How You Leave a Job Matters

How you leave a job makes a lasting impression with those you worked for and with at the company.  Since you will likely need a reference from that job at some point in the future,  you want to leave on as positive a note as possible.  It is also an amazingly small world these days and you could easily cross paths with those former colleagues in the future.  Best policy is to NEVER burn any bridges.

How do you tell your manager and colleagues you are leaving?

  • Be sure to tell your manager before telling anyone else.  Give your manager the courtesy of letting him/her know first.
  • Be honest without being overly negative or critical.  Tell them a bit about the exciting new opportunity and what you will be doing.  Give them highlights of what caused you to consider other alternatives.
  • Once you have notified your manager, submit an official resignation letter for HR.  State that you are leaving and share the date, not the reasons.
  • If required, schedule a formal exit interview with HR.
  • Thank you manager for the opportunity you have had there and what you have learned.  Ask if he/she would be a reference in the future.
  • Ask how you can best spend your last two weeks – suggest documenting processes and procedures, documenting outstanding projects, training others on the team.
  • Always give at least two weeks notice. If you are higher in the organization and have been there many years, you should give a one month notice.
  • Ask your manager if it is ok to tell your colleagues.
  • When telling your colleagues, stay as positive as possible.  There is little be gained by bashing the manager or the company and it could seriously hurt you in the future.

How should you spend your last two weeks?

  • If your current responsibilities are not already well documented, prepare as much documentation as possible.
  • Compile a list of any outstanding projects or issues.
  • Provide a list of where to find critical files on the computer.
  • Organize and label for your files so others can find what they need easily.
  • Work with your manager to identify any training you need to do with colleagues to provide coverage.
  • Coordinate with your manager how you should notify customers or vendors you work with to ensure that they know who to contact once you leave.
  • Don’t leave any personal items in your desk or your office.  Leave your work space clean and well organized.
  • Participate in an HR exit interview if requested.
  • Clarify how you want to be contacted if there are questions once you leave – home email?  Phone?

What do you do your last day?

  • Ensure that everything above has been completed.
  • Turn in any keys, ID tags, passwords, etc.
  • Update your voicemail and email with appropriate contact information for whoever will be covering.
  • Address any outstanding questions with your manager and colleagues.
  • Graciously say goodbye and thank you for the experience.

Making a Great Impression in Your New Job Search

Starting a new job is the perfect time to make a good impression.  You want the employer to be confident that they made the right decision in hiring you for the position.  The first hundred days in a new job can be one of the most critical times of your career.  Here are some recommendations based on feedback from our employers. Click here to learn more about making a great impression in your new job!

My Boss & I Don’t Get Along

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of


The hiring manager wades through piles of resumes and conducts multiple interviews to find the best candidate for the job.  The candidate researches the company, asks insightful questions during the interviews, and even talks with networking contacts.  In spite of best efforts on both sides of the hiring equation, sometimes things don’t work out as planned.  What is the employee to do if he just doesn’t get along with the boss?


  • If you sense that things just don’t feel right, pay attention to your instincts
  • Pay attention to when things don’t feel right and start keeping a list, review and identify patterns and issues
  • Consider what you think the issue is and what you might do to remedy the situation
  • Honestly assess your fit for the position as well as your strengths and weaknesses
  • If you know you need to better understand how your role fits in the larger mission of the company, identify that and ask for what you need
  • The more specific you can be in what’s missing the better able you will be to address it

Meet With Your Manager

  • Request a meeting with your manager
  • Do not be confrontational but state that you are seeking feedback
  • You want to understand what you are doing well and what you could be doing better
  • Ask about your fit with the team
  • Ask for specific recommendations on how to make things better
  • If it is clear that there is just a personal issue seek further feedback, maybe you have very different work styles which are in conflict
  • If you are able to identify the problem and brainstorm ways to make things better, give it an  honest try and agree to debrief at a future date

Remain Professional

  • Do not bad mouth your boss to everyone else on the team and anyone who will listen
  • Do not let a bad attitude or frustration impact your work performance
  • Be sure to keep notes of discussion and observations


  • If you have tried talking to your manager and things are not getting any better, consider escalating the issue to HR
  • Meet with your HR contact, share your feedback and what you have done to address the issue, brainstorm next steps

