As the previous Marketing Director of TINYpulse who, not so long ago, gave my notice to start PlanBeyond, a new company focused on the end-of-life sector, the TINYteam asked me to think about quitting best practices.
So often we focus on what it means to be a good employee or what it means to be a collaborative, positive manager. It’s infrequent, however, that we talk about what it means to be a good quitter. But few things are more disruptive than an employee giving their two weeks' notice.
When you do decide it’s time to move on, give some thought to how to quit in such a way that your teammates are not completely destroyed by it.
The very first thing that happens when you quit is that you give your notice. The next thing is you tell them when your last day is. In the U.S., etiquette generally says give at least two weeks worth of notice. Other countries certainly have larger time periods.
The reality is that two weeks is such an unbelievably short amount of time. Think about all the projects you tackle on a day-do-day basis, not to mention all the institutional knowledge you store in your head. Two weeks is really only 10 working days to pass it all off.
If you’re able to, try giving at least three weeks, if not more. It’ll make the transition easier not just on your team but also on you.
We often take for granted that the things we work on every day require a lot of different steps or a lot of different resources. But it hits us front and center when we’re transitioning those tasks to another person.
When possible, create how-to checklists so that your teammates can easily replicate the process even if you’re not in the building anymore. This doesn’t exempt you from taking them through the process one-on-one. Instead, it gives them an additional resource so that they adopt the new projects smoothly.
Stop for one second, and think about all the different vendors you work with or external agencies. That’s a lot of people who think about you as the core point of contact with your organization. When you leave, who will they work with?
Make sure you work with your manager and team to figure out who will be the new point person for these outside groups. And don’t forget to either send an email out introducing them or schedule a phone call to let everyone meet.
We’ll assume you’re just so stellar that your team will miss having you in your role. That means they’re going to have to go out and replace you. What this really means is they’re going to have to put together a job description and post it live.
Crafting a job description takes time, and you want to get it right so that you’re attracting the right people. Who knows better what it takes to do your job well than you? So take some time and think through the skills and background that are necessary to jump into the job and excel from day one. And, equally important, think through what projects and tasks make this role vital. Once you know those two things, share them with the hiring manager so that they can craft a description that hits the mark.
No matter how good a job you do at transitioning out of a role, one or two things won’t be covered. Or, more likely, certain documents won’t be found after you leave, or certain processes will be forgotten.
Sure, you could let your teammates flounder and spend hours re-creating the process or hunting down those missing forms. Or you could save them some time and give them a quick way to ask you. What could take them hours to find will take you all of a minute or two to answer.
Oh, and more than likely, if you’ve been a pleasant person to work with, they’ll want to stay in touch with you. Sending them your personal email lets them do just that.