When you part ways with your company, leaving an impression that enhances your professional reputation can garner you future recommendations.
The alarm goes off. It’s 8 a.m. You turn it off and struggle out of bed. Peering at yourself in the mirror, you see a face that is cheerless and gray. You know why, of course. You don’t want to go to work. Months ago your job got into a rut that stifled your motivation and enthusiasm for learning or even enjoying the company of your colleagues.
You’re feeling like a corporate zombie, in pursuit of a remote purpose that’s totally unconnected to your dreams and aspirations. This story isn’t fictional… It’s very real.
Now let’s imagine that, with great effort and determination, you’ve found the career opportunity you’ve been looking for.
Celebrate! Get prepared to leave your job, and start thinking about how to go about it. We’re often told how to get started; how to join an organization, but little advice is given on how to leave.
Leaving in the right way is just as important as getting off to a good start. When we leave a good impression it enhances our professional reputation and our employability. Creating a good impression when we leave can prompt others to recommend us, or to think of us for future projects.
Take note of the 6 keys to leaving your job the smart way:
- Set your compass
It’s time to think about yourself as you close one chapter and open a new one. Take the time to do so. It’s the first step toward leaving your company. Ask yourself what dreams you’re excited about as you approach your next challenge, what values you want to honor, and what you do and don’t want from your next career move.
I love the questions asked by the coach @ClaudiaChianese. She asks 3 key questions. What do you want to keep doing? What do you want to stop doing? What do you want to start doing?
Take a pen and paper and write down a list of answers to each question. Doing so will help set the compass for your future career. Incidentally, I would suggest you share your list with someone you trust. Doing so will be a clear sign that you are committed.
- Stay level-headed and leave a good impression
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your departure from the organization, listen to your emotions. By seeing which ones show up, you can keep them under control. Frustration, anger and fear are frequently present when leaving a job. Focus on being courteous and managing your emotions to make your departure go smoothly, leaving a positive impression with your team, your boss and your co-workers that will faithfully reflect the professionalism you’ve always shown at work. It’s important that people speak highly of you; they may end up recommending you or considering you for future work opportunities.
- Ask for feedback on how to improve
Be bold and ask for feedback from people in the organization you’re leaving. I recommend that you have conversations with people at different levels of the company, including your subordinates, your suppliers, your peers, your boss and other managers. Create a connection and notice what interests and motivates them. It’s an opportunity to get to know them better, solidify the relationship, and most of all, know what they think of you. It’s a gift to be able to get feedback from your former co-workers.
It’s a very small world. Leaving the right way also includes apologizing to certain people, if you haven’t already done so. How they react isn’t important; what’s important is that your apologies come from the heart and you speak your opinions and emotions frankly with the aim of rebuilding the relationship, if possible, or simply honoring your personal values, regardless of how the other person reacts.
- Ask for help
You already have one foot outside of the organization, and for sure you’ll need help as you enter this new stage. Helping others is a gift. We all like helping, and we enjoy being asked to help. Serving others makes us feel useful and acknowledged. For example, ask for a letter of recommendation, or ask for contacts at companies you’re interested in, or for that person to be your mentor and guide. Ask and keep asking…
- Celebrate yourself
Today is your last day at work. At last! Celebrate your courage, your determination and your energy for believing in yourself and being able to leave your company. Celebrate yourself, expressing gratitude for your patience, persistence and passion.
Leaving your job means giving yourself permission to reconnect with your gifts, your talents and your dream, directing them toward new career challenges and opportunities. Just as you enjoy putting your talents to work, your new colleagues will enjoy discovering them as well.