Leaving Your Job? Safeguard Your Reputation!
Leave a strong reputation behind
People leave jobs for many reasons: to get a better salary. To take the next career step. To get away from a terrible boss (#1 reason!). Whatever the reason, when you leave a job, your reputation in that company and with those co-workers will be heavily impacted by the way you leave. Follow these steps to safeguard your reputation once you are gone.
Why should you bother? Because your reputation follows you like your shadow. Career progression is all about networking. The business world is small. Industries are even smaller. The same people can appear again and again in your career. It’s more than needing references from past employers. If you recruit talent in your new role (or a subsequent one), or look for another job yourself later on, you will probably come across them again. Make sure their first thoughts of you are positive.
3 Musts When Leaving your Job
Complete as much as you can before you go
Don’t dump work on the people left behind. Complete as many of your outstanding reports and projects as you can. Do the work well. These documents represent you after you leave the company. Would you prefer that your former colleagues say ‘oh, Jill did that report, we’ll have to do it over’ or ‘Jill did that report, we can rely on it’? What they see of your work will shape their memories of you.
Set your successor up for success
For anything you can’t finish before leaving your job, or for regular ongoing tasks, prepare a transition plan. If your successor is hired, do your best to get them up to speed before you leave. If you don’t meet your successor, leave complete notes so they can find your files and meet the key people on projects. Set them up for success to make a positive impression.
Keep it professional
In the days leading up to your departure, it can be hard to stay emotionally level. Do it anyway, at least on the outside. Don’t gloat if you are going to a better place. Don’t wail and complain if you are not. If your company culture includes a farewell coffee, host it and thank everyone for the good times and shared successes. Don’t ramble on about what happens next for you. Farewells are really about the people who are staying.
Move on Strongly
Within 6 months of leaving your job, most of your current colleagues will not think of you at all. That’s just human nature; in your new job, you won’t think about them either. The last work you do, the last interactions you have before leaving, can outweigh years of working together. Make that a strong impression and you leave many doors open for the future.