A colleague of mine recently quit her job, and I was reminded of how important it is to remember that you are not only evaluated based on how you work at a company, but also on how you leave.
It starts with why you’re leaving. Are you unhappy? Have you told anyone what you’re not happy with? You might be surprised – perhaps they will be able to make some sort of change that will increase your engagement. And remember, the grass really is not always greener… So be sure you’ve done what you can to ensure you’re making the right decision before you leave.
Next… Your notice period. This really depends on your level within the company, as well as your personal situation (when you need to start your new job). The more senior you are, the more likely it will be difficult to find someone to replace you. Try to be realistic – 2-4 weeks should be adequate. Depending on your situation, your company may decide that it doesn’t make sense for you to work out your notice period, but they will appreciate that you’ve given the time.
And finally, uphold your integrity to the end. If you’re asked not to communicate your departure until certain things can be in place, respect that direction and keep it to yourself. Work with your manager on the communication plan if possible. Speak positively about the company and about the work that your team is doing. Leave a positive legacy. Don’t start slagging your company or your boss. This will get back to them, and regardless of whether you’ll ever want to work there again, it’s simply not professional.
Whenever I have left positions in the past, I have always ensured that whoever took my position after me was set up for success. I’ve worked hard until my last day, making sure things did not slip or get forgotten. I have always kept strong relationships with former bosses and other senior leaders. These relationships have grown into some of the strongest business relationships I have, as we have moved forward and continued to share best practices, challenges, and advice.
What sort of good, bad, and ugly have you seen as people have left heir jobs?