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Did you hear about the crazy lady that stabbed her HR rep with a pen while resigning?  This actually happened last week.  Now, it probably goes without saying for MOST people that you shouldn't do that.  But what should you do when leaving your job?  Well, here are some tips to get started so that leaving your job is a positive experience for everybody.

Give Notice

I'm a firm believer that you should offer two weeks notice before leaving your job.  Technically you don't have to, but it shows you're a team player.  You can technically quit and be done that day, but it's just bad form.  Make sure you give proper notice.

Train Your Replacement (Or Document)

Someone will likely have to do your job. This might be a permanent replacement or someone that fills in.  Either way, make sure they know what you do.  If you know the person taking over, sit down with them.  If the company plans on hiring someone after you leave, then write out a document and give it to your manager.

Tell People Respectfully

Chances are you'll want to let your co-workers know what's going on. Make sure you do so respectfully.  And, if your employer asks that you don't tell people, be considerate of that request.

Be A Good Employee

Make sure you're providing value to the company until the end.  If you're staying for two weeks, work for two weeks.  You're going to expect that full paycheck, so give your employer their proper return.  Don't slack off for the last two weeks.  It's disrespectful toward your employer as well as your fellow co-workers.

Clean Things Up

Depending on how long you've been around, you might have a lot to clean up.  Clean your desk.  Make sure your file drawers are cleaned.  Run through your e-mail.  Get things in order.  Just make sure you don't go too far and discard something that will be needed by your replacement.

Give Honest Feedback

When you provide your intention to leave, you'll likely be asked why.  Give honest feedback.  But stay respectful.  For example, if you're leaving for more money, don't say: “You're not paying me enough.”  Instead say, “I got an offer with a salary that I just couldn't pass up.”  Both get the message across, one way more professionally than the other.

Share Contact Information

If you want to stay in touch with co-workers or managers, share contact information.  Run through your LinkedIn contacts and make sure to add people.

Follow Up On HR Issues

Make sure you understand everything that will and won't happen once you leave.  How are your benefits handled? What happens to your retirement accounts? Are you getting paid for unused time off?  HR will give you higher priority before you leave versus afterward.  Have everything handled accordingly.

Turn Everything Over

Make sure you know what you're supposed to have turned over and do so.  Laptops, cell phones, badges and other company items are big ones, but return everything that's expected.

Understand The Money Aspects

Be prepared with how everything will go from a financial perspective.  Will your last paycheck be deposited or sent in the mail?  Are you all caught up on your expense accounts and reimbursements?

Be Gracious

If you're moving to bigger and better things, don't be a jerk about it.  It's not cool.  Plus, you never know for sure how things are going to work out.  You never know when you might need to come back.  Don't burn any bridges.

Thank People

Chances are there are people at your company that have helped you.  Make sure to personally thank them.  They are a part of the reason you're now getting a new opportunity.  Let them know you recognize and appreciate them.

Update Your Resume

Make sure your resume has an updated end date.  Validate your responsibilities.  Make room for what you'll add at your new employer.

Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Since LinkedIn is the online resume spot these days, keep this updated as well.  Note that you left your job and put details for your new employer in your profile.

Say Goodbye With A Smile

When you're riding off into the sunset, make sure the last impression people have is a good one.  Leave with a smile on your face and a wave goodbye.  First impressions matter.  But last impressions make a difference, too.

Readers, do you make an effort to leave jobs on a good note?  Have you ever heard of any horror stories of job exits gone wrong?  Please share in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.