Remember your last day of school before graduation, or the day you ORDed? Chances are, you were exhilarated. Don’t worry, those days aren’t over just yet.
If you’ve been dissatisfied with your job for some time now, the awesomeness of the day you hand in your resignation letter will be rivalled only by your last day at work, as you say your goodbyes and smirk to yourself about the fact that you’ll never see those suckers again.
But before you flounce out the door never to return again, make sure you do these four things.
Hand over your work properly
You may never again darken the company’s doors, but life will go on without you. Work will still be done, yes, even the work that you used to do.
If you don’t want your ex-colleagues to hate your guts, make sure you hand over your work like a responsible adult.
Ideally, the handover process should start weeks before you leave. You’ll want to find out who’ll be taking over your existing projects, do all the necessary paperwork and brief the person taking over so he or she will be equipped to continue when you’re gone. Speak with HR to find out what the official procedures are ahead of time.
It can be tempting to just chuck everything aside and leave your soon-to-be-ex-colleagues to pick up the pieces, since your boss will no longer be able to scream at you. Do that, however, and you’ve lost your chances of getting a good reference for future employers.
Keep in contact with your former colleagues and bosses
No matter how crappy your job was, your former colleagues and bosses are valuable contacts for the future, so let bygones be bygones and try to stay in contact with them when you leave.
Many of my friends have gotten jobs thanks to ex-colleagues in their industry, or been hired by former superiors after the latter moved on to different companies, so never discount the value of these connections.
It’s a great idea to at least organise lunch with your colleagues on your last day and exchange contact details. Leaving a thank you note for your boss and anyone who’s helped you in your time at the company is also advisable, so long as the reason you’re leaving isn’t because he or she was abusive.
Back up files on your work computer
Since most of us are now “knowledge economy” workers, it’s safe to say that a great deal of our knowledge on the job is stored in digital form on our computers. Don’t forgot to back up all these files on a thumbdrive before you leave.
If you’re a writer or editor, all those pieces you’ve worked on are now part of your portfolio and it would be a mistake to lose them. If you’re an accountant, lawyer or banker, you’ll want samples of the paperwork you’ve helped to create over the years. If you’re in marketing, you’ll want examples of campaigns you’ve run.
It’s a good idea to start backing up your files weeks in advance, rather than waiting till your last day at work. It can take longer than you think, especially if you’ve been in the company for a while, and you can never discount possibilities like running out of thumb drive space.
Wipe out documents on your computer
You and your work computer have been through a lot. You’ve cussed out your boss to other colleagues via email, surfed Facebook on the sly and googled frivlous topics on that computer. So you want to wipe out all evidence before you leave.
Just make sure you don’t get rid of any files that the company actually needs or you might be in trouble. Most companies will have a shared drive where all work-related documents are supposed to be stored anyway, so you’ll want to ensure everything that should be there is there before you start the cleansing.
There’s lots of information on the internet about how to wipe out the data on your laptop and to what degree this should be done for different sorts of companies, but I think this page here is a pretty good guide. You definitely don’t want to leave traces of those NSFW sites you used to sneak a peek at at work!
Have you ever failed to do any of the above before leaving a job? Tell us what happened in the comments!