You’ve just waltzed out of your soon-to-be-former boss’s office after successfully giving your two weeks notice. You’ve handled the situation with aplomb and while hopefully putting up a fight to keep you, your current employer accepted the situation with dignity and your final day at work has been set.
Don’t start celebrating yet. There are still several things you should consider before your graceful exit is complete.
1. Go to Human Resources
Take a trip to human resources to tie up some loose ends.
Get copies of any agreements you signed while employed. They may have important information about what benefits are due to you once your employment ends or stipulations about what you can and can’t do once you leave. For instance, you might have signed a non-compete contract that bars you from working for a competitor for a set period of time after you leave.
The HR office will also have information about your 401k and how to roll it over so you can continue to invest in it even after you join another company.
And last, but maybe most important, find out about COBRA for your insurance provider. By law, once you leave a company, your insurance provider has to offer you the ability to extend your current insurance coverage up to a certain time and for a certain fee – usually much more than you were paying through your employer. If you don’t have another job lined up or face some period of time without insurance coverage, this could be important to you.
2. Get Your Work in Order
Remember, even though you’re leaving, all of your colleagues and boss are staying behind. You want them to think well of you once you’re gone. You never know: You could work with them or for them again one day, you might do business with them at some point, or you may want to use them as a reference.
The first step is organizing all the work you have left so that you can finish as much of it as possible before you leave. List all the outstanding projects you have in order of importance and tackle as many of them as you can.
If you leave a huge pile of disorganized, unfinished work for your ex-colleagues, you can be sure they won’t want to do you any favors when the time comes.
3. Get References
Speaking of asking for favors, now is the time to make sure you get references or LinkedIn recommendations from key colleagues. Assuming you’re leaving the job on good terms, get references from your boss, colleagues, subordinates and any key executives who you had prolonged, positive contact with.
When you’re in the office to remind them to do it, it’s easier for them to remember. Once you’ve left, it might be hard to obtain the references and recommendations.
4. Don’t Screw Up Your Exit Interview
You might have the urge to tell human resources what you really think of the company during the exit interview, what you really think about your boss and your colleagues and that one guy who doesn’t do anything but waste space.
Resist this urge at all costs.
You might think you’re doing some good, but really, the only thing you’re doing is harming yourself. It will feel good at the time to vent, but you will regret it the minute it’s over. Summon the maturity and poise to avoid this big mistake.
Since you’re leaving the company, HR may assume that anything you have to say is clouded by that point of view. So, speak well of your colleagues and the firm or human resources will think that you lack maturity and if and when the time comes, you won’t be welcome back at the company.
5. Say Goodbye
Write an email to your co-workers telling them that you loved working with them and you wish them luck in the future. Make sure not to send this email to too many people – you don’t need to tell the CEO goodbye unless you worked directly with him or her. And make sure not to leave anyone important out, as they could feel slighted.
You may want to leave your personal contact information at the bottom of the email. If your co-workers have a sticky work question and want to reach you once you’ve gone, this could be helpful.
Then again, you’ve sewn up your 401k and health benefits, finished up all your work, gotten references and aced the exit interview and you just might want to leave it at that.