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Starting with a new company is an exciting process, but this process also entails leaving your old employer and that can be very stressful, particularly if you were very unhappy at your previous position. While it can be tempting to go out with a bang, this is rarely a good idea. Burning your bridges can come back to bite you in numerous ways, and leaving with grace is always the preferred method.

The first step is to go over your current employment contract and ensure that you have fulfilled everything to the letter. If you are worried, you can hire an attorney to help you go over the contract and advise you.

Make sure that you give plenty of notice to your old employer and that you do everything you can to help facilitate training a new person or assisting them in finding a new candidate for the job. While it is a given that there are going to be some hurt feelings, and even some anger, if you handle the situation gracefully, this can be minimized. Most people understand that you’ve got to do what’s best for you, and once the initial shock passes, they will be more accepting of your decision.

Resist the urge to let everyone know exactly what you think of your old employer, even if the split is acrimonious. While Greg Smith managed to leave Goldman Sachs with a blistering Op-Ed piece, that strategy will not pay off for the rest of us. Don’t trash your old employer on Facebook or be overly open with your feelings with other employees. Word travels fast, especially when it’s juicy.

Remember, you may need to use your old employer as a reference someday and this world is a very small place. You never know when you might need their assistance and it’s best to handle everything as positively as possible. Even if you meet with resistance, just remember that soon you’ll be starting your new position and these problems will be a thing of the past. Carry yourself with grace, close out your time with your old employer and look ahead to the future.

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