How to Leave a Great Lasting Impression

How to Leave a Great Lasting Impression

Every work relationship comes to an end at some point. It doesn't matter if the partnership lasted a month, a year, or several decades, for most people there eventually comes a time when we must move on. But

How Long Will It Take To Replace You?

Step one to "leaving well" is to have an honest conversation with yourself about how long it will take your replacement to fully learn your job. Once you've determined that, give your employer more than ample notice before you part ways. Think about how you'd feel if you were in their shoes. The more time you give them to figure out how to best move on with someone new, the better.

Employers face a challenge, particularly when replacing high level staff in complex roles: the outgoing staff has knowledge to transfer and a responsibility to help his or her organization set up the new employee for success. It's far too much to accomplish in just two weeks' time.

Your Professional Reputation Is On The Line

Why is it so important to leave well? Ask anyone who has ever used a reference to help land a job. Getting hired for the next position could depend on glowing references from previous employers. One way to earn a great reference is to leave on good terms. Make sure you leave your ex-employer in as strong and solid a position as possible. This might mean giving more notice and putting in extra time to train "the new guy" who replaces you. While some may think this goes beyond the call of duty, it goes a long way to help your current employer, and reveals your good character. Who wouldn't want to recommend the worker who went to great lengths to prepare their replacement?

Even On Contract, Leave Well

In settings where contractors and consultants come and go on a regular basis, the way one leaves is crucial - for more than one party. Not only is the contractor's reputation on the line, and they may not get a referral from their most recent role if they leave on bad terms, but leaving an employer empty-handed also reflects poorly on the network who recommended the contractor in the first place. Contractors who damage their reputations with the agencies and individuals connecting them to new work may find themselves without representation.

It's All About Who You Know

While contracting may entail a different working structure compared to full-time employment, the relationship is still an interpersonal one. Contractors may even find that personal connections have a much greater impact on their career success because of the greater number of contacts in temporary work. Leaving well helps preserve that paramount relationship.

As employees, we spend a lot of time focusing on "starting off on the right foot" or making a great first impression. But it's important for full-time staff as well as independent contractors to remember that how we leave also affects our professional reputation. Make the transition for your employer as smooth as possible by providing ample notice, and graciously offering to help your replacement acclimate. You may feel like it's not your responsibility, but your organization will thank you for it - and your references will reflect that.