How Do You Want To Go Out?

Kathy Rapp Career Advice, Giving Notice, Kathy Rapp

I read an article recently called, “What your burial outfit says about you“.  Evidentially the phrase “bury me in this” on Twitter is a thing. Most of the tweets are selfies taken by 20-somethings nowhere near death, and feature slinky outfits you see at gyms or clubs (or so I’m told…).

The article goes on to describe the shift in death-wear from formal, Sunday-best attire to more casual and statement wear.  Like a football jersey, jeans and slippers.  Why not be comfortable?

It got me thinking about how we go out. How we leave a job, a toxic relationship, or this life.

OK – for the sake of levity, let’s stick to jobs.

Peter Gibbons: So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it.  So that means that every single day you see me, that’s the worst day of my life.

Dr. Swanson:  What about today?  Is today the worst day of your life?

Peter Gibbons:  Yeah.

Dr. Swanson:  Wow, that’s messed up.

We’ve all been taught to never burn a bridge.  What does that really mean?  Does it mean 2 weeks notice?  Or not quitting before you quit?  Taking the high-road even though you want to tell your boss why you despise him?

What does how you leave a job say about you?

There is a ton of bad advice out there about resignations.  I quote, “Tell your boss up front that you’re leaving.  Consider starting with, ‘I offer my resignation effective…'”  You offer what?!?  Really?  Just say you’ve decided to leave and why.

Or – “Prepare your resignation; it can be a brief document that simply thanks to your employer and describes what you learned from them and them give them a full two weeks notice”.  I’m not sure I’d want a letter describing what someone learned from me and simultaneously indicating they’ve learned all there is because they’re leaving in 2 weeks.

And, while I give her creative props, please don’t create “An Interpretive Dance For My Boss Set To Kanye West’s Gone” as an I quit video.

The keys to a professional “see ya” are preparation, delivery and what happens post-delivery.  I prefer the no surprise tactic.  I appreciate people who give me a heads up that they are thinking about making a change.  If I can/want to do something to alter that thinking, great; if not, I’ll let them know that as well.  Then everyone can plan, feel good about the transition and even celebrate contributions and new chapters.

I know that’s not always realistic.  Culture in your organization or even your role (i.e. sales peeps leaving to a competitor) can prevent it.  But even in those situations, you can be conscientious of when you quit.  A busy season, when your boss is in the middle of a crisis, or on the heels of others departing are probably times you should avoid.

Bob Porter:  Looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately.

Peter Gibbons:  I wouldn’t say I’ve been *missing* it, Bob.

Last week I got an email with a video message from Chip and Jo Gaines who are saying adios after Season 5 of “Fixer Upper”.  The video, the blog, the multiple appearances on talk-shows – all orchestrated in the most professional and personal way to say – “thank you and so long for now”.