Transitioning out of a job - with goodwill

A transition out from a role or position will occur multiple times during a career.


It could be a promotion, job rotation, new job outside, outsourcing, or maybe automation.

Even though you as the incumbent are leaving behind the work which you were doing, it’s very likely that the same work still needs to be delivered. The responsibility of this work will transition to another individual, an automated system, perhaps both.


7 actions can facilitate a smooth transition, reflect professionalism and earn goodwill.


  1. Inform all stakeholders

  2. Give them time

  3. Get your replacement to speed

  4. Leave everything behind

  5. Watch what you say

  6. Stay positive

  7. Recognize that alumni are welcome at alumni events only


Inform all stakeholders

The work you do is often interlinked with that of others. Some provide inputs and there are others who are recipients of your work output.


Let them know of your intended departure so that they can make adjustments to their own work cadence.


There will also be colleagues who are part of your close network at work and have been mentors, friends, or support structure. Let them know too. They should hear of your movement from you rather than from others or the office grapevine.


In the same vein, share it with your family and those outside the workplace who are vested in your professional journey. They have a stake in your professional journey and some may even have a financial dependence on it.


Give them time

Any departure will require actions and adjustments by those whose work is interlined with yours. It may trigger the search for a replacement, getting her/him/it productive, building of new relationships and work patterns.


There may also be an impact on your social network, at work and outside, and on your family.


These changes and adjustments can take time. Letting those affected know in a timely manner gives them time to adjust to the change and continue to be effective and productive in what they do by the time you move on.


Get your replacement to speed

As the incumbent, you have the best understanding of the work which you were doing.


What are the deliverables? Where are the sources of inputs and who are recipients of your work? Which tools and processes need to be used? Best practices?


Unless the work which you were doing is becoming redundant, someone is going to take over from where you left off.


Work with them to ensure a smooth transition. Help them ramp up and get productive.


The effort put in to facilitate the transition & minimize the disruption from your departure will leave behind positive memories, especially with those who were dependent on your work output.


Leave everything behind

When moving on, even if to another role within the same company, one leaves behind the place of work, tools & devices, and access to job contextual company information & assets.


Is that all which you can take with you?


During the course of work there would have been access to documents and employer proprietary information, some in physical form and some which is retained in memory. These were made available to facilitate the work to be performed during your employment.


Not yours to take with you, and certainly not yours to share.


Leave it all behind.


Watch what you say

A job change can lead to separation from colleagues & professional relationships, even an employer.


When leaving these behind, it can be tempting to let the guard slip and comment on those you worked with or where you worked.


Don’t


If there are issues which need to be highlighted, a constructive discussion during an exit interview is the most apt way and venue.


Aside of that, silence is golden. When moving on - “go quietly into the night” (William Shakespeare – Henry V)


Stay positive

Some transitions are to a better job, an aspirational company, a promotion.


There may be others when the reason for exit or where you are heading to is not of your choice.


Whichever is the case, stay positive. A change is happening, it’s a done deal. Look forward to it, embrace it, and make it work.


Alumni are welcome at alumni events only

As you move on, others take your place. A new ecosystem forms and starts to function.


You are now an alumnus. A cherished one perhaps and maybe even one who has made significant contributions.

Nonetheless an alumni now.


Recognize this and avoid the temptation to keep pinging your previous group or employer. They may welcome you at the occasional alumni events and regale in war stories. Aside of that, you have moved on, and so have they.


In closing

A job transition creates change for you, your colleagues, and often your family as well. This change can be made in a manner which reflects professionalism and sensitivity to those who are affected by it.


Let those impacted by your movement know & in a timely manner so that they can adjust to the change and continue to be productive in what they do. Helping your replacement ramp up and become will minimize any disruption caused by your departure.


Very importantly; stay positive during the process, watch what you say, & leave behind that is not yours.


Even though you are departing, these actions will leave behind good memories; that you were a thorough professional and it showed in your conduct and actions during the process of transition out from your job too.


Keep swinging!


You may also want to read - Is it time to change your job

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