The Ultimate Guide for Leaving a Job Stress-Free
Turning in your resignation is only one step in leaving your job. You have many steps ahead until you finally walk out the door.
You may be all too ready to close the chapter from the job that you are leaving. However, you may still be with that job for weeks or months until your final day comes.
It’s tempting to go into “I don’t care” mode after you announced your intentions to leave. But why make your final days uncomfortable for you and everyone around you?
Instead, use this time in between to set your world in order. Collect resources, clear your plate, and prepare for a clean start to a new chapter.
Creating a job exit plan with these goals in mind can help ensure that crossing the bridge from old to new is as seamless and stress-free as possible. Here are a few steps to consider on this journey:
1. Take a Self Inventory
Reconfirm Your Why
You would not have gotten this far into your transition without knowing why you wanted to leave your job. However, in these final days or weeks, you may revisit whether or not you have made the right decision.
Your co-workers ask why you are leaving the job.
Your employer extends a counter-offer to entice you to stay.
Positive interactions with others at your business may cause you to feel nostalgic regarding the better parts of your job.
Next thing that you know you are doubting yourself and your decision! Maybe you didn’t give your current job enough of a chance.
Reconfirming your “why” can help to ensure that you maintain focus on what brought you to the decision to leave.
You chose to leave your job on purpose and with reason.
Your purpose was to improve your life in some way.
Your reason was that you assessed that your current job could not achieve this purpose.
Your re-enforcement of your “why” is a reconfirmation that you made the best decision for yourself.
Affirm regularly why your decision is the right decision.
Be detailed with yourself about why your new job benefits your future while you work to close this chapter of your past.
Monitor Your Stress Levels
Even though you may be very excited about your new opportunity, right now you are planning a move and moving is stressful.
Change has many unpredictable parts that can take you from your day-to-day flow and therefore cause stress.
It is important to attempt to identify stressors and to actively plan ahead to reduce or diminish them altogether.
Be proactive with your manager, co-workers, and other business contacts to ensure that you are meeting their transition needs.
At the same time, be proactive about setting realistic expectations for yourself.
You will not always be able to complete special close-out projects and your normal daily job duties at the same time.
Surprisingly, your last days of work can often be your busiest.
When everyone wants to extract key information from you before you exit you can feel pulled in 1000 directions. Be open and collaborative about creating priorities.
This helps to take the burden off of you while tying up all loose ends for others before you leave.
Professionalism is always key and demonstrates your personal brand well.
But it is also important to respect yourself and your needs too.
Set boundaries that demonstrate respect for your time and your own stress management.
You have resigned for a reason and there is no need to overextend yourself for a job that is no longer part of your future.
2. Prepare for Outside Influence
What People Do You Need on Your Team
Your closest friend and colleagues may have acted as a support team as you worked through finding your new job.
These same trusted partners can also be your resources as you work through leaving your current job.
Many people have undergone the experience of moving from one job to another.
It may be worth exploring others’ past experiences to ensure you leave no stone unturned.
Ask questions of your friends and family about what went well or went wrong when they transitioned their jobs.
They may provide you with advice that you didn’t expect and add to your prep list at a critical time.
Additionally, you may need mental support for the change.
One or two people can make the difference between feeling as if you are traversing the desert alone or having an entire caravan walking the path with you.
Choosing the right ambassadors in support of your change can function as much-needed practical support, planning power, and personal upliftment.
What People Do You Need to Drop From Your Team
When hearing of your pending exit, you may start to feel a change in the air around you.
Inside and outside of work, others may become jealous, resentful, or even dismissive of you.
You have somehow wronged them or the business you work for by striving for your own best interests.
It is normal for others to become overly self-focused on your decision to leave. You are the change, the center of what is stopping normal from being normal.
This is particularly true if it affects them directly in any way.
Those who work with you may feel your absence as their burden, taking on more work or more hours.
If you have done your job well, your absence may signify the loss of a quality resource or dependable partner.
While you cannot change that you are leaving, you can at least empathize with their discomfort. And if you cannot muster empathy, at least be prepared that their reaction may be of impact to you.
In some cases, your co-workers are troubled because you took a step they were not prepared to take.
