Recently a colleague of mine left my company. We had been working together for many years and It was a rather unceremonious good bye. I was hoping that we could at-least grab lunch or something but all I got was a a handshake and a quick farewell. Some of my other colleagues did not even get that. Now this was not an abrupt or nasty departure. Even if it had been, I think it could have been handled better.
In my experience., all the jobs that I have left or been let go of have been positive experiences and I have been offered new opportunities and new leads from people I have worked with in the past. I believe it is because I have a definite positive pattern when i leave a job. Here is how, in my humble opinion, you should make the best of the last few days of your job so that you can get the most out of it.
What qualifies me to write this post? Well, I have left 10 jobs (most of them temporary contracting positions) and I have seen many colleagues leave over the years. Some do it well and some don’t but I am hoping that after the recent disaster I witnessed, someone will take heed and do the following before during and after leaving a position.
If you are leaving of your own volition then please don’t forget to give notice. Two weeks notice is usually common courtesy but longer is always welcomed by managers. I have shown up to many a work day when colleagues simply did not show up since they had landed a position and neglected to tell the manager. Not only does this slam the door shut behind for any future positions, it leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
It is surprising how many people neglect to do this. In all my jobs, I not only gave notice, I even told my supervisor that I was looking for a new position. I have never had a position in which I had to sneak behind my bosses back so my boss usually knew a month in advance of my departure so he could make adjustments. Perhaps I have been blessed with really great bosses over the years and I have never had to “sneak” around behind anyone’s back to look for position. One of my former bosses even gave me a day off to go for an interview in a different state in the middle of the week.
Not only is giving notice common courtesy, It will open new doors for you. My current position was referred to me by a former supervisor and I have been in this position 10 years. What if I hadn’t given proper notice or left abruptly? Don’t slam the door shut behind you. Leave it open and give proper notice.
I simply cannot understand how people who have worked with me for years can just walk out without even a hand shake. It has happened to me multiple times when a colleague just did not show up on Monday. Heaven forbid that you have a bad departure but even if you could not discuss leaving earlier due to constraints, you can always say good bye after you have left. Let’s at-least grab lunch if you are ever in the area.
The reason this is so important is that the way someone departs leaves a definite impression. I will never recommend a former colleague for a position if I know that colleague has walked out of positions in the past abruptly. It takes a lot of work to fit a human being into the corporate machinery and if I know that a former colleague has a tendency to pack up and leave, I will not be recommending him for any positions at my current firm.
Wrap Up Things and Train your Replacement
This one is especially difficult if you are being pushed out or if your departure is less than amicable. I’ve had one of those and it is not easy sucking it up and training the person taking over your job. For all my departure, I did have a position lined up immediately after so that helped a lot. Please do make a good faith effort in training your replacement on the job at hand. It is not that it is “nice to be nice” but you will be leaving behind some brownie points with your replacement and your supervisor.
Do you have tasks outstanding? Finish them or let the boss know that you won’t be able to so he can get the work assigned to someone else. Return your equipment and badge since no one wants to be chasing you for the company laptop.
Write A Killer Good by Email
The final step is to write a killer goodbye email. You may not have been able to say goodbye to everyone in person so this is your opportunity to say goodbye and leave and impression.
Address your colleagues as “Dear Colleagues” and let them know when is your last day of work. The email should ideally be sent a week or two prior to your departure but a late email is better than no email. Start by including the departure date and that you have enjoyed working there (even if you have not) as a common courtesy. Most offices have a decent grapevine and if your departure is not on good terms, your colleagues will already know that but at-least you will be leaving on a positive note.
Say Thank You
Thank your colleagues and your supervisor. In the email, mention by name those people who have mentored you, helped you and guided you. Not only is this your opportunity to thank them but also to make them shine. It is a small payment for all the things they did for you so don’t be shy about praising someone by name.
Your Next Steps
If you have a position lined up, you can mention the title and where you will be working if it is not a sensitive topic. Also, this can be a place for you to plug in your availability if you don’t have a job lined up. Perhaps your colleagues knows someone that is hiring? Go ahead, plug in your availability.
A Fond Farewell
Include something memorable such as a quote or an inside joke between you and your colleagues.
Here is the final email i wrote at my last job
Dear Colleagues,A personal email
As you may know, (Date) is my last day at (government agency) and with (contractor). As all good things must come to an end, sadly my time at the (government agency) has ended.
While working on (product A, B and C etc.), I worked so closely with so many of you that I have not had and will not have a chance to say goodbye in-person to all of you for which I sincerely apologize.
The 9 years I worked at the (government agency) were by far the most rewarding in my professional career but alas, all good things come to an end. I am excited by the new opportunity I will be pursuing but I cannot help but feel sad leaving. I will be a full stack developer in the MEAN stack with a little bit of .NET development mixed in.
Working with such an inspired and hard working group of individuals has left an indelible impression on me and I will take forward all the lessons I learned at the (government agency).
You can find my LinkedIn Profile here. My number is (###) ###-#### and my personal email is **********@gmail.com. Please keep in touch.
I wish you all the best, and hope that we cross paths again. I would like to leave you with the following words of wisdom,
“Don’t be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.”
Till we meet again… farewell my dear friends!
There you have it folks. Did I miss something? Anything you disagree with? Let me know below.