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Full-circle career path

12.06.2017

Virgin

Many of us have a very clear vision for our career. Though sometimes it seems no matter how much you try to stay on the same path, you have no choice but to take a diversion, and end up somewhere unexpected. Moral of the story? You never know what might happen later on down the line, so it’s important to always try and leave things on a positive note.

Most people don’t stay in one company for their entire life, so the chances are you will have to go through the process of leaving a few jobs. When you leave, it’s important to conduct yourself in a professional manner and keep things on good terms.

Why? Firstly, you may want to keep the door open so that you can always return to that company if you wish. And secondly, if you maintain a positive relationship with your ex-employer and colleagues, they just might feel the urge to help you out should the opportunity arise. 

Here is how to conduct yourself on leaving a role in order to leave the door open for your return.

Tell your boss first 

News travels like wildfire, especially the news that someone is leaving. Out of courtesy, always, always tell your boss before you tell anyone else. It may be tempting to spill the beans to your bestie Jim in accounts, or Angela in marketing, but the last thing you want is for it to somehow get back to your boss.

Be helpful and constructive in your exit interview

Many companies conduct exit interviews. This gives them a chance to understand why you are leaving and what your time was like at their company. Don’t use it as a chance to vent all your pent up frustrations, no matter how appealing that may be. Provide them with helpful feedback and try and keep things positive.

Leave at the right time

Don’t stay in your job until things get so bad you hate being there. You may not leave on the best terms and this won’t help your future prospects.

Write a courteous, professional letter of notice

Think about the wording carefully and aim to put a positive spin on things by saying something like ‘I have very much enjoyed my time working at X’ or ‘Thank you for giving me this opportunity’.

Don’t burn any bridges

There’s always someone at work that we struggle to get along with. But it’s just not worth burning any bridges when you leave, as you never know when it might come back to bite you. Take the high road, and leave with your integrity.

Get co-workers contact details

Before you leave and disappear forever, make sure you grab your co-worker’s contact details. You never know when they might come in handy, and it’s always good to keep building your list of business contacts throughout your career.

Give the necessary notice

Try not to leave your company high and dry. Be professional and give them the period of notice you agreed to when you joined, which is usually a month. They will be less than impressed if you just walk out.

Work hard until you leave

Last impressions count. Those last couple of weeks will have a big impact on how everyone remembers you, which should be hardworking and positive until the end. So do your job to the best of your ability right up until the end. This includes tying up loose ends, doing a really great handover and giving staff all the info they need to cover your job when you go.