Leaving on a High
Congratulations, you have been successful and have accepted an offer for a new job! However after the initial buzz you realise that you have to have a potentially uncomfortable conversation with your soon to be former employer, and more importantly your manager informing them that you have decided to leave. As you serve your notice period this can be a strange time with mixed emotions – excitement, anticipation and maybe a little anxiety as you look forward to starting your new role and then realising you still need to deliver and be professional in your current position.
Deliver is a key word. No matter how your resignation is received and how challenging your manager may or may not be during your notice period its vitally important to leave on a high. Never burn bridges, you never know in the future when you may come across your network, when you may need a favour or when you may be working with a former colleague again.
Red Tiger Talent have put together Some tips for leaving on a high:
Some managers and colleagues may not be particularly happy and in some cases envious of your new opportunity. Don’t rise to any office politics which may be going on…. remember you probably only have 4 or 12 weeks to put on a brave face and it is not worth risking the rest of your career for a last minute dig. Similarly, enjoy your leaving drinks but don’t see this as an opportunity to let off steam and vent about certain colleagues.
Be appreciative of those around you
Reconnect with people beyond your immediate team – appreciating and recognising all the great projects you have done with other people and how this collective effort achieved some great results. It’s important to celebrate successes again as you say farewell. Who knows you may be working with some of these people again as a future line manager or direct report.
Stay connected after your departure
A natural follow on from the above is to maintain connections with those who you are likely come across, or contact again in the future, within your specialist field. Obviously, you don’t need to keep in touch with everyone but a handful of key people who you have thoroughly enjoyed working with.
Do everything asked of you
You may be required to do some mundane tasks, admin and handover which isn’t glamourous but needs to be sorted. This is likely to be heightened if your departure isn’t well received by your manager. Take these tasks on the chin and crack on. Think about your successor and what they will be receiving on your departure…. would you like to inherit incomplete work, processes and missing information from your predecessor when you start your new role? Do it right and leave a legacy.
Don’t Kick Back
Don’t treat your notice period like a holiday, continue with business as usual and assume you are working on your objectives ready for your next appraisal. Even if you have been with a company a long time, people often take a short-term view and “you are only as good as your last project”. Continue to deliver projects to a high standard – you will be viewed in higher regard if you leave fully delivering and not having taken your foot off the gas.
Don’t feel pressured by your new employer to share anything, or into taking any company information and files with you. It goes without saying that you continue to be under a contractual obligation with your current employer after your departure to maintain confidentiality around sensitive company subject matter and data. There are some horror stories out there, particularly of individuals early in their careers, who have decided to try and take company data to a competitor. At the end of the day your new employer has employed you for your skills and experience, not for a spreadsheet of numbers. By not sharing anything you earn the trust and credibility of your new employer immediately and avoid the “well if they did it to them, they will do it to us” mentality.
Request an exit interview
If offered always take the opportunity to have an exit interview and if not, it is worth asking for one. Share what you have enjoyed and the experience you have gained, but also provide some constructive feedback on the reasons for leaving whether this be a lack of growth and development opportunities, excessive hours resulting in a poor work/life balance, renumeration and benefits or simply for a new challenge. If you haven’t shared your reasons for leaving, then you cannot expect your former employer to understand and make improvements for your colleagues.
The network of people that work within your field may be extensive, and any unprofessionalism in your last few weeks may come back to haunt you. Leaving on a high will give you a boost that you can carry on into your next position.
If Red Tiger Talent have helped you to get your next job, part of our service is advice and help on your new role, but we can also help you negotiate the final few weeks of your current post.
Look out in the coming weeks for a follow up blog through the lens of the line manager with some tips on how to successfully work through a notice period when someone tells you they are leaving your team.
If you need any career advice, then please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Neil Andrews, Associate, Red Tiger Consulting