Leaving for greener grass

The company I had been with for the last few years had gotten a little, routine, about how people left. People were terminated or quite and there was absolutely no knowledge transfer of any kind. It was all left to chance (aka. IT will back their stuff up but really only the minimum). So many times, I had struggled after departures to find documents, engage clients and keep business moving. All because people basically said "See ya sucker!" and walked out the door without a thought. That is not the impression I ever wanted to leave when I left a company.

I had to think things through a bit; going through some process:

  • Why was I leaving?

  • Did I not care about my job?

  • Did I not care about those I was leaving behind?

  • What kind of impression did I want to make upon leaving?

Now sure, I could also have said "Peace out, I quit!" and danced through the door. But this process helped me figure out what I did want.

Why was I leaving?

I was leaving the company. I was not leaving because of the workload, the hours or the people. I was leaving because the company's culture and atmosphere had become stagnant and unappreciative of effort. I was putting in 44+ hour work weeks without overtime (per my contract) and being asked to do more and more with less and less for fewer perks, less pay and no recognition. I was allowing myself to be over utilized and under appreciated. But again, by the company - not by my immediate team.

Had I stopped caring?

Could it be that I had stopped caring about the performance of my job or the people I worked with? No. I still came in, even through my notice period and did my very best to complete tasks and avoid handing off incomplete items. I even beat my manager to summing up my role and responsibilities.

What was the last thing I wanted them to remember as I left?

Did I want them to remember me as I remembered the others? Selfish, self-important, uncaring and disorganized? No. I wanted them to remember that I put the attention to detail and effort in, right until I left.

With those questions answered, I knew that I needed to make the transition easier. After writing out my role and responsibilities, I did a quick process document for the most complicated task I handled. I made sure to walk the person who was taking on my work through the most complicated items a few days in advance and then let them run the show while I was still there for them as a resource. I informed key people outside my team and department that I was leaving and looped replacements into meetings and e-mail threads.

Was what I did perfect? No. But it was better than anyone else had done before and it left my team, who I miss, in shape to stumble along instead of leaving them completely crippled and without a clue.

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