Most people at some point in their life will leave a job. Its nothing to be ashamed of pretty much all of us have done it; sometimes its easy, smooth, relaxed; you know the kind of leaving where you are going to a better place and your employer and work friends wish you well. But, sometimes it isn’t; sometimes its cause you really need to leave for your own sanity, the right amount of pay, the hours don’t work for you…
Be absolutely sure you need to leave. The way the boss, (s)he who must be obeyed deals with employees is the biggest influence on employee engagement. If you think your reasons for leaving could be reversed and you’d like them to be, then steel yourself and have that difficult conversation with your manager.
Give reasons. Explain your emotions and the facts about why you are leaving. You may not benefit but your work colleagues left behind might if your manager understands why and then acts to prevent further employees leaving.
Don’t make a mess. Before you leave you’re still part of the team… so act like it. Keep disruption down to a minimum, hand-over wherever you can and if possible be flexible on the final date (especially where major clients are concerned). You want to be missed, not resented for leaving everyone in the lurch (especially those important clients…. you never know).
Stay calm. If you’re leaving because you’ve been dismissed or made redundant, stay calm, smile (a lot) and keep those negative thoughts to yourself. You just don’t know you could attract new admirers willing to help if you stay mature.
Had a dispute? Put it right. Life is just too short to have grudges (I cant say I personally set a great example on this one but you’ll get the meaning I’m sure). Take your Nemesis for a coffee and try to leave on good terms; you don’t want them shouting the odds after you’ve gone, you’re not in a position to put the story right at that point.
Be memorable. Leaving a legacy is a great parting gift. Pick your most spectacular success and train a new champion.
Damage control. You get to keep the reputation you make, so if you’re leaving because you’ve screwed-up on a big scale, make a gesture and try and keep what you can of any good reputation you might have.
Respect. A successful ex-employee, who better to bring back into the fold for that difficult but important now project. Meet with (important) ex-work colleagues and keep their respect.
Changing the way people think and behave is difficult enough but never more important than when you’re leaving. You want to leave on good, actually no great terms. You want your previous employer to wish you’d stayed, and keep on wishing for some time to come.
Life is about opportunities and if you’re leaving you’ve decided that opportunity lies elsewhere but sometimes things just don’t work out how they were supposed to. So keep those bridges in-tact, keep the baby not the bath water and stay in-touch if you can. The opportunity might just prove to be where you’ve come from.