Knowing when to call it quits and move on to greener pastures is part of life as an employed adult. For as long as you’re in the job market, this is not something you’ll be able to avoid. But what you can do is to make your exit as amicable and pleasant as possible to part ways on good terms.
Give enough notice
Most notice periods of two weeks or a month don’t give your company enough time to look for a suitable replacement. If you know before your stipulated notice period that you’ll be leaving, schedule a meeting with your boss to give him/her a heads up. Not only is this a really polite gesture, it also gives you ample time to tie up your projects and ensure a smooth transition, which your boss will definitely appreciate.
Offer to train your replacement
You’re the expert on your position and know exactly what skills your replacement needs to successfully take over the workload. Offer to help review CVs, interview applicants or even have your replacement shadow you for their first couple of weeks. If your replacement is coming in after you leave, draw up a detailed handover document or training manual to help them settle into the position.
Inform your team and colleagues
Once you’ve informed your boss (and really only after), break the news to your colleagues, who also need time to facilitate a smooth transition in view of your departure. Meet your direct team in-person to share the news and for the rest of your colleagues, draft an email to announce your departure. Include your personal contact information in the email to show that while you’re leaving the company, you’d still like to stay in touch.
Ensure a clean and thorough handover
The moment you announce your move, it’s time to get started on the handover process. Pull all your projects and clients together, with detailed descriptions on the status and any important information your colleague/replacement might need. Schedule a meeting with a team member to run through your projects to ensure that there’s no missing information. Nothing will be more frustrating for your replacement than taking over projects with gaping holes of information. Lastly, check-in with your boss on what your email to your clients announcing your departure should encompass.
Schedule an exit interview
If this is not already part of the offboarding process at your company, ask for an exit interview with your boss. This will go a long way to ensuring that the working relationship ends on a good note. You should be able to communicate your gratitude and appreciation your job has afforded you, and also to offer some advice for your replacement. If there was something about the working culture that was problematic, raising this in your exit interview will help the company to improve (and hopefully better their employee retention rate).
Nothing sours years of being a great employee and team member like leaving on the wrong note. Making sure that the weeks leading up to (and after) your departure are as smooth flowing as possible will leave a great lasting impression on your boss. You never know when you’ll need a referral or would like to return again years down the road. So don’t burn the bridges that you spent years building and strengthening.