Leaving Gracefully After a Layoff
If you've been laid off from your job, you may be tempted to vent your frustrations before walking out the door. But keep in mind that your actions can have a deep impact on your career prospects.
For example, you may cross paths with colleagues or managers again, or potential employers may reach out to these individuals during reference checks. Because of this, it's in your best interest to take the high road.
Following are some tips that will help you leave your current position like a professional:
Don't check out prematurely
Once you have been advised of your final day with the company, try to remain an active and engaged employee. Wrap up as many projects as you can, and create a progress report to leave behind for your manager and co-workers that shows the status of each task. Also, consider putting together a brief guide to help your replacement take over the position smoothly. This information can include details about where files are located as well as phone numbers and e-mails for relevant contacts.
Handle the exit interview with grace
If you are asked to participate in an exit interview, take the opportunity to talk constructively about your experience with the company. Many employers take the process very seriously and use it to improve corporate culture as well as employee retention and recruitment strategies. In fact, more than three-quarters of senior executives polled by Robert Half International said they act on information gathered from exit interviews. Do your part to help foster positive change for your former colleagues, and refrain from using the time for personal venting.
Don't burn bridges
Being told you're going to lose your job can be devastating, but try to remain professional. If you've always thought your boss was unqualified for his position, now is not the time to say so. Being diplomatic in every interaction you have with your manager and colleagues before you exit is smart, since these individuals will likely be contacts for future opportunities.
On your last day, take the time to say goodbye to your colleagues, supervisors and subordinates. Smile, shake hands and thank those who gave you support and guidance. Provide your contact information and let people know it's all right to get in touch with you if they have questions about the work you leave behind.
If you don't have a chance to speak to everyone before you leave, consider writing to those with whom you enjoyed working. You might tell a favorite co-worker how much you value his or her input, for example. Reaching out not only enables you to express your appreciation, it also opens the door for establishing a more lasting connection with a person who could become a part of your professional network. Former colleagues may be reluctant to contact you, and this gives them the opportunity to stay in touch.
Making a graceful exit is critical to your long-term career. The business world is surprisingly small, and the chances of encountering a former colleague or supervisor down the road are high. When it's your time leave a post, be sure you do so in such a way that others will remember you as someone with whom they would be happy to work again.