How you leave an organization is just as important as entering a new one. Why?
- You’ll need terrific references later as you move up the career ladder
- Your legacy and reputation are important for your future
- It’s the right and professional thing to do
Before you leave, there are some things you can do to help with the transition, for both the organization and yourself:
- Make a list of all the projects and responsibilities that are important. Separate them into short, intermediate and long-term, then prioritize each segment so the results you have achieved can continue on. Take each item and identify the issue, alternatives for solution, potential cost and projected outcome, to provide an insight into the background and your thinking for whomever takes over.
- Chart your procedures or methodology so your replacement can follow through in order to maintain a level of continuity. The more you can document, the less requests you’ll get from the company later on, or even worse, to take the time from your new job and disengage from your past job. The more you can do beforehand will make your old boss less nervous and more thankful for your efforts.
- Work with co-workers and subordinates in addition to your boss, to train and share information that will be useful when you’re not there. Also, make sure you connect with current associates so they know where you are and visa-versa. It’s through networking like this that careers are made as you never know who will be able to help whom, when.
- Create a file with work that may be helpful to you at a later date, but make sure it’s not proprietary or competitive with your new company. It’s like a documented professional portfolio of your achievements. They may be new approaches or ideas for applications five or more years down the road when you’re at a much higher level to apply your prior accomplishments to future successes.
- Continue to produce results at the same or higher level then you have before. Slacking off because you don’t need to perform will not serve you well. Continuing to perform at a high level to help your co-workers and the company succeed will be remembered. That level of respect from co-workers for your work is the kind of thing that builds reputations.
- Ask the manager in the new company what you can do to better prepare for entering your new role: Reading material, experiences, or meetings in order to get a jump on the new job. Think about the impact on your new boss with that kind of offer. If you thought of a potential alternative solution, write it down for a discussion later on. It shows initiative and interest in the business’s success and positions you as a problem solver.
How you design the exit from your current organization can affect your career downstream. It shows who you are as a professional.
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