looking and you feel that you have a good relationship with him or her, you may want to let them know that you are looking and why. This will most likely be a difficult conversation, but it is one best had if you feel comfortable enough. Your friend will also appreciate knowing ahead of time that your position will need to be filled. You may be asked to help train your replacement if at all possible.

Offer Support After You Leave

​No longer working with your friend-boss might mean more than a typical turnover package or forwarding important documents through email. You may feel comfortable enough to continue offering support even once you have started a new job. While your offer may not be accepted, it will at least stand as a good-faith gesture. Also, if you truly are friends with your boss, you will continue to offer support as a friend outside of work on all fronts.

Think Before You Speak

​It would be in your best interest and less awkward if you did not talk openly and freely about your job search or your new job, at least for a while. If your boss is truly your friend, he or she will support you in your new endeavor, but that does not necessarily mean you should wax on poetically about it.

Maintain Professionalism

​While you might have a personal relationship with your boss, it’s crucial to maintain professionalism during your resignation process. This includes writing a formal resignation letter, completing your tasks diligently, and ensuring a smooth transition for your team. Your boss will appreciate your professionalism, and it will help preserve your friendship by demonstrating respect for your work environment and your colleagues.

Plan for a Transition Period

​Offering to stay on board for a transitional period can greatly ease the burden on your boss and show your commitment to the team. This could mean working part-time for a few weeks after your official last day, helping to onboard and train your replacement, or making yourself available for questions and support as your team adjusts to the change. This effort not only supports your boss but also showcases your dedication and reliability.

Communicate Openly and Honestly

​Transparent and effective communication in the workplace is key when quitting your job, especially when your boss is a friend. Explain your reasons for leaving clearly and honestly, whether they are personal, professional, or a mix of both. This honest communication will help mitigate any potential feelings of betrayal or misunderstanding. Additionally, reassure your boss that the decision is not a reflection of their leadership or your friendship, but a step towards your own personal growth and goal for professional development.
Make Time for the Friendship
​After you’ve left the job, make a conscious effort to maintain your friendship outside of work. Schedule regular meet-ups, whether it’s for coffee, lunch, or a weekend activity you both enjoy. Transitioning from a professional to a purely personal relationship can be challenging, but with intentional effort, your friendship can thrive. This dedication will show your boss that you value friendship and are committed to keeping it strong despite the change in your professional life.

About the Author

Mandy Fard is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW, CMRW) and Recruiter with decades of experience in assisting job seekers, working directly with employers in multiple industries, and writing proven-effective resumes.
Feel free to connect with Mandy Fard on LinkedIn:
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