Scott McLennan

The time has come, and you are leaving your current job or role, your current contract, and going on to something else. Whether it is by choice, promotion, design, or by circumstance…. Congratulations – a new beginning is upon you.

Change is hard, and humans essentially hate change. It’s an exciting time for you and you have a lot to think about. Most of what you want to think about is your next move, not about where you are now, however with a few simple things you can make sure your transition goes smoothly and the people you leave behind are cared for.

In today’s corporate world, no one really ever knows where our life’s journey will take us and who you will be working with or for. We’ve all seen people leave and start new roles, only to have their new organisation acquired by their old, or they have been so aggressively fighting a competitor that they then through acquisitions have to start selling that product or service. Managing your brand, the way you exit and the lasting impression on others is exceptionally important.

The most important thing you need to focus on is bring your current job, your role or your projects to an ordered close as best as you can. A succinct list of where you are up to, what needs to be completed, who is doing what, where your replacement or replacements can locate items, files etc and a contact list.
Here are some simple, fundamental things that you can manage with grace poise dignity, helping you to create a happy ending.


Sometimes you may have a day, a week, a month or longer to prepare for your move, depending on the circumstances. Aim to complete as much as you can in what ever time you have. Having a plan, and communicating that will help others in your team/s manage the change. If you are moving departments, companies, countries, you may have to work with those on your current team again, so try and maintain good relations with as many as you can.  Here is a simple list of actions for your ‘to do’ list:

  • Bring your projects up to date
    • Finishing everything may simply be impossible, however you can get the latest status update, keeping everyone informed and document as much as you can.
  • Write a report
    • You may have 1 person or even 5 people replacing you. Some maybe eager to jump straight in- other may not be employed yet, or have any resources to take over your projects.
      Document and detail as much about what you do now, what is on for the future, who the key people are, where everything is kept, when are some key milestones or dates happening, and anything else that may be factually pertinent.
      Don’t document your impressions, or your beliefs, keep it factual, clear concise and relevant.
  • It just happens!
    • When you started in your current role what would have made it easier, are there any key contacts or points of reference that you found useful? Help your replacement/s by introducing them to anyone who can help. Holding on to this information isn’t going to help you or anyone in the future – so why not just be nice and help your replacements out.
  • Take a copy with you
    • When you are moving within the same organisation, make sure you take an electronic copy of all the documents you prepared for the old role; including details of where the files are locates, the status of the projects. At some point someone is going to ask you for something, just be prepared to be able to answer efficiently.
  • Help train your replacement
    • If there is a replacement, help train them on the role, of there isn’t – advise someone else in the team who will be expected to answer in your absence.
  • Inform your contacts
    • Let your customers, your clients, your external contacts know when your last day is and who they should contact from that point on. Tell as many people as possible so as they don’t find out by accident. Be in control of your information.
  • Plan for your new role
    • The first 90 days of your new role are crucial so do what you can before you start, without compromising your current role.

Saying Goodbye

For most of us, we spend more time at work, or with colleagues than we do at home or with our friends (sad but true), which often results in our colleagues being our friends. Saying goodbye is difficult to our friends, even if you are not necessarily close with some of your team, you don’t want to say something now, that you may regret later.

Your exit is the best way to ensure the lasting impression your colleagues have of you is your best impression brand has the best lasting impression.

  • Don’t boast
    • So you are leaving, no need to rub it in everyones face. Talking money or position can be seen as crass – so just be considerate
  • Say ‘thank you’
    • You didn’t do everything by yourself, so thank everyone who helped you. Sending a simple handwritten note of thanks will leave a lasting impression, and deliver an honest lasting message that you really mean.
    • You never know where life may take you, so just don’t say mean, nasty or negative things about anyone. Leave a good impression, and don’t make any enemies on your way out.

Key Points

Change is stressful, however there are some simple and effective ways of helping to minimise the stress for everyone involved. Above all – be considerate, be kind, and leave a good impression. Don’t boast, don’t complain, don’t whinge or whine.
Life is short, and you never know where tomorrow will lead you. 
Don’t have regrets!


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