Changing jobs takes courage, shows self-growth, and promotes the reality that better opportunity exists for those wanting to take them.
You may also remind your co-workers of their own desire to leave. However, unlike you, they are either not able or capable today to make the change.
The thought of you leaving them in the place that they desperately want to leave can be beyond frustrating.
Navigating around others’ misplaced tension toward you can make your final days awkward and uncomfortable.
But don’t let someone else’s triggers trigger you and distract you from your positive mindset.
Remember, someone else’s reaction to your decision to leave is not your fault. And it is not your problem to fix.
While you cannot change others’ personal opinions, you can arm yourself with self-reassurance of your own opinion.
Focus primarily on your intent to do the best for yourself and to be the best toward others.
The more positive interactions that you can participate in with them can help to soften everyone’s experience through the change.
3. Recognize Your Employment Status Change
You may not realize it immediately, but once you turned in your resignation your job changed.
You officially are no longer a normal employee but instead an “exiting employee”.
Exiting [fill in your job title] is now your line of work.
Every position is different so the significance of this change of status may vary from one person to the next. But ultimately there is one common factor.
You now must include in your job duties everything that relates to your exit.
What does this mean in practical terms?
You must be prepared to take the things that you can and lose access to the things that you can’t take with you.
For example, medical, prescription, and vision benefits may end weeks after you exit or on your last day.
You should know if you need to schedule any physicians’ visits before you lose access to benefits.
Supplemental benefits like life insurance, disability, or retirement funds may have special protocols for transferring when you leave.
Also, you may be forced to rollover your 401(k) if you only have a small amount in your retirement account.
Or you may want to rollover your 401(k) but have not done this before. Now is the time to learn how.
The overall point is that there are mechanics involved in leaving a company. You have to de-enroll the same way that you had to enroll when you started.
If you are unable to educate yourself independently on these policies, schedule time with your manager or HR to ensure you are educated before you go.
And don’t believe that everything that happened at your last job or someone else’s applies to your current situation.
Termination rules can change from company to company based on many factors. Check what applies to you directly from your company so that you get the most accurate information.
Packing Your Desk May Mean More Than You Thought
Think about digital or hardcopy materials that are important to you.
Be prepared to inventory what you want to take with you. Always ensure that what you are considering taking does not violate any company policies or signed agreements.
You certainly don’t want to create new problems as you are leaving your job. So be diligent in your audit but also thoughtful about your process.
Documents, checklists, training, or support materials may be needed resources.
You may have written your own procedures that may simplify your work or have learned shortcuts that may be an excellent future reference.
Additionally, be sure to store or confirm co-worker contact information that you may need to connect with in the future.
It is a perfect time to not only update contact information but to reconnect directly if time permits.
Keeping relationships fresh and relevant when you still are with your past employer can make it much more natural when you connect after you leave.
Lastly, a significant thing to consider is the intangible assets from your job.
As you close this chapter, it is an excellent time for reflection.
While your past job is not your current desire, see that it built the bridge to your future.
Your old job was the catalyst inspiring your need for more. It motivated your movement forward.
Respect your past job and its purpose for presence in your life by recognizing its contribution to knowing yourself better.
In this way, your job was not a hindrance or an inconvenience but a stepping stone toward broader insight. It was a gift.
Take this gift, your experiences, and your connections as part of your final steps of transition to your new job.
Feeling Ready to Move Forward to Your Next Chapter?
Remember these steps:
- Take a Self Inventory Remember your “why”, stay focused on your moving forward, and leave a trail of positivity behind you.
- Prepare for Outside Influence Have your cheerleaders by your side and keep your naysayers at arm’s length while you finish your last-tasks checklist.
- Recognize Your Employment Status Change You are officially a different employee. Pack your bags and pack thoroughly. Make sure you educate yourself well on exit policies and collect all the materials and contact info you need.
No matter why you are leaving your job, be sure to take the positive from the experience. It brought you to where you are today.
Because of your old job, you manifested your new job. And you are ready for your new day!
Job exit can be stressful. Use The Best Affirmations for Confidence When Quitting Your Job to help you along your way.
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