On the face of it, leaving your job is a very simple thing to do. Hopefully it will have been your decision to leave, but regardless of the motivation, there are a few steps that you can take to ensure a smooth transition, maintain some valuable contacts and enhance your future prospects. Below are a few tips on how to make an effectively graceful exit.
Resolve yourself to your future
Whatever the reason for leaving, the first step to take is to be make sure that you’re comfortable with leaving, and that you see it as an opportunity rather than a threat. Many people advance their careers significantly by changing jobs, and at the very least, leaving your current workplace allows you a unique opportunity to re-evaluate and refocus your life. Once you’re 100% comfortable in your own mind, it will make the steps of leaving much more simple and even pleasant.
Remember why you joined in the first place
Even if there is a negative reason for leaving your job, there must have been positive reasons as to why you joined the company originally. Stay mindful of these reasons, and allow them to inform you of the most beneficial aspects of the job that you are leaving. You will have added to your experience, met new people and possibly learnt new skills along the way, so the job you are leaving has served a useful purpose. A positive outlook is the best image that you can give your ex colleagues to retain once you’ve left.
Fireproof your bridges
Although it can often be tempting, it is not a good idea to burn bridges with your ex boss or any former colleagues prior to or during the leaving process. Even if they are the reason for you leaving, it is recommended to stay on cordial terms with pretty much everyone, because you never know when circumstances might change or what opportunities that involve these people might occur in the future.
Thank all the right people
Just as it is important not to alienate yourself or other people whilst leaving a job, it is also a good move to go out of your way to thank and/or reward the people that have helped you during your time there. A little thought goes a long way in this area, so show your gratitude and you may well build friendships and create useful allies that can benefit you in your new direction.
Supply your suppliers
People often develop enduring and close relationships with suppliers, so be sure to inform those suppliers closest to you that you are leaving and of any future plans. Often, professionals who move roles can give new business to preferred suppliers, so it should be in their interests to maintain a relationship with you too.
Handing over the reins
Regardless of whether you can’t wait to leave your current job, or whether you will sorely miss it, a good handover is essential. Creating a concise, comprehensive and effective handover document should form the basis of this process. This document should include every relevant working aspect of your role within the company, from details of important file locations and passwords to clear contact and hierarchy details of the people and suppliers that you work with. Any inside knowledge or tips that you may have picked up during your time will also be very helpful here too.
Leave a clear desk
This tip is essential on both a practical and metaphorical level. Tying up loose ends, and leaving good status reports about ongoing projects is important if you are to leave with a truly clean desk for your successor. Much of the goodwill and reputation you may have built up at the company could be at risk of being slightly tainted if you don’t clear this final hurdle, as it will be the lasting impression your ex colleagues will have of you.
Don’t look back
The process of leaving a job can be a complicated, emotionally draining and protracted period in your life. It also signals the closing of one particular chapter in your life, and the opening of a whole new set of opportunities. Once you have left, it is crucial not to look back but instead embrace a whole new future. Good luck!