Exit Strategy

Back in the day, workers spent a lot more years with a single employer than they do today.  We once thought we’d spend our entire careers with a single employer, but this is no longer the case.  In fact, it’s becoming increasingly rare for employees to spend more than 5 years with a single employer.  Younger workers are certainly more inclined to quit one job and move on than their older colleagues. But, whatever the reasons for leaving a company, having a strategy for making your exit has become a critical component of career development.
Unless you’re retiring (and there is nothing wrong with that!) or you leave your present job in a hurry due to dismissal or frustration, you should make sure you have another job in place before you give notice to your current employer!  Even with any trepidation you may have about working for a new/different employer, the security of knowing you’ll still have an income will go a long way to easing the stress of exiting one company and going to another.
Most employers generally request that you give them 2-3 weeks notice prior to your departure. Giving appropriate notice, completing tasks, helping preparing for your successor, etc. will demonstrate your good character and professionalism, and help you maintain a positive impression with soon-to-be former management.  You don’t want to burn any bridges when you leave; you may need a good word from some of these people!
It is best to have a private and personal conversation with a supervisor or manager to announce your intentions to leave. And at that time you should also have a formal letter of resignation to hand over.  Your letter should be brief and direct, with your exact exit date.  If you know you have benefits due you at the time of your exit, or if you are one of the few whose employer will continue to pay health benefits after your departure, your resignation letter is good place to include such information.  You do not need to provide any written explanation of why you’re departing or what you’ll be doing after you go.  If you are leaving because you are very unhappy with your employer, it’s best to not put any details in writing.  Even if you’re miserable and hate the people you’re walking away from, it is always best to leave in a positive way.
If exiting one job for another, you should let the new employer know that you want to leave your current firm on good terms.  Tell them you can start the new job after you complete the time you gave between the announcement of your departure and your actual exit date.
You may also want to discuss with the future employer that you’d like to take at least a few days off for yourself before beginning a new job. In most cases, you may not be able to take any official time off from the new job until you have accumulated sufficient PTO (paid time off), and that could take about six months.
Most likely you’ll know you intend to depart a job before you actually give notice. Don’t discuss your departure plans with anyone at the firm, with friends at competing companies, prospective new employers, or anyone else who could accidentally leak word of your imminent departure until you are ready to give notice.  You don’t want your intentions revealed by anyone other than yourself, and only when you are ready to let others officially know.
Before you go, start collecting email addresses and other contact info from the people you’ve worked with.  You may have other contacts from outside the office whose contact information you may also want to gather.  This not only facilitates networking, but having details for providing references.
A word of caution:  There may be files or other information you might want to copy before you go.  You do this at your own risk!  Be careful that what you copy or take with you doesn’t open you up to any legal action by your soon-to-be former employer for removing proprietary or other information that they may believe no one else should have.
After you’ve given notice, don’t forget to send out LinkedIn invites so you can build your network and maintain your personal and professional connections.
So give some advance thought to how you will leave your current or future employer, Leaving your current employer in the lurch, or with bad feelings toward you, can hurt your reputation. That negativity about you could circulate very quickly within industry circles, and spread outside your immediate sphere to disparage your character and credibility.  It could also impede your chances of finding new employment.  Plan your exit strategy thoughtfully before you head toward the door.
For more tips on job search and employment strategies for getting hired or leaving a job, please search this blog and visit:  hanklondon.com