A new job offer is on the table, and with it, new opportunities, a fresh start and an opportunity to be happier at work. When you plan for your transition, don't forget to put the following on your "to do" list.
Before You Give Notice
1. Get your new job offer in writing. This should be a given, but sometimes people who are anxious to leave their job give notice a little early. Even though a company can still renege on a written offer, having things in writing means that you know exactly what terms you should expect in the new job.
2. Finalize any pre-employment testing. Some companies require drug tests or have other types of requirements before onboarding employees. Ideally, you'll be able to pass these with flying colors before giving notice at your current employer.
3. Think things through and make sure you make the right choice. Ask yourself: "Is the new job offer worth it?" Don't leave a job for bad reasons. Make a list of pros and cons. Identify if you'll have new challenges that you are not prepared to handle. For example, a much longer commute could affect your life in ways you haven't considered. If the new job involves a lot more travel, you may tire of it quickly. Conduct some due diligence to help decide on the risks and rewards. No job is perfect, but you'll want to make sure you're not jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
4. Prepare for negative reactions when you say you're leaving. Don't expect everyone to be happy for you. If you're a good employee, your departure will cause more work and possibly longer hours for those left behind. Maintain a positive outlook even if your colleagues don't seem happy for you.
5. Understand your organization's culture regarding "notice." In some organizations and fields, when you give notice, you're escorted by security to the door and you receive your personal items in the mail. If that's the norm, be prepared in advance. You may want to remove your important personal items before handing in your resignation.
After You Give Notice
6. Don't burn bridges. Especially if you're leaving a bad situation, it's tempting to throw caution to the wind and run out the door without looking back. However, keep in mind, in our constantly evolving workplaces, it's as likely that you'll wind up working with or for the people in your current office at some point. Behave as if you'll be working with these colleagues again in the future and you won't be sorry later.
7. Manage financial and retirements accounts and make plans for your health insurance if necessary. Depending on your employer, you may be able to leave retirement or pension plans in place, or you may need to make plans to set up new accounts. If you'll need interim health insurance or COBRA, make sure you understand the administrative details you'll need to handle to make sure you don't leave yourself without coverage.
8. Communicate your news personally. Be mindful that your news probably affects a lot of other people. When possible, it's nice to communicate directly with everyone your departure impacts. While a mass email gets the job done, it's a thoughtful, personal touch to meet or have a phone conversation with people to let them know about your plans. This can help smooth over any negative feelings and it also allows people to wish you well.
9. Create mechanisms to keep in touch. Social media makes it very easy to keep connected with past colleagues. While you may have neglected to connect on LinkedIn with your colleagues, now is the time to forge those online links, before you forget and lose track of people. Be sure your LinkedIn profile and other online networks use your personal email address, not your work contact information.
10. Learn from the past and move on. This is important advice whether or not you've had a bad experience in your current job. A new position is an opportunity to do things differently. It's a fresh start and a chance to take any lessons from your past job and apply them to your next career move.
More from Miriam Salpeter
How to tell you're working in a toxic office
Secrets to a slam-dunk interview
Bad reasons to leave your job