Congratulations -- you’ve finally managed to get away from your crappy job and to move on to greener pastures. Landing that new job can be a great weight of your mind -- no longer do you need to endure that stupid boss, his equally-stupid followers, or the grueling day-to-day tasks that set your mind to thoughts of career suicide. But even while you’re looking forward to that new chapter in your life, you have to make an effort to avoid the douche-baggery that can ensue when you fail to take your leaving the company seriously.
Even if you worked hard all throughout your tenure at your current job and held back on every inclination to tell the boss where to stick it, these last moments on the job could be your undoing if you don’t play your cards right. If you allow yourself to slide or you commit some other serious workplace sins, you’ll be remembered as “that guy,” and all the hard work you’ve done in the past will be quickly forgotten.
So with that, here are the ways to not be remembered as a douchebag when you change jobs.
1. Tell Your Boss First
Once you know you’re leaving, give your boss -- even if you can’t stand the sight of her for even one more moment -- the notice, in writing and in person, before you go off and start telling your co-workers. It’s extremely douche-y to announce your departure to the rest of the world before your boss has a chance to process it.
2. Give Your Two Weeks
And speaking of informing your boss, you’d better be prepared to give the standard two weeks’ notice that you’re leaving. While it’s true that your departure is often a boss’ opportunity to let his douche colors fly and to tell you that you should clean out your desk immediately, not all bosses are that bad. A lot of them actually need you to be there to mop up your projects and to hand them off to the person who’s taking your place. And if you’re really trying to leave a good final impression, you should even offer to train that new person, or even give longer than two weeks notice if need be. If you’re in a complicated job, there’s an even greater chance that you’ll need to stick around longer. Don’t worry. The end is in sight.
3. Don't Slack
In that two weeks that you have left, it may take every fiber of your being to bring your best to work. You might feel like whisking in late, leaving projects for others to deal with, or worse, even giving that always-rude customer a piece of your mind. But take heed, dear short timer: Your co-workers and bosses will be taking notice of your activities. Try your best to continue to do good work, right up to the last day.
4. Don't Steal Office Supplies
Since the other people in your workplace will indeed be paying attention to your activities during your final time on the job, now is a decidedly bad time to start stealing office supplies. Sure, you might really think you deserve that rainbow set of permanent markers or that ream of high-quality paper to print your future resumes, but if it means that you’ll be pegged as a thief after a long, honorable time of service to the company, it’s really not worth the trouble. That pack of rainbow markers cost a few bucks at the office supply store. Go get your own.
5. Don't Unfriend Your Work Buddies
Sure, you may only hang out with certain people because you work in close proximity to one another, but you don’t have to be so overt about your disdain for them. You are focused on new beginnings and a new life, but would it really hurt you that bad to keep your old work friends on your social media profiles for just a little bit longer? Start unfriending your work friends now and you’re sure to raise some ire among them. Instead of casting them out right away, wait a few months. By then there’s a very good chance they’re not going to care anymore whether you like them or not, and chances are also good that they’ll have found another buddy with whom to hit the neighborhood happy hour after work.
6. Don't Talk Smack About the Boss
This is a good rule of thumb whether you’re still on the job or not: Avoid talking bad about the boss. Yes, that boss may put any indication of your douchebaggery to shame, but telling the world about it is not going to help your reputation. For one, that boss is at a higher level than you, and with that comes the ability to call in a favor among his friends in the industry, and to ensure that you don’t work in this town again. It’s not just a cliche’ -- it can really happen. If you really must unload about the boss’ methods, his personality or his piss-poor discipline strategy, do it in the comfort of your own home -- either with friends who have nothing to do with that industry, or with your spouse whose job it is to listen to your woes.
7. Don't Bag on the Old Job
Likewise, don’t spend your last days in the old job talking about how much you hate it there. Your co-workers don’t need yet another reminder about how annoying this person is or how poor the workflow is or any of it. If things are that bad, there’s a good chance that those co-workers are working to get out too. Upset them enough and they may just be your competitors when you’re trying to land that new job.
8. Don't Talk too Much About the New Job
Speaking of not bagging on the old job, don’t provide too much detail about your new job either. It’s partly for the same reason; your co-workers don’t need another reminder about how much their current situation sucks. It could also light a fire under them and turn them into competitors for the new job. What’s more, you’ll sound like a douche-y braggart, and nobody likes working with one of those.
9. Leave Your Space Tidy
It might seem like a small thing, but taking the time to clean up your space can help to spread goodwill among your former co-workers. Remember the horrible roommate you had back in college, who left his junk in his room and didn’t come back for it? You might not have all the household goods that your crappy roommate had, but still, your colleagues shouldn’t have to clean up after you. Even if you’re not getting paid for it, take the time to shred any sensitive documents you no longer need, to recycle all old paperwork, and to give away any office doodads that you no longer want. That last step could be an act of goodwill that may even get you remembered in a positive way when you finally walk out the door for the last time.
10. Say Goodbye
How many co-workers have you had who have simply been there one day and then gone the next? When it comes to networking -- and avoiding being a douchebag -- that’s not the way to go. The first point: You never know when that co-worker of yours is going to launch his own startup and need workers just like you, so giving people a way to get in touch with you is always a good thing. The second: It’s always good to get some closure and to give closure to others.
For a more formal closure, start with thank you notes given to your closest colleagues and clients. Thank them for the great years and provide your phone number or personal email address in case the person wants to get in touch. People need to know you care about them and that you’re willing to continue fostering a relationship. Without that formal goodbye, a lot of people will write you off as an uncaring douchebag.
See Also: What Not To Do When Leaving A Job If you’re about to leave a job and you’re feeling like you need to hit the ground running with no care for the bridges you burn, you’re making a very big mistake. Even if you’re leaving your job for a totally different industry, people talk. Show some restraint and continue to stay on your best behavior throughout this process, and you’ll be doing you and your colleagues a big favor. If your co-workers plan you an impromptu goodbye party on your last day, then you’ll know that you’ve stayed in their good graces and have avoided being that dreaded douchebag, right up to the very last day.