Aim Higher: How to leave your job successfully


Ending is as important as starting

There are books and articles galore about how to start a new position successfully. What to do in your first days, weeks, and months to establish your expertise and make a great initial impression. Less discussed—but no less important—is how to leave a job successfully.



We are not, as a culture, great with departures. We have lots of rituals and activities that help ease people into new situations. Onboarding, orientation, new-hire training. But on the way out? Many organizations (and individuals) seem to want to minimize those conversations or avoid them entirely.

Which is a shame!




As Bart Murphy said, “Once you’ve made a decision that’s good for you and your family, you can have good conversations without emotion. You can do what’s right for everyone.”

I completely agree. And the panel discussed how times of transition can be times of opportunity. If you, as a leader and manager, keep in touch with previous employees and colleagues after they leave? That can be a rich source for knowledge, new networking opportunities, partnerships, recommendations, and references.

One thing everyone in the group agreed on: avoid badmouthing your current employer.

  • Don’t do it to your teammates. They don’t deserve to feel left behind, or like part of your “past mistake.”
  • Don’t do it to your manager or leadership team. It’s a small world. You never know when someone will be part of your professional future.
  • Don’t do it to your new employer. Talking badly about your previous job is a red flag. It can make you seem bitter, and it calls any expertise you gained there into question.

Instead, focus on how you can “build bridges” as you make your move. Not only will you leave on better terms, but you’ll retain more goodwill as you move forward-and that’s a currency you can never have too much of.



We’ve all been told to not “burn bridges” as we leave one job for another. But with the right attitude and planning, you can use this moment to “build bridges,” too. I hope you’ll listen to our discussion. There are some great tips that can help you, and your team, be better at this important, but often under-appreciated, process.




Image Credit: Dustin Tramel

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