Do not leave your job without reading this first

Do not leave your job without reading this first

This happened last week. My colleague sat across the table from me. He’d just resigned. “I want to leave with flying colours,” he stated. And then he told me he wanted to depart within a very short time frame, which would leave his business leaderless and seriously destabilise staff and clients.

And it was at that moment that I shared a piece of advice with him from my heart, and from my 30 years of experience in business. I can’t recall where I heard it, and I can’t find it online. I also don’t know whether I am articulating it correctly here. But frankly, it does not matter. It’s magical advice for protecting our reputations, our personal ‘brands’ and ensuring we don’t burn bridges. Here it is.

The making of a person is the manner of their leaving.

It’s as simple as that. The way you leave something, whether a relationship or a job, is going to be the most powerful thing you are remembered for. I know that might seem unfair, but it’s the reality.

You may have been a great colleague, and delivered outstanding results, but leave in a poor fashion, where your colleagues feel let down and puzzled at how you could have done whatever it is you did in leaving, and that is what you will be remembered for. It will over-power all the good you did and the wonderful goodwill equity you built through hard work and commitment. Kapow. Gone.

We must all embrace change, and also take risks. We need to stay uncomfortable and push ourselves to embrace growth. If you are green you grow; if you are ripe you rot. Risk, change, and growth often come from changing jobs or roles. It’s natural and fair to review other opportunities, and sometimes they will provide the new step forward you need. Fair enough.

But think carefully about how to extricate yourself from your current reality and commitments. Make sure you manage the process and the communication with respect, integrity, candour and sensitivity. Pay real attention to the manner of your leaving.

Believe me on this – it is what you will be remembered for. Don’t screw it up.

More reading:

A guide to resignation etiquette
Thinking about resigning? How NOT to do it
How to become the oldest guy in the room
How do you deal with change in the workplace?
When it comes to your career, comfortable isn’t good enough


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