Making an exit strategy for leaving a job.
In my last blog, Take the Hint, I wrote about the warning signs that it may be time to leave a job. Today, let’s look at a strategy for making a good, smooth exit from a company. Your exit strategy can be just as important as your first days on a new job, so think before you act.
1. Don’t burn your bridges! All you want to do is give a piece of your mind to that co-worker or supervisor…don’t! You will need every piece of your mind for your new job. Plus, people usually remember their last interaction with you, so make it good. You may want them as references. And, we have all heard of people who have returned to previous jobs because the grass is not always green on the other side.
2. Prepare your resume. If you haven’t been keeping a job journal, do it now. Engage co-workers in conversations about past projects and accomplishments. This will remind you of things you forgot to put on your resume.
3. Copy your Rolodex. Do people still have these? Copy the contacts of your co-workers, customers and any others that may be beneficial in your job search before you leave. In this day of non-compete contracts, you may not be able to work for some of these customers or competitors, but they may know someone for whom you can. This is networking. Start networking!!
4. Clean up your social media. Hopefully, there is nothing to clean up. Don’t vent. Potential employers are looking. If you have not been social networking, start slowly… especially if you have “friended” or connected with those from your current job. Don’t raise suspicions, even if you are getting the hints you want to leave on your own terms.
5. Revisit the employee handbook. Honestly, when was the last time you read the most updated version of the employee handbook? Know what the company policy is about vacation time and two-week notices. What will happen with your savings plan and health benefits? It is much easier to speak with HR as an employee rather than try to get with them after you are gone. Know before you go.
6. Cross-train. Once you have given notice, be sure that someone in your company is up to speed on all of your projects. Don’t leave your employer and colleagues out on the limb. This will help when you need future references.
Finally, it is important to always have an exit strategy before you do anything. As Sir Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
Cheryl Sandifer is a Regional Facilitator with Workforce Solutions. In that role she has been able to apply her knowledge and experience as both an educator and social worker to conduct job search skills seminars throughout the Houston-Galveston area. She has had opportunity to work with those ranging from entry-level to C-level to help them find a job, keep a job, or get a better job.