Your Past Two Weeks: How to Gracefully Quit Your Job
This is the final stage: you quit your job, and now all that stands between you and another life is two weeks of warning. Use this time to tie the loose ends to the ends and take care of the little details that will help you give up old work and focus on new work.
Make the transition as easy as possible for your boss and colleagues
The ultimate goal is to make a complete rupture without burning bridges or breaking your integrity . Love or hate your company, the worthwhile solution is to try to make the transition smooth for everyone involved.
This is why it is customary ( but not always necessary ) to give you two weeks’ notice of termination so that your employer has enough time to find a replacement for you. Be polite, positive, and concise in your letter of resignation, and if you are leaving in good relations, state the reason why you are leaving.
You can offer help with the transition by training a replacement, recommending people to take on your projects, or writing a job description for your position. It would be helpful to think about what you need to do to prepare the company if you are going on an extended vacation. For example, before taking many months of maternity leave at my last job, I created a guide for management and my colleagues on how to tackle the common IT problems I was responsible for. Your extended vacation is more permanent, but you still don’t want to leave your company in the dark.
Also, check your contract for any instructions on how to notify colleagues and clients that you are leaving, or simply ask your boss. Your contract may have a “no competition” clause that protects the company from stealing customers, especially if you are going to go to a direct competitor. This is a delicate situation, so you’ll want to follow protocol about what you can and cannot say.
Complete important projects
If you’re lucky, two weeks will be enough to complete all the work you have started. However, if this is not the case, prioritize your projects in terms of importance and what you can reasonably complete, and make sure your boss knows everything on your plate that you cannot get to.
However, don’t drive yourself crazy these past two weeks. During this period, you are a lame duck, so now is not the time to start any new innovative plans. Likewise, some workaholic bosses try to take advantage of departing employees by lashing out at extra work. If this happens to you, stand your ground and tell your boss what you can and cannot.
It goes without saying that now is not the time to get upset and spend the rest of your time watching cat videos or calling sick people for days on end.
Clean up your computer and ask for files you may need later
You shouldn’t have personal files and emails stored on your work computer, but it does happen. Whether it’s a rented work laptop or a workstation in the office , clean up and back up your personal data before you permanently lose access to it.
Find pictures, music, videos and personal documents you want to copy or delete. Most IT departments self-clean the computer without going through your personal files to get your laptop ready for the next person to walk in the door. However, if you are worried about something you might leave, at least clear your history, browser bookmarks and cookies with a tool like CCleaner . Before wiping the drive yourself, check with your IT department on the best way to turn on your laptop.
Most companies use awork-for-hire agreement with their employees, which means that any work you do as part of your job belongs to your employer. If there are files you would like to use for your portfolio or save for your records, such as a logo you designed or a presentation you created, ask your boss if you can get copies of examples of your work. They may say no, but if the files do not contain confidential information or trade secrets and if you leave on good terms , they will most likely allow you to do so .
Clear your desk and talk to HR
Don’t forget about your personal belongings at the office. It can help bring several things home each day instead of taking them all at once on the last day.
Someone from Human Resources will likely contact you before you leave to inform you about things like extending your 401k plan, COBRA health insurance benefits , unused vacation pay and sick time, and more . If not, make sure you schedule a time with HR to discuss these and any other concerns you have in relation to ending your job.
You may also be asked to take part in a field interview, so prepare your interview responses well in advance. Lie like hell during your weekend interview, or if you think your input will help the company become a better company, be honest . Just remember why you are leaving and carry on with dignity.
Don’t feel guilty and give yourself a break.
The last two weeks can be bittersweet or excruciating for you if you’ve already stepped out the door. However, on the last day or a couple of days, you may just feel guilty. Don’t . Yes, you are leaving your team and perhaps even your friends, but you can and should keep in touch with them throughout the rest of your career (as long as you get along with them). However, remember that your employer is not your friend , and the company did just fine without you before you joined. They, too, will continue without you.
Enjoy your final days of work with your mates. Spend the last two weeks gracefully, finish what you started, and then try to give yourself a week or so to relax and prepare for your next adventure.