Be Willing to Walk Away

  • If there is an irreconcilable difference between you and the boss, be prepared to look for another position, either within the company or outside
  • Even if the problem is the boss, it often takes time to address those issues through proper channels and it may not be worth it for your mental health to hang in there
  • Think about how to explain your change when looking for a new job without speaking ill of the company or the manager
  • Identify references at the company other than your direct manager before you leave so you are prepared in your job search

Manage  Your Stress

  • Dealing with a difficult boss can be extremely stressful
  • Exercise, get your sleep and do whatever you can to manage your stress level

Try to focus on what you are accomplishing or learning at work without  thinking about the negative impact of your manager, focus on the positive

When It’s Time to Leave Your Job

How you depart a job leaves a lasting impression on those you worked for and with.  Since you will likely need a reference from that job at some point in the future, you want to leave on as positive note as possible.  It is also an amazingly small world these days and you could easily cross paths with those former colleagues in the future.

Once you have given your notice, here are some key things to do:

  • If you don’t already have up-to-date documentation on your key responsibilities, prepare it as soon as possible so there is time for someone to review it and ask questions while you are still there.
  • Organize and label your files so others can easily find what they need.
  • Review your key responsibilities with your manager and ask if there is someone you should train on various functions to provide interim coverage.
  • Leave all your work surfaces clean.  Don’t leave personal items in your desk when you leave.
  • Be sure you let key people you interact with on a regular basis know that you are leaving.
  • Turn in keys, ID cards, passwords, etc.
  • Participate in your HR exit interview if requested.  It is a valuable opportunity for them to gather information.
  • Thank your manager as you leave for the experience you had there.
  • Clarify how you want to be contacted if they have questions – home email?  Phone, etc?

Be positive and professional from the moment you give your notice until you walk out the door for the final time.  Your efforts will be rewarded down the road by those you worked with and for as you receive positive references etc in the future.

Do you still have responsibility to that employer?  Yes.  You are still being paid by them until you leave.  It is professional courtesy to honor your commitments to the end and leave things organized and documented for the next person in that position.

Photo Via Google

Handling ‘Gross’ Things Tricky For HR Pros

Photo Via Randy Glasbergen

Do you find your blood pressure rising the second you arrive at your desk because of an annoying co-worker? Read “Handling ‘Gross’ Things Tricky for HR Pros” by Pamela Babcock on different tips to reduce your blood pressure and get back to work. See additional thoughts below:

What gross or annoying things do people have to deal with in the workplace?

  • Body odor
  • Bad breath
  • Swearing
  • Excessively loud voice in the next cubicle
  • Singing at their desk
  • Whistling at their desk
  • Cleaning their fingernails in the office with a pocket knife
  • Clipping their nails in public
  • Telling inappropriate or risqué jokes or stories in mixed company
  • Snorting, burping loudly or other inappropriate bodily noises

What is the annoyed or grossed out employee to do?

  • Best not to have a confrontation with a co-worker
  • First step is to talk to your manager.
  • If possible focus on how the problem is negatively impacting your work productivity instead of just complaining
  • Ask your manager to talk to HR

HR can provide guidance to the manager in dealing with the situation or can be part of the discussion as well.

  • They need to be sensitive to possible medical causes or body odor or bad breath

They need to be very cautious with behaviors that could be considered threatening or harassment

Are you too essential at your job?

The best advice for this situation is to avoid it at all costs.  Early in my career I had a manager who told me his goal was to make himself expendable.  If he got me trained so well that I could handle his job, they would have to find something new for him to do – and they did!  He was a very enlightened manager and progressed well in his career because he always had someone ready to step in and take over his current role.

I also worked for a VP of Finance who constantly reminded staff that any of us could be hit by a bus including him.  His point was that the business would go on without us but that we should have process and procedures documented in case someone else had to step in.

Both true stories.

