Quitting Time?

Be smart about it.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the November 2000 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

In the excitement of quitting their jobs to launch their own businesses, some aspiring entrepreneurs suffer the Take This Job And Shove It Syndrome.

Symptoms include giving your soon-to-be ex-supervisor icy stares, composing your business plan on company time and talking about how your current employer taught you how not to run a business.

TTJASIS is fatal to your relationship with that company. If you believe it doesn't matter what your former bosses think of you, consider this: Entrepreneurs often turn their former employers into one of their first clients.

"Even if you don't anticipate ever working with your former employer, leave on good terms, because they're often in a position to recommend you to others," says Marilynn Mobley, owner of The Acorn Consulting Group Inc., a PR and marketing firm based in Marietta, Georgia.

The 43-year-old worked in IBM's PR department for 15 years before leaving to start her own firm in 1996. Since then, she has done many special projects for IBM and received numerous client referrals through her former employer.

"The beauty of working for yourself is you can choose which projects you want," Mobley says. "I accept projects only when I think the work is interesting, the deadline is reasonable and the price is fair. I didn't always have those options as an employee."

To stay in business, you really have to provide exceptional service, says Arnel Trovada, 34, owner of Irving, Texas-based Trovada Public Relations, who still does business with a former employer. "No matter how [good] your product or service is, business often comes to you because people have heard about you."

Here are tips to combat TTJASIS:

Announce the news of your departure tactfully and emphasize that you're leaving to experience a different kind of challenge.

Give them time to get a replacement. Two weeks is the least; one month is better.

Work diligently until your departure day. Maintain positive relationships with people in the company.

Let your bosses know you'll continue to do projects for them; mention how much you'd appreciate referrals.

Network with people inside the company after you leave.

Pamela Rohland writes about the joys and tribulations of entrepreneurship for a variety of regional and national business publications.

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