Congratulations on your new job. This is an exciting time full of possibilities and often one wants to jump right into the new role asap – and sometimes this is possible as your current employer allows you to vacate your current role. For most, there is a two-to-four week transition period during which you are expected to finish up loose ends and ongoing projects with your current employer before moving to new position. I thought I would offer some tips on how to leave an employer in good standing to increase the chances of a smooth and positive exit experience.
Meet with Supervisor and Bring a Game Plan
Schedule a meeting as soon as possible with your supervisor and bring to the table the various projects in which you currently have a role, information about the scope of your contributions, and a proposal as to how your role could be handled once you leave. This last piece can be tricky – do not try and be the boss by assigning work to others in your division or making executive decisions about the continuance of a project – offer options for your supervisor to evaluate.
If you know a colleague is interested in a particular project or role, you can voice their interest to your boss. If you believe a project should be shut down or moved to another group after you leave, suggest this action as an opinion from an interested party and not as a decision maker.
Most executives will appreciate that you have thought through options and provided possible solutions to your workload. While the boss may not be smiling at this meeting if he/she is still stinging from your leaving the firm, in time, the boss will come to realize that your efforts made a difficult time less so because of your commitment to ensuring the smoothest transition possible.
Finish All Projects You Can
Taking a new job is not a reason to start arriving late and taking two hour lunches. Although it may be tempting to shut things down, keep pushing to finish up projects or get the projects to a point where you can hand them off with minimal disruption. Taking some time to recharge your batteries before joining the new job is ideal and I encourage to take some days between the old and the new job – just don’t start your vacation while you are still on the payroll of your old employer.
Ensure Clients/Projects are Transferred
It is important to let your clients know that you are leaving and whom they should turn to for future questions. The message content and from whom it will be communicated is something that should be covered at a meeting with your supervisor. Remember, you want to leave a positive legacy and ensure your clients and projects are well served. While there may be a part of you that would like to see your old office fall to pieces because there is no way the firm will be able to continue without you – it is better to leave the office and your colleagues in good shape so that you will be remembered as someone who handled the transition well.
Arrange Meetings with Mentors and Close Contacts
Finally, say your goodbyes and share your future contact information. Set up meetings/lunches with mentors, work friends, and other close contacts in order to make a clean end to your time at your employer. Take some time to write to others to express your appreciation. I recommend begining this process on the sooner side as it always takes longer than one would expect.
As I type this, I am trying to follow my own advice. Tuesday, June 25th is my last day at Notre Dame as I will begin on Monday at Carnegie Mellon as an Associate Dean of Student Affairs for Career and Professional Development. It has been an honor and pleasure working at Notre Dame and I look forward to continuing to share insights into the career management sphere through my blog in the future.