Congratulations! You’ve found your Dream Job, or at least a new job with new opportunities, now what? Leaving a current employer for a new position is far more than simply giving notice and collecting your last paycheck. Here’s everything you need to do to end your tenure with you now former employer on a positive note.
- Wait for It. If your new employer requires a background check, always wait for official notification that background check has cleared before giving notice, no matter how tempted you are to do so beforehand. Even if you are squeaky clean, you never know what could come up.
- Exit Gracefully. Like my Mom used to say, ‘You never know when you will run into that person again…’. Unless your well-being is in danger, always give notice both verbally andin writing to your manager. HR will need the written notice for your employee file. Start with “I am very grateful for this opportunity, unfortunately…” and then give your reason for leaving. The rule of notice holds true even if you never intend to use a company as a reference. LinkedIn lives on forever. You never know who knows who.
- Clean Your Cube (Or Office). Removing your personal effects from your cubicle or office space gradually eliminates the need to carry large boxes out on your last day. You will also be prepared if your employer asks you to leave immediately on receiving your notice. Take a few things home every day. Backup and delete personal files, including emails, from your computer. Take any hard copy personal files home.
- Don’t Take What Isn’t Yours. Leave all company property, no matter how old or unused, behind unless you have permission to take it with you. Even more importantly, understand your employer’s Intellectual Property Do not take copies of materials that fall under this policy, even if you created them. If you must take such materials, i.e.: if you are a writer and need material for your portfolio, get your employer’s permission. Carefully remove all references to proprietary information, including client names, specialized processes, and patented technology, from such materials.
- Understand Your Benefits. If HR does not schedule an exit interview to review separation logistics, request one. Ask about your last paycheck, payout for unused vacation time, medical benefit eligibility, and 401K policies for former employees.
- Confirm when you will be eligible for medical, dental, and vision coverage with your new employer. If these benefits do not start Day 1, COBRA at least your medical coverage until they kick in. Even if the gap period is only a couple weeks, COBRA! A couple years ago, my friend switched jobs and didn’t COBRA. During that time, her son had to go to the E/R. The result was over $5,000 in medical bills. Don’t gamble with your health.
- Know Your Vested Balance. If your 401K has a vested balance under $5,000, a former employer has a right to remove you from their plan without notice. Avoid potential tax penalties by contacting the firm that manages your 401K and rolling over your vested balance if it is below this threshold. If you have a vested 401K balance over $5,000, contact the 401K manager and find out what the fee for leaving your money with your former employer will be.
- Stay in Contact. Be sure to gather any contact information for colleagues you will want to stay in touch with for future networking. Connect with these colleagues – and endorse them for relevant job skills – on LinkedIn. For more information on using LinkedIn to strategically manage a job change, check out this article on The Muse.
- Leave on a High Note. On your last day, thank your manager, co-workers and any personnel you have worked closely with. If you are required to have an exit interview, by all means, don’t go on a rage about co-workers or management. If you are leaving because of a specific conflict, be honest about the conflict, but not bitter. Have a positive word to say about everyone you worked with.
The grass may be greener on the other side, but don’t leave the pasture before your last day. Perform your job duties to the best of your ability until you turn in your ID badge. If you leave your former employer thinking highly of you, you will reap great rewards in the future!
Photo: Pixabay – Wemer Heiber