You’re reading an excerpt of Land Your Dream Design Job, a book by Dan Shilov. Filled with hard-won, personal insights, it is a comprehensive guide to landing a product design role in a startup, agency, or tech company, and covers the entire design interview process from beginning to end, for experienced and aspriring designers. Purchase the book to support the author and the ad-free Holloway reading experience. You get instant digital access, commentary and future updates, and a high-quality PDF download.

Finishing Strong

The first person to tell about your leave is your manager. It’s likely that they’ll try to persuade you to stay and offer some sort of incentive, such as a higher salary. If your current job isn’t meeting your needs that you hired it for, stick to your principles. People usually don’t quit over salary. If you got to this point, it’s likely that there’s a list of things that aren’t going well at your current job. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye and venture into uncharted territory, but if you’ve done your homework, the move will be worth it.

important Ask yourself: If somebody were to pick up your job today, how can you set them up for success?

Depending on where you’re working, the law is usually flexible. In the United States, many states have “at will” employment, which means you can quit or get laid off at any time. You don’t even have to have the conversation with your boss; just write your letter of resignation and be done with it.

It would be, however, a disservice to your team to leave so abruptly. This is especially true if you’re the only designer at the company. If somebody were to pick up your job today, how can you set them up for success? Can you pay your expertise forward? One of the things that I appreciate in my current role is the strong design system that a prior team has put together. Even though I didn’t have the opportunity to overlap with them, their work stood the test of time on its own.

Recommend a Good Match for Your Current Role

We leave jobs because they don’t serve our needs well, but this doesn’t mean that this job can’t be a perfect fit for someone else. So if you know someone who’s interested, let your team know—doing so will help them get back their footing quickly.

story When I decided to leave one of my jobs for grad school, I started actively looking for a replacement. I reached out on local UX job boards and pitched the job at a number of design events as well. Eventually I met a designer who was not only excited about the role but also had relevant industry experience. I introduced her to the company, helping her get a head start on the interview process.

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