It was hard a decision to make. but once I had decided it was time to go from a job & Company that I fell for, to follow my own path that was more suitable for me and my career aspirations – I felt lighter, happier and energised.

The truth is, how you leave a company is just, actually, if not more important than how you enter the organisation. Yes, first impressions count but what about that lasting impression.

When you watch a film or TV programme you are gripped to how the story ended. Not necessarily how it began. Crappy endings mean bad reviews, no season renewals, no sequel and worst of all, placed in the crap pile! By the show of hands: Who wants to be in the crap pile? – that’s right, NO ONE!

My Partner, who is self-employed, has a bit of a motto: “You are only as good as your last job” and it is something that is not only quite fitting for this post, but actually rather a nice mantra to live by.

Here I tell my story of what I did in my final working days. If you are currently working your notice period, I hope this can help shape your exit strategy.

My last few weeks were tough, my brain had started to empty, I had even started to forget people’s names (OK, in my defence, they themselves had already left and I hadn’t seen them for a good few months)  and I was getting excited about my new adventure…

The plan was simple. Align expectations with my line manager, deliver on the items that were deemed critical and although tough, DO NOT get involved with the office politics!

I kept my line manager in the loop, offered any assistance with reviewing CVs or being part of the recruitment process (which wasn’t accepted or in fact really my place, but the offer was there) and made sure I was available for any handovers. The management role I held, meant that I was a resource on multiple projects that were at all different stages within a project life-cycle. Knowing this I did the following:

  • Two group drop-in sessions for Project Managers to come along to ensure that they had the up to date version of the process and had an opportunity to bring up any critical actions
  • 1-2-1 sessions with the individual Project Managers which gave them the opportunity to go into more specific detail and complete any relevant documentation
  • And finally, on this point – Each session was followed up with an email, copying in my team, my line manager and the managers of Project Managers.

Aside from the project work I was responsible for, I also had ownership with processes and some general administration. I made sure all artefacts I created were accessible and followed this up with an email. I also produced a basic handover document, which could be used as a base for a new starter – the document included the repository location, reporting details and conference ID. Although it seems simple, not everyone uses their initiative or bothers to spend the time.

As my last few days sailed by, I made sure the I’s are dotted and the T’s crossed. I made sure I swapped contact details with colleagues that I built great relationship with. I wasn’t very forthcoming with my next steps after I leave; some people like to announce their success however, it is also just fine to keep your cards close to your chest.

Departure day arrived, I sent a few emails then cleared my laptop down. After a farewell lunch, I did my rounds of goodbye, wishing people luck and success. I handed my equipment and building pass back to a trustworthy individual (my manager wasn’t in).

I gracefully stepped out the front door, where it only felt like the day before where the excitement all began.