You’ve done it. After a lot of thought, consideration, and soul-searching, you’ve decided to put in your notice and leave your admin job. But you can’t check out just yet – you have a lot to do in the next few weeks to ensure that you set your executive, colleagues, and replacement up for success.
Whether you’re leaving because you finally found your dream job or because the toxic environment became too much, it’s important that you act like a professional, and do what you can to make the transition easier for the people you’re leaving behind.
Get Your Procedures in Order
Procedures are part of the legacy you leave behind when you move on to another opportunity. They allow others to perform your duties until a replacement is found and trained, and help your replacement learn the ropes quicker.
I can’t count the times procedures have saved me, whether in a corporate environment or in running my own company. Documenting my procedures was one of the first things I did at every new job I started – because more times than not, there were no established procedures when I began. I made sure to leave my procedures behind each time I moved on, and it really cut down on the time the company spent training my replacements.
Before you leave, take the time to go through your procedures binder one last time. Is everything still relevant? Are there tasks that you still need to document? Is the contact information up to date? This binder will be your replacement’s saving grace from the first time they read through it, so it’s crucial that you make any necessary updates, changes, or revisions.
Time Your Departure Right
Although two weeks’ notice is standard at most organizations, there are times when you may need to push out your departure. You probably won’t be able to tie up every single loose end before you leave, but walking out in the middle of a big project or when the company is already short-staffed makes you look unprofessional.
Give as much notice as possible, and try to leave when things are calm. This may mean you need to spend an extra hour or so each night at the office finishing up paperwork, or stay an extra week because the annual board meeting is coming up and you need to organize it.
Look at things from your replacement’s point of view. If you were them, would you like coming in for your first day to a half-cleared calendar, overdue budget reports, and 10 emails from a client about a project you know nothing about?
Communicate With Your Team
Ideally, your executive or manager will communicate your departure to the rest of the team. However, if they don’t, wait to make the announcement until you get confirmation from management.
Communicate any mission-critical information. Is there a task you just don’t have time to complete? Let them know so it can be handled appropriately. Do you have a customer who needs a follow-up call two weeks after you leave? Make sure someone else has the notes and knows how to proceed. The more knowledge your team has about the duties you’re leaving behind, the more efficiently they’ll be able to handle things.
Meet With Your Replacement
Not every admin gets to meet his or her replacement. Sometimes the job hasn’t been filled by the time you leave; other times, the timing just doesn’t work out. But if you have the opportunity, meeting with your replacement (or even spending a day or two training them) can be extremely helpful to the new hire, your executive, company, and team.
Make the introductions. Give them a tour. Answer any questions they may have. Tell them about the office culture, and give them any helpful inside information about your team and executive. The more information you can give them, the more successful they’ll be.
If you don’t have the opportunity for a meeting, consider adding a welcome letter to your procedures binder conveying all these details. It will help ease their first-day anxiety and make them feel more comfortable.
Change is always a bit scary. Even if you’re leaving to pursue your dream job, it can be bittersweet to say goodbye to the team and executive you’ve known for a while. Set them up for success before you go, and you’ll be the admin everyone appreciates!
Are you preparing to leave your job? How much notice are you going to give, and what are you doing to prepare the rest of the office for your departure? Let us know at AdminSuccess@AllThingsAdmin.com!
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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures.