How to quit your job and keep your dignity

Consoling your friend when she gets laid off gets awkward if you're the one who gave her the pink slip
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(MoneyWatch) No matter why you leave your next job -- you don't care for the work, you hate your manager, you're moving on to a better opportunity -- there are some golden rules for ensuring you do with grace and professionalism. Even if you don't expect to ever work with these people again, it's a small world -- and you never know when you'll need a former boss or co-worker's endorsement.

Recently, entrepreneur Akhil Gupta detailed a handful of best practices for how to leave your next job. Some of these should be obvious -- and perhaps a century ago, they would all have been obvious -- but in today's more abrasive world, it's a great refresher on maintaining professionalism during a state of transition.

Finish your work. It's critical to follow through on your key projects even after you give notice. You should wrap up projects, hand them off to others in a professional and orderly way, create transition documents that explain what you were working on, and make it easy for people to pick up where you left off.

Don't slack off. There's an old expression I heard when I first started working as an adult: ROAD, as in "retired on active duty." It referred to people who were a year or two from retirement and who had already checked out professionally. It wasn't very becoming, and it's no better -- perhaps worse -- when it's someone who is 2 weeks away from moving to a job across town. If you don't have anything meaningful to do, ask your boss to be released from your role early.

Complete the paperwork. Dot all the I's and cross all the T's. If you don't -- or you drag your feet on necessary paperwork -- you're just making other people's jobs a living hell.

No outbursts. You're professional, right? So don't try to get revenge or retribution by complaining about management or humiliating co-workers. I would refer you to a rulethat might be summarized as "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."