American journalist Helen Rowland said, “A man never knows how to say goodbye; a woman never knows when to say it.” But with the average American projected to hold 5 – 15 jobs in a lifetime, workers of both genders better start improving their exit lines.
Because it matters.
The world is too small, the labor market is too shaky and employment situations are too fluid to risk developing a bad reputation with people you could easily run into again.
You’ll also feel better. Throwing your keys on the desk and storming out the door is a fine dramatic turn, but it won’t help you resolve a bad situation.
For those leaving a dysfunctional organization, remember that if they can’t handle everyday business, they’re likely to be even worse about tougher things, like goodbyes. You’ll have to do it yourself.
Here are some tips for putting the “good” in goodbye:
- Play by the rules. Give notice as required and work well until you leave. It doesn’t matter if they don’t deserve it. You owe it to yourself as a professional to behave that way.
- Be helpful in exit interviews, but not too frank. They’re not always as confidential as claimed.
- Stay away from the supply closet. Enough said.
- Arrange some kind of collegial gathering. If it’s not a lunch or a party, just clink coffee cups in the morning to acknowledge that you’re human beings who spent part of your lives together. Even if you’re really glad it’s over, a social mini-ritual will help you wrap up your experience.
Follow these steps to leave your past behind you without damaging your future.
Do you have any stories of great, or at least memorable, goodbyes at the workplace?
by Danielle Dresden