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Navigating farewell: everything to remember before leaving a job

Published on: 22 Dec 2023

Saying goodbye to a job is a significant milestone in one's career journey. Whether you're leaving for new opportunities, personal reasons, or retirement, the process requires careful consideration and planning.

Navigating farewell

A key aspect of saying goodbye is doing it properly. Departing on good terms not only preserves your professional reputation but also ensures a smooth transition for both you and your colleagues. Here’s some advice on how to navigate this change.


1. Give ample notice


The first and foremost step in leaving a job is to provide sufficient notice to your employer. Standard notice periods vary across industries and positions, but two to four weeks is a common range. However, for higher-level roles or specialised positions, a more extended notice may be expected. Look at the terms of your contract and make sure you let your managers know you are leaving with enough time to prepare.


It’s important that you review your employment contract before giving notice, to make sure that you are complying with any contractual obligations and that you are aware of any non-compete clauses or post-employment restrictions.


2. Communicate effectively


Once you've made the decision to leave, it's essential to communicate your departure to the relevant parties. Schedule a meeting with your immediate supervisor to discuss your decision in person. During this conversation, be clear about your reasons for leaving, express gratitude for the opportunities the job has provided, and outline your commitment to a smooth transition.


A formal resignation letter is a professional way to document your decision to leave. Keep it concise, positive, and focused on the future. Include your intended last working day, express gratitude for the experience gained, and offer assistance during the transition. This letter will become part of your employment record, so maintaining a positive tone is crucial.


3. Tie up loose ends


When you leave, you want to make sure you leave your team as prepared as possible for your absence. Before your departure, take the time to complete pending projects, document any ongoing work, create a transition plan, make necessary introductions and share important information with your colleagues. This proactive approach demonstrates your commitment to leaving your role in good standing and ensures a smooth handover process.


During this transition period, effective collaboration is essential.  Offer to train your colleagues on tasks unique to your role, and make yourself available for questions so that your departure doesn't disrupt the workflow and helps maintain positive relationships with your team members.


4. Exit interview considerations


If your employer conducts exit interviews, approach them with an open mind. Share constructive feedback about your experiences at the company, highlighting both positive aspects and areas for improvement. Take the opportunity as a time to reflect on your experience and share your conclusions. Remember to be tactful and professional in your comments, as the purpose of exit interviews is to facilitate organisational growth.


5. Manage your emotions


Leaving a job can be an emotional experience. It's normal to feel a mix of excitement and apprehension. Take the time to reflect on your journey, appreciate the skills you've acquired, and acknowledge the relationships you've built. While it's essential to stay professional during your departure, expressing gratitude and bidding farewell to colleagues can be a meaningful part of the process.


As you prepare to leave your job, organise your personal and professional belongings. Remove personal items from your workspace, return any company property, and ensure that your digital files are appropriately archived or transferred to relevant team members.


6. Stay Connected


Leaving a job does not necessarily mean you need to cut all contact with your previous colleagues. Before your last day, make sure you schedule time to say goodbye, express your gratitude and gather everyone’s contact details. Remember to maintain the communication in your next enterprise and foster valuable relationships. It’s not all work!