Bridges… don’t burn ‘em.
When planning your exit, it’s most important to remember that we live and work in a small world. That guy who shares a wall with the printer may someday interview you for your dream job. So resigning on a positive note is vital.
Bridges… build new ones.
Before making your official resignation announcement, consider telling a few key people off the record. Sharing this “secret” demonstrates trust and respect. Even before informing your manager, consider notifying their boss of your departure first. And be sure to exchange personal contact info and communicate your intent to stay in touch.
Weave Your Web
Use your resignation as an opportunity to build your professional network. This is your chance to make nice with enemies and get even closer with friends. Picture all the brightest professionals in your organization as future colleagues, in charge of decisions that will affect your potential progress and success. In other words: plant good seeds!
Boost an Ego or Two
When it comes time to tell your boss, praise them for the impact they had on your professional development and how much you’ve learned from them. Offer to help deal with your departure in any way, including knowledge transfer, project planning or even interviewing your own replacement. This may seem daunting, but not much can be done in two weeks anyway, so it’s more of a good gesture than added work on your end and will leave a lasting impression.
Spic, Span and Deleted.
Clean your desk and drawers, of course. But most importantly, clear your computer of any potential incriminating material that may tarnish your reputation after you’re gone. Some jobs request that you leave well before your two-weeks’ notice is up, so if you anticipate this quick goodbye, scrub your station before making your official announcement.
The Loose Ends
If you’re asked to participate in an exit interview, remember less is more. Don’t be coaxed into unnecessary confessions, no matter how convincing that HR representative’s smile is. In the end, helping your boss do a better job leaves you with zero advantage.
Finally, don’t get wasted at your farewell party … there’s no opportunity to recover from any embarrassment. Instead, leave like a politician after serving a term.