Last week, in our post titled Is It Time to Leave?, we gave you some questions to help you assess whether or not you’re in the right role at the right company. Some of you wrote to us saying that you’ve decided it’s time to leave, and that you want to be sure to do it gracefully.

To leave gracefully, it’s important to stay engaged and connected with your boss and colleagues.

Leaving gracefully is about the work
and the people.

Finish up your projects the best you can,
and let others know that you’ve valued working together.

We know that others’ emotions can run high when an employee gives their notice. In order to respond as a leader and continue to stay engaged, it’s helpful to PAUSE and set an intention about the type of legacy or reputation you want to leave behind.

As you may know, we strongly believe that PAUSING is foundational to leadership – whether personal or professional.

One of the things that can blow up the intent of leaving your current job with grace is if you’re caught off-guard by another person’s emotions, and react defensively or in counterattack mode. Pausing can help you decrease your reactivity and increase your ability to respond respectfully.

To help you prepare, we’ve come up with some typical situations where you might need to PAUSE before responding.



If people take pot shots at you for leaving, PAUSE, and think about your goal. For example, maybe your goal is to show up as an engaged employee who is committed to doing great work until your last day.

  • If you’re responding to your boss, you might say something like, “I know my departure is a disappointment for you, and I appreciate you understanding that it’s time for me to move on.”
  • If you’re responding to colleagues, you might say something like, “I’m sorry that my leaving is upsetting to you. I’ve enjoyed working with you, and it’s time for me to move on.” 



If people tell you they’re sad that you’re leaving, PAUSE, and remember what your goal is.

  • Whether it’s your boss or a colleague, you could say something like, “This was a difficult decision, and I will miss (this place, this group of people, this team, etc). Is there anything I can do for you before I go?”
  • If you can do the thing they requested, great. If you’re not able to do it before you go, let them know gently, or discuss what would be possible to do before you leave. 



If you’ve done the work from our last post, you should have a pretty good idea whether or not there are any possibilities for negotiation.

Before you give your notice, make sure you PAUSE and have an answer to this question, “What would have to be true for me to stay here?” This way, you won’t be caught off guard if they do counteroffer.

  • If there is no way you’ll stay, you could say something like, “Thank you for asking. I’ve taken some time to think things through and it certainly wasn’t an easy decision to make. I’m grateful for the work we did together and am confident that it’s time for me to move on.”
  • If it’s possible for you to stay, you could say something like, “Thank you for asking. I’ve been thinking about what it would look like if I stayed…” And, then share your thoughts.


Take care of yourself during this time. Be extra careful to eat well, move throughout the day, and get a good night’s sleep. Navigating your emotions and the emotions of others can be tricky. PAUSE often.

It’s exciting to be moving forward and important to finish one opportunity well before you begin the next. 

Please keep us posted and let us know how it goes!