🥳 I have good news to share: this week I started a new job! 🥳
I am now a full-time technical writer at Vonage, a company that offers text messages, voice, and video calls for your app.
This change didn't appear out of thin air and involved a lot of preparation and stress. I wanted to document my process in a series of blog posts on resigning, looking for a job, and starting anew somewhere else for the future me (and you all!). Today I want to share my steps for leaving a job I loved.
While at it, I also want to know everything about the most wholesome exit rituals you do or you've witnessed ✨ Are there any resources that you find especially helpful in managing this process?
In order to introduce some structure into the process of resigning from the job and going through the offboarding process, I created a checklist for myself. As changes stress me out, I didn't want to feel like I was forgetting some of the less obvious tasks.
Here's the checklist. Some points are self-explanatory. On some, I wanted to give more context and they link to paragraphs below:
Before you quit:
- Explore other roles
- Discuss your exit strategy
- Make sure to use up your PTO (or cash it in, if that's the company's policy)
After you've landed a job:
- Deliver a verbal resignation to your manager
- Send a resignation letter
- Exit interview
- Messages and Communication
- Make it clear how, for what and for how long you want to be available to your colleagues on issues pertaining to the role;
Before your last day:
- Social 💃🏻
- Make sure you have contacts to your favorite teammates;
- Ask your colleagues for recommendations on LinkedIn;
- If you are in charge of any projects or processes, consider creating a write-up so it's not a hot mess after you've left -- I have been documenting my processes, messages, and learnings and so this wasn't much of an issue for me;
- Admin 💼
- Ask about when your benefits expire, and whether/how you should transfer your 401k if you had that, and when/how you should be expecting the last check;
- Ask about whether there's any non-compete or non-disclosure (if you don't know about it);
- Make sure you did download your W2 and paystubs;
- Tech 💻
- Transfer ownership of the google drive files to your teammates;
- If it's possible, save non-proprietary examples of your work!
- Download your bookmarks (and passwords if you saved any on your work computer that is not company-related);
- Backup files if you have any personal ones;
- Consider deleting bookmarks, passwords, history, cookies, credit cards, personal data (and if you've synced your Chrome browser with your account, do that while still logged in);
- Take care of the personal mail on your work account (if you have any);
- Change your slack presence
- Wipe your disk if the tech support allows for that;
- Clean your laptop off the stickers -- that's a nice gesture!
I do not find stress exciting. I find job search very stressful, which is why I thoroughly check a company before signing a contract so I could potentially stay there longer. That also means that I found the possibility of changing roles or teams worth considering. Before I quit, I explored other roles in my company - I talked to my manager and to a lead of another team. Sadly, that was not possible and that's when I talked to my manager about my exit process.
This isn't something everyone can do. I imagine lots of toxic workplaces where having such a conversation could possibly result in getting fired. I have been fortunate enough to always work at companies and with managers who supported me in this decision. This time around we discussed the timeframe and the communication etiquette. I updated my manager all throughout the process and once I landed a job, we agreed on when my last day would be. While I had a date in mind, I also didn't want my exit to be disruptive because I did value my workplace, my manager, and my colleagues.
Even though I was a lead instructor in my last role, there wasn't much transfer of skills and knowledge beyond what I had been doing throughout the years. I am very serious about documentation, sharing tools, and bringing everyone on the same page so I didn't have to train anyone to substitute me. However, that would have been a part of a typical graceful offboarding and I'd map this process out with my manager. This time around, I only transferred google drive files ownership, forwarded a couple of emails to my colleagues, and created a list of resources I typically used for a given subject.
You need to follow the exit process that's outlined in your employee handbook. Usually, it means sending a formal resignation letter, specifying the end date, and going through an exit interview.
The exit interview is just a formality but it's also a way for you to give feedback that could help your colleagues and your prior company. Was there a direct reason why you left? How could your company keep you onboard for longer? Or, has there been any worrisome trend you've observed pertaining to the team culture? I wouldn't recommend throwing anyone under the bus unless there are serious concerns you would like to voice (in which case, a personal takeaway could be that you perhaps could have voiced them sooner).
I did take a full opportunity to reiterate the stuff that I wish was different. That being said, I don't think I was overly negative because, in the end, I really loved working there and my colleagues.
I wanted to be really intentional about my good-bye messages.
In the past, I learned about folks leaving the company in a group setting and it always shocked me and sometimes put me to pieces in public. I don't like surprises, especially if they mean that a cherished team member will no longer be a part of my workday. I didn't want the same for my colleagues.
Initially, I sent DMs to the colleagues with whom I felt the closest. Then, I announced it on the team slack channel so everyone can learn about it in private. Then, I talked to the cohorts I was leading and explained how this process affected them (it didn't).
Only then I took to LinkedIn and Twitter and surprisingly, this was the most stressful part for me. I guess that putting myself so much on the spot is not something I enjoy immensely. I did not know what to write and I am lucky to have wonderful friends (@bigfishh and Eric Kim!) who are always supportive in such processes.
I thought it would be on-brand to change my slack picture to "404: Person not found".
While at it, I also changed my slack name to "Sylwia Vargas - twitter.com/SylwiaVargas
Tech writer & Former Lead Instructor, SE" so everyone knows how to reach me after my account has been deactivated. It's just a goofy thing.
✨ Now, your turn ✨
- What are the most graceful exits you witnessed?
- Do you have any exit rituals?
- Are there any resources that you find especially helpful in this process?