I feel it is time to finally write this article as I have left a job with great people to pursue the next stage of my career and this has to be one of the most satisfying leaving experiences I have had as I feel there no loose ends, was/am appreciated for my dedication over my time there. So I would thought I would write about what I have done in this leaving and ones before it. Everytime I left though I would be sorely missed I was told, you have a good way of handing over things, how were you motivated enough to do this?
I am writing this guide for people who's firm is not shutting down operations and are leaving on fairly amicable terms. If you have been fired or made redundant then advice I would give would be different.
So your notice period is coming to an end and you are ready to move onto your next challenge and are wondering what to do with the time you have left at soon to be old firm.
Spread the knowledge
Often if you have been working at a place for a significant period of time you will often have specialised knowledge of certain components and once you leave this knowledge may be useless at your next place.
So if you are on good terms with your line manager/boss then ask them if they would like to do a handover plan with you, I did this at a place I worked at and my boss appreciated it and it took the sting out of my resignation. It showed even though I was done with the place I cared enough to help the company ease the transition of losing me and training up my replacement.
Though it may be rare if you have a replacement ready and waiting, offer to spend some time with them and go over what they need to know, keep friendly, avoid bashing the company and make sure they fully understanding what they are taking on. A brain dump might be tough on the new recruit so if you have time try and spread it out and also leave notes just in case they stuck but do these things only if you have time.
If you don't have a replacement ready then try and dump your knowledge onto others, when someone asks for some help on a part of the system you know well, try and impart your knowledge onto them. One of the juniors needed my help on something I wrote, even the problem was simple, I gave them an entire overview of the system, even though something that should have been 5 minutes turned into half an hour, we both were satisfied that the knowledge I had accrued was successfully imparted.
Lastly if you are sole developer at company like I was once, write guides store them somewhere and make sure your line manager or some who is invested in the project knows where there are.
Connecting with your soon to be former colleagues
This I have found difficult in the past, I am not sure what people think of me once I have handed in that dreaded notice. Will they still respect me, will they close up on me entirely or even be aggressive to me?
I once had a line manager look at my notice and look back at me and say "You f**ked up" and sigh. He's human, I was an asset to the company, me leaving this job made his life more difficult, it's understandable while I stayed silent from the shock for a couple of minutes I brushed it off at the time and fired back in a joking tone, well maybe you should not have gone on holiday, I was lonely, it made my eyes wonder". It eased up the situation and any bad feeling eased and my leaving period a little bit easier.
Other than that I have had some interesting replies from from colleagues when they have heard I resigned ranging from the common "I am going to miss you" to "This place is going to hell and I want out too" to even "You are not leaving here, what can I do to make you change your mind?"
My advice is avoid bad mouthing the company or any people you are leaving, word gets round and sometimes if where you are going isn't great you may need a place to back to. Also people move companies, so down the line you may meet up with these people.
Any colleagues you got on well with, make sure you get their contact details, you never know they may help you get future opportunities. The job that I am going to was recommended to me by a former colleague and I believe he had some sway in the decision whether or not the company should hire me.
Getting that reference
If you got on with your line manager it is worth asking them to do your reference, as they would be able to evaluate you and give worthwhile feedback to your prospective employer. If a line manager for any reason can't give you a reference then it might be worth asking another colleague that worked well with you to give you a reference.
In the end...
As your last day approaches it is easy to lose interest but try and keep motivated, make sure you handover any stuff that won't get finished in time. Sometimes your soon to be former colleagues might arrange a leaving do for you but if not then you can always arrange a farewell lunch before bowing out gracefully. If you go out gracefully then people may remember you and this can create opportunities down the line later.