In reality, there are times that people become so good at what they do that they seem to own it for life.  This inhibits career growth for the individual.  If you are in the situation here are some tips to consider:

  • Let your manager know that you are very interested in taking on new responsibilities.
  • Suggest a plan to train others on the team on what you do so well.
  • Document your process and procedures so you can assist others in learning the job.
  • Develop a plan to phase out gradually so others are learning from you while you do less and less of this work on a daily basis.
  • If your manager is not open to this, remind him that if you were to give your notice tomorrow they would have to find a solution in the next two weeks.  You would prefer to stay with the company and are willing to offer a longer transition period.  Don’t threaten, let them know you want to stay but tactfully  point out the reality.  Or, you could be hit by a bus.
  • Employees should not to penalized for doing their job very well.  They should be given opportunities to grow.
  • Absolutely do not let the quality of your work suffer.  High quality work is your ticket to more responsibility.

See more in the article “Are you too essential at your job?” by Debra Auerbach on The Work Buzz!

Starting a New Job is the Perfect Time to Make a Good Impression

Courtesy of State University of New York

Starting a new job is the perfect time to make a good impression.  You want the employer to be confident that they made the right decision in hiring you for the position.  Here are some recommendations based on feedback from our employers.

  • Be Punctual – This is a way to show you are serious about the job.  You can worry about flexibility later after you have proven yourself.  Always arrive a few minutes before starting time so you are ready and eager to begin your day.  Managers notice when employees are not punctual.  If something comes up and need to ask for some time off, give as much advance notice as possible.  Try to minimize the negative impact on your work deadlines and offer to make up the time if appropriate.  Always be mindful of critical work deadlines.
  • Show Respect – Honor the culture of the organization you have joined and respect those in authority as well as your peers.  Put your cell phone on vibrate and avoid taking personal calls except in an emergency.  Do not use company property for personal reasons – this includes the internet.  Follow the company’s dress code.  Take the lead from your manager.  Don’t gossip or participate in the office rumor mill.
  • Open Communications – Identify your supervisor’s communications style and preferences and work to accommodate that style.  Also identify the style and preferences for your colleagues.  Discuss any concerns you have with your manager.  Provide your supervisor with progress reports.  Avoid surprises – such as a project not completed on deadline.  Let them know in advance if there are issues.  Keep your manager advised of any concerns that could impact results and deadlines.
  • Ask Questions – Do not make assumptions.  You are learning the company and the role.  Ask questions to be sure you understand.  Clarify requests to be sure you understand what you are being asked to do.  Inquire how your work supports the department’s goals and the company’s objectives. 
  • Take Notes – Take notes so you don’t ask the same question again.  Review your notes and apply what you have learned when faced with similar tasks or issues.  Keep a record of your accomplishments – details of projects competed and impact on the organization, skills you developed or enhanced, knowledge you gained.
  • Be Fully Engaged – If possible ask what you can do prior to your start date to learn more about the company, the team and the position.  Do you homework researching the company, competitors, industry etc.  Demonstrate your energy and enthusiasm.  Remain positive.  Show you are hungry for a challenge.  Pay attention to both quality and timeliness of your work.  Look for ways to exceed expectations. 
  • Identify Solutions not Problems – When you encounter problems, try to find possible solutions.  Identify unmet business needs and ways you can help meet them.  When identifying a problem, always offer at least one reasonable solution.
  • Listen – Learn as much as you can by listening to others as they talk about the industry, the company and the department.  Listen carefully to instructions for assignments and clarify as needed.  Pay attention to deadlines, guidelines, and procedures.  Always ask for feedback and think about how you can apply what you learned going forward.  Seek continuous improvement.
  • Earn the Challenging Assignments – Employers don’t give the most challenging project to the rookie in most cases.  Demonstrate with your early assignments that they can count on you to deliver high quality and timely work and you will begin to earn more challenging assignments.
  • Show initiative – Look for ways to exceed expectations.  Identify unmet business needs and determine ways you can help.  Offer to assist a busy colleague with a big project.  Volunteer for a project that needs a home.
  • Be Flexible and Adaptable – Accept all assignments cheerfully and give every assignment your best effort.  Be open minded about new ideas, new procedures and different work.  Anticipate change and embrace it.
  • Curiosity – Ask open ended questions to demonstrate your interest.  Offer ideas and suggestions for possible improvements.  Seek opportunities to learn more about the company and the industry.

The manager hired you instead of all the other candidates because he/she believed you could make a difference on their team.  Show them from day one that they made the right decision.