8 things to do when leaving a job

picture of goodbye cupcakes
Those little fondant sticky notes are the cutest!

It’s easy to just leave a job and never associate yourself with it again. You’ve already given this company years of your time, and you don’t need them lingering in your life any longer. However, would if I told you that your last impression is just as important as your first impression?

I read a Forbes article that discussed how to quit your job gracefully. I agreed with a lot of the things on there. The biggest part I’ve learned about exiting and entering jobs is that you want to ensure a smooth transition for both companies involved, as well as yourself. Leaving on a positive note will increase your chance of future employment and good job references.

In this post, I’ll be discussing 8 things to do when leaving a job. As quickly as you may want to leave, there’s still a lot of things to think about beforehand. Below are the points that I wanted to emphasize that may or may not have been in the linked article above.

picture of letter of resignation
  1. Write a resignation letter with adequate notice, if possible.
    Whether it’s typed or handwritten, be sure to write an official letter of resignation. It’s important to have a document on file that shows when you’re leaving, not only for your company’s sake, but for your own sake, as well (i.e. receiving payment that is owed to you.)
  2. If necessary, make a decision about your 401k.
    When you transition from one job to the next, you have a choice of transferring your money into your new workplace savings account or withdrawing it, usually with a 10% early withdrawal penalty. Whatever your decision is, make sure you complete all the required paperwork that comes along with it.
  3. Clean out your computer and your desk.
    Move all of your work files to the appropriate folders on your shared drive or desktop. If you’ve worked on any documents that belong to the company, make sure you store them in places that are easy for your former colleagues to access. And of course, let them know exactly where those documents are. Same goes with your desk. Leave your workspace as tidy as possible, so that the next person doesn’t have a million papers/files to go through once he or she arrives.
  4. Don’t leave behind the contacts YOU’VE EARNED.
    Please consult with your managers about this before taking this step. If your former workplace owns a list of media/industry contacts, and you found them anywhere on the company’s property or electronic server, then you CANNOT take these contacts with you. HOWEVER, if you attended networking events or non-company hosted ceremonies where you acquired important contacts on your own, then by all means, keep that contact information and stay in touch!
  5. With permission, add some of your projects to your portfolio.
    As long as you make sure it’s OK first, you can add some of your projects to your portfolio. That way, you’ll have a nice collection of work samples should you need them in the future.
  6. Leave notes for your department and the person who will come after you.
    There’s nothing better than leaving notes, so that everyone will know where to find important documents and how to access unfinished projects. You never want to leave loose ends behind you because for one, it tells a lot about your work ethic and two, it makes it harder for the team to pick up where you left off.
  7. Work hard until your last day of work.
    This is such a difficult thing to do. My goodness. You know you have a new job waiting on you, so you’ve officially checked out. Deadlines don’t matter anymore. And dealing with complicated people is surely at the bottom of your to-do list. But as I mentioned before, how you work (especially during this time) is a reflection of your work ethic and how much your colleagues mean to you. Keep up the momentum, so you can start your next job with that same motivation!
  8. If possible, give yourself a few off days before you start your next job.
    I used to do this all the time. I would give my former job a two-weeks notice and give my new job like…2.5-weeks notice, so that I have a few days to rest and prepare for my transition. The purpose of this mini staycation is to help me relax, get focused and prepare for any moves I may have to make. It’s a great way to start a new job!

Starting a new job is a very fun and exciting thing. But you can’t neglect the job that gave you your start…the job that carried you through for the last few years…the job that taught you so much. What do you think about the points I discussed in this post? Are any of you transitioning into a new job right now? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading! It’s been more than a month since my last post, so I’m glad to be back!

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Hello! My name is Tammie and formally, I’m a graduate from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, a minor in Spanish and a certificate in technical writing. Informally, I’m an energetic 29-year-old who enjoys to write, give professional advice and explore my creative side.

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