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Exit Your Job With Grace

Business Support Industrial

We’re all conscious of how we represent ourselves in our CVs. We’re aware of how we portray ourselves at interviews, or when making that all important first impression with our new colleagues. Generally most people work hard to build a positive profile at work.  But—do we put the same thought process and effort into our plans to exit a role?

Attrition is natural. We all experience colleagues and employees moving on from our businesses, and it’s likely that most of us will have witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to resignations— though hopefully no full-on, Jerry Maguire ‘who’s with me?’ dramatic exits!

A positive resignation and notice period will have you being remembered in the right way, and will assist your former employer in your absence. In contrast, a badly-handled exit can cause stress and negativity, and unfortunately might leave people remembering you as a ‘difficult’ colleague. Always bear in mind, you might meet the people you are leaving behind later in your career; it’s very common in New Zealand’s relatively small employment market. You never know, someone you worked with previously could potentially be the hiring manager for your future dream job. Leave them wanting you back!

If the time has come to move on, here are four easy ways to make sure that that you do the best for everyone—including yourself.

1.Be honest!

If you are starting to think that the time is right for you to leave your employer, then have that conversation. Whilst it might seem scary and almost counterintuitive, employers will value your integrity and professionalism. Communicating with your employer will allow them to plan, and future proof the team. Plus it’s possible that voicing the reasons why it’s time for you to leave your current role may lead to other opportunities. Sometimes, there may be an alternative internal role, or secondment with your current employer that will satisfy your need for change.

2.Be prepared to work your full contractual notice period.

It might seem obvious, but when accepting a new role it’s important to check your notice period before agreeing to a new start date. As a recruiter, unfortunately I’ve seen my share of notice issues. Candidates who backpedal on a start date, after signing a contract cause frustration for all parties and honestly, it isn’t a great first impression for your new boss! Your employer may be happy and able to accommodate you using annual leave to shorten your notice, but they absolutely do not have to. Definitely ask and don’t assume on this one.

3.Prepare a thorough handover

Most companies will have a process for handovers, but regardless of your role, there will be information, duties, relationships and a wealth of legacy information which you can to pass on to other team members, or perhaps the person lucky enough to be filling your role. Think back to your own experiences in a new job, would you have appreciated a little more detail and info when you stepped into the role?  I recommend paying it forward, and prepping as much information for your replacement as you can.

4.Remain engaged

Whether you are leaving because you’ve secured your new dream job, you love your role but it is time to head off on your OE, or you are leaving for less positive reasons, staying engaged to the end of your employment is vital. How you conduct yourself in the final weeks of a job is the legacy you leave. It’s possible to very easily undo years of good work by checking out early. So even if it’s hard, grit your teeth and be professional right until that last day.

 

Of course, handling a resignation and notice period is not a one-way street, employers have a part to play in those final weeks. We all hope that organisations are focused on giving employees the best possible exit and positive memories of working for their business. Sometimes this is the case, sometimes the internal mechanisms for handling employee exits are not as great as we’d like them to be. Regardless, as with many other aspects of personal and professional life, up to a point, we can only control our own actions. Exiting a job and organisation gracefully is within our power. I believe it’s worth a bit of planning and effort, so that in the long term, your reputation stays shiny, and professional relationships stay strong.