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How Not to Burn Career Bridges When Leaving

12 May 12:00 By Vicki-Anne Craigen

Vicki-Anne Craigen Burn Bridges Leaving Job

As your inner Zen, which you worked so hard to attain over your recent annual leave, starts to wear off and the reality of facing another year doing the same old thing is as appealing as sticking a fork in your eye, you’ve decided “I’m outta here!”

Now that you’re brave enough to make the move, your emotions are high and you’re looking for any opportunity to get the heck out of there. You’re sitting at your desk imagining your resignation speech, saying ciao to your team mates and riding off into the sunset...and then whack, bam, slam as your day-dreaming is interrupted by your boss telling you that your productivity is non existent and if they have to ask you again for that report that’s it! Ouch!

How you behave during your final weeks with an employer is what you may well be judged on, by them, forever. The activity you produce, the support you show, the goals you achieve during your final weeks will be your career legacy, so how you want to be remembered ultimately is up to you.

In Australia, reference checking is still an integral part of the recruitment process, and burning bridges is a surefire way to ensure you don't get glowing feedback and halt your future career prospects. You want your current manager / employer to remember you for all the amazing things you achieved, not that you went out in a blaze of glory! With that in mind, here are ten tips on how not to burn career bridges in your final weeks with your employer:


1.  Turn up - every day!

Sure, you have so much sick leave up your sleeve you’d be sitting on a small fortune if it actually was paid out, but don’t be tempted. Your employer will simply feel that you took advantage of them.

2.  Don’t just turn up – turn it on by being the best you can be.

Turning up and being the best you can be will ensure any cloud of negativity around you is non-existent, and it may even make your day go faster.

