At some point in your life, and more than likely at multiple points in your life, you are going to end up leaving a job. Seeing as I am just after having to leave my latest job, I thought this would be a good time to write up the third and most likely final piece in my Job series, the previous 2 were Looking for a Job – Searching, Interviewing, the whole Shebang and Starting a new job!.
It doesn’t matter if you have been fired, quit your job, or have been made redundant due to unforeseen circumstances, there are in my opinion, a few things you should do, and some things you should not do before you actually leave.
1. Don’t slack off or sabotage projects.
If you’ve been fired, or you have decided to leave a job, during the last week or so, there will usually be a slowdown of work coming your way, so that you leave as little unfinished work behind you as possible, sparing those who take up your position from coming in the middle of an unknown project. Just because there is less work, does not mean you should sit back and watch funny videos on YouTube, this makes you look lazy and will adversely affect any reference you get from the company. I am not saying you should start cleaning up the office or start organising the office, but if a colleague is under pressure to get a project finished and you can help, do. This shows you are a hard worker, will look great to your soon to be former boss, and people will speak positively of you – the most recent memories are the most vivid.
If you intentionally sabotage any ongoing projects, it will have a serious negative impact on your future. If word gets out that you have done something like this, you may never find a job in your field again, or you may have to start over from the ground up.
2. Make yourself useful/be helpful.
Following on from the last point, this is quite similar, but not identical. If there are things that need to be done regularly in the office, but people hate doing it and leave it ’til the last minute to do it, you should volunteer for it, like I said before the most recent memories are the most vivid.
As well as that, your replacement may be in the office before you leave, it would look better if you took some of your time from your last week to show them the ropes so to speak, and to give them advice on the job.
3. Get everything you need (paperwork, tax, welfare).
When you are finished with the job, you may be unemployed. That means you will need to go for unemployment benefit, and you may need proof that you were let go, rather than you quit (in many countries, if you leave gainful employment by choice, you may be denied social welfare payments). You may also need other paperwork filled out, like tax forms – I wont go into the specifics of the kind of paperwork, as it varies from country to country.
It is much easier to get these signed and filled out by the relevant people in the office or company when you are still working there. Once you have left, you will have to arrange an appointment, and if you left under bad circumstances, you might be waiting a long time before you actually get the paperwork completed.
You should also make sure you get reimbursed for any expenses, and get paid for any overtime, before you leave. It’s much easier to deal with it while still a part of the company.
4. Clean your desk.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but I would imagine it happens more than you’d think. When people get it in their heads that they are finished with a job and a company, some can relinquish responsibility for their areas, but how will people remember you, when they see your messy desk long after you have left. As well as this, at some point, someone else will be using your old desk, why should they have to clean up your mess. You might also find some nice stuff that you have long forgotten about.
5. Say your goodbyes.
It is important that you say goodbye to everyone. Now by everyone, I don’t mean the entire company or even the entire building, but you should say goodbye to everyone that you have worked with over the term of your employment, and everyone who worked in the same office as you , as well as those you were friendly with.
It is also a good idea to send an email to your superiors thanking them for the opportunity to work for the department, company, project etc.
Don’t just keep your head down, and skip out quietly when the day is done, be proud of what you have achieved while you were there.
6. Leave on a good note (Final day).
You should always try to leave on a good note.
When I finished my most recent job, I arranged for the whole office to go to a local Gastro pub for lunch. We all had a lovely meal, a nice bit of banter and some great memories from my last day with the people I had worked with for quite a while. I also bought a variety of chocolates that we all enjoyed for dessert. This leaves everyone with good memories of you, and if you’re lucky they will pay for your lunch.
Once you have done all this, and your time has come to an end, all you have left to do is…