Consider some key strategies to exiting with grace:
1.) Show professionalism no matter what. Even if you are leaving a situation that may have been dissatisfying at times, demonstrate the highest professionalism throughout the exit process. People will remember if you do not handle the departure professionally and it may come back to haunt you. Treat people with the utmost respect and don’t say anything negative about your leaders. These colleagues are your future network.
2.) Transition responsibly. Create a detailed transition plan and include recommendations on how key pieces of work should be transitioned and in what timeframe. Do not appear like a “short timer” and continue to attend meetings and interact with colleagues. Offer to be available if urgent questions come up even after you have left the company.
3.) Be a class act. Once an announcement or communication is sent about your resignation, you may receive a flurry of emails wishing you well. Respond to every single note with a personal thank you. Be appreciative of colleagues that want to get together with you before you leave or even throw you a going away party.
4.) Finish with style. During your last week, send a positive goodbye note to colleagues thanking them for their support and highlighting others things that you appreciated about the company. Include your contact info or the best way to stay connected such as a professional networking tool like Linkedin.
Making the decision to resign can leave you with mixed emotions. While there is excitement about a new opportunity, there is also sadness about leaving behind colleagues and friends especially if you were a long term employee. Remember, your goal is to preserve relationships, maintain your reputation and exit with grace.