Recently I have gone through a process of changing employers. I have quit the job at my company and that led to some hard talks. I know this is not comfortable for most people, I wasn’t comfortable with it either. This article is aimed on helping you out if you are thinking about doing the same. My experience, research I did and some feedback information helped me make this list. This is a list of things you should do to make a process a bit less stressful.
Reason for quitting
Before you quit your job you should know the reason for doing so. If you are looking for something better, another company, knowing and defining a reason why you want to leave can help you find a place that can be different. If you are changing a company and do not want to have a down time from work, you can arrange to start at your new job as soon as your notice period finishes.
Find out what is a notice period in your company. This information is useful when negotiating with other companies to change the job. If you get accepted they will want to know when you can start. It is better to know this upfront then to get it wrong and then have to change people’s plans. You can find what is the notice period in your company in your contract or if you don’t you can google the law in your country or just ask around.
Before giving notice, try to avoid new long term commitments. If you can, without uncovering that you want to quit before you want to do it. It is the right thing to do. If you can’t finish what you started during your notice period, then it is probably better to avoid that commitment in the first place. You will not be motivated and you won’t leave a good impression before you leave.
Quitting the job
You should give the notice to the person that is in charge of you or the CTO, CEO if you are working in a smaller company. The notice should really be done in person. This could be hard for someone, but it is the easiest way. If you phone or email your notice you will have to see those people during your notice period anyways and that will just lead to awkward situations. If you can’t meet in person than your other options are a phone call or email in that order. It is pretty rare that you can’t get someone on the phone for conversations as important as this so you should really avoid emails.
Lead the conversation by mentioning that you have thinking about it for some time and give the reason why you are quitting. Then say that you are quitting directly and unequivocally. You should leave no doubts about your intentions. And that’s it! You have just quit your job.
Prepare some answers if you have some questions that you do not want to answer. You don’t want you be unprepared for this.
Notify your colleagues and other people in your company. The information might not come from your supervisor directly to everybody in the company so, unless you are asked not to, you should tell your colleagues that you are leaving. Also make yourself at disposal for any questions or assistance that they might need from you while you are still with them.
Finishing your projects
You should finish all the projects that you have started. It is a right thing to do. Everything that you do not finish will be passed on to your (ex) colleagues. Just put yourself in this situation that someone drops an unfinished project in your lap… not a nice situation to be in.
Do not take company files and documentation
Delete all of the company files from your personal computers, hard drives, USB sticks…
This is something that many people do not do. Those files are company property taking them is the same as taking some physical item from your company home. You should not do it. If you are working with some sensitive documentation from your or some external company you could get sued if the documents sprung up into public. This can happen by accident but you will be the one to blame.
That said if you have learned some useful designs and solutions my opinion is that you have the right to save them for reference. That doesn’t mean that you should take the company documentations, models or drawings but you can do some rough sketches or write a few sentences for yourself. The thing is that most likely you will never look at those sketches again. So one or two pieces of paper is plenty for everything that you want to save for yourself.
Informing external people
You should call or email all the people that you have been working with outside of the company if you have some planned meetings, arrangements or other scheduled agreements. Leave them with the contact information of the person that will replace you in those positions. Also fill in the person replacing you about all the info that they need in order to continue the collaboration with those outside parties.
Leaving the company
On your the last day, before you leave, you should go in person and say goodbye to your colleagues. Shake their hands and wish them all the best (if you mean it).
You should not leave the company angry or full of yourself and mean to others. Machine design is a field that doesn’t have many players in it, people or companies. In a few years you maybe in the situation that you have to work with some of those people again. So do not be mean for no reason to anyone. Also do not talk smack about other people when you leave. Nothing good can come out of that. It will come back to bite you.
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