EACE contribution by Kelly Scott, Assistant Director at Northeastern University Career Development
They say that all good things must come to an end. I begin my post this way because I’ve recently accepted a new position as a campus recruiter and I write this on my very last day at Northeastern University Career Development. The move is bittersweet because although it is definitely time to try out something new, I’ve spent many years on this campus growing up- professionally and personally. Tis’ the season in higher education for many people to make moves and it’s within that vein that I lay out my pre and post resignation tips.
- Once you get an offer, tell your manager if you plan on taking it. Once I got an offer, I knew it was time to come clean. There is a lot of debate on whether you should share that information with your supervisor while you’re interviewing or keep it to yourself until you’re ready to drop the bomb. Honestly, I think it will always depend on your specific situation, your relationship with your manager and company culture. Seek out advice from trusted mentors as you try to navigate this.
- Think about when you want your last day to be. When I was offered the position, my new employer initially wanted me to start sooner than later, but emphasized that the start date could be flexible. Although I really wanted to get the ball rolling, I wanted to be respectful of my current employer and to give them enough time to think about how the move forward without me there. Ultimately, we came to a compromise that worked out for all involved.
- Think about how you’re sharing the news with coworkers. This was a tough one for me. I wanted to tell everyone individually, but didn’t make that clear when I started telling my closest co-workers and within one day almost everyone in the department knew I had resigned and some even outside of the department. Looking back, I should have had a better game plan for letting people know. If you want to tell everyone yourself, plan for that in your schedule (people will just drop by to congratulate you and chat, which is awesome, but you end up getting no work done!) and ask people to keep it on the DL until you have a chance to tell everyone.
- Fill out all the paperwork. I forgot how much stuff I had to submit when making a career move. I got a number of emails and phone calls from various people asking me for documents, W-2s and signatures. Make sure you read all of the instructions carefully, ask questions when you don’t understand something and submit everything in a timely manner. I always tried to get everything back to the appropriate party within 24 hours to expedite the process as well as make a good impression on my new employer.
- Help you employer make a game plan. I oversee all of our social media accounts and have developed a pretty hearty process over the last year and a half. To make sure the office felt confident moving forward without me and managing everything at its current pace, I worked with my manager to develop training materials and a check list for the people taking over my position. This is so important- it leaves a good impression on you and helps your former colleagues keep all that you built alive! Also, it is just the right thing to do.
- Get ready for all the meetings. So. Many. Meetings. If you have a lot of responsibilities, then there will be lots of meetings to figure out who is going to take over what. Be patient and try to figure out what everyone’s concern is about dividing up the work, that way you can create materials (see #2) to help ease the transition. Advise on what you think would be the best avenue based on your experience when thinking about diving up workload. Most of the time, it is hard for your coworkers to understand all that you do knowing that they do probably just as much on their own.
- Don’t forget the niceties. I tried to schedule time to have lunch and/or coffee with everyone at Northeastern that was a good friend and colleague. After my going away party, I wrote a relatively lengthy thank you email to everyone in the department and I also wrote my managers and mentors each a hand written note. The little things count just as much as all the awesome stuff you did when you were an employee. Don’t be remembered as the employee who bounced without saying anything.
Whether you’re in the midst of making a move or about to jet off to a cool new thing- I hope these tips make the transition easier. Now off we go or as Dr. Seuss puts it, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
Kelly is Assistant Director at Northeastern University Career Development and “blog master” for the Northeastern University Career Development blog, The Works. A self-proclaimed social media enthusiast and Gen Y, she likes experimenting with new technology to help clients define their personal online brand and enjoys reading and writing about workplace culture. Kelly graduated from Northeastern University with a BA in communication studies and a MS in college student development and counseling. Contact her via Twitter @kellydscott4 or LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/kellykonevichscott/.