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Everything You Need to Know About Leaving a Job the Right Way

No matter how you feel about finishing up, it’s best to go on a good note.

Know your obligations

Read through your employment contract to ensure you’re aware of how much notice you need to give upon resignation. Then calculate any owed sick leave or holiday pay and note your last payment date. If you don’t have a job to move on to, this information will be vital for budgeting.

Write resignation letter

A resignation letter is an essential part of leaving a job. It should be brief, informative and polite. Include the manager’s name, date, a concise reason for your resignation, and the date of your final workday (in accordance with your notice period).

Notify your manager

It’s important that your manager is the first person in the office notified of your resignation. Do it politely and tactfully, and in person rather than over the phone, email, or (the worst option) text. Hand in your printed resignation letter when you do so, and ensure that you approach your employer in private, at an appropriate time.

Keep your cool

Avoid airing any resentment towards the company in your last few weeks. It will come across as unprofessional, and may alienate some of your colleagues. Similarly, don't go around chattering incessantly about your awesome new gig (if you have one). Nobody likes a bragger.

Continue to meet performance expectations

Make sure you still work hard during your notice period. Doing that will ensure that your professional esteem remains intact and it won’t put undue work pressure on your colleague. It’ll also improve the likelihood of getting a letter of recommendation, or LinkedIn reference.

Offer assistance

Recruitment and training new employees can be a real pain for business owners, so if you want to leave a great final impression, offer some extra assistance. Suggestions include screening resumes, sitting in on interviews, training new employees and creating applicable “how-to” guides.

Contact clients

If your job is client facing it’s important to make contact and let them know you’ll be leaving. If applicable, introduce your replacement. Best practice here is to send an email, then call straight away to make it more personable. Note: before doing this, speak with your employer to get their approval and/or suggestions about how to go about it.

Exit interview

If you are required to take part in an exit interview, frame feedback in a way that demonstrates you are considering the company, and also your replacement. This way you can have a real influence and leave with positive connections. Again, avoid airing any resentment.

Return all company property

Remember to return what’s not yours before you leave, such as your work smartphone, laptop and other equipment. Additionally, you may be in possession of some confidential paperwork or files that may have legal ramifications if they aren’t returned/destroyed appropriately. Discuss this with your employer and seek outside legal advice if needed.

Email colleagues

Common practice is to send a goodbye email to your colleagues. Just make sure this is done after all your tasks have been done, as you’ll likely get a lot of goodbye replies or visits. In the email thank your colleagues (without writing a novel), and include your personal contact details for future reference. Key tip: CC your personal email so you can read any replies when you leave.

Last-day duties

Finally, leave your space clean, inform your manager of any impending matters and update your phone voice message and email out of office. Then you can enjoy your final knock-off drink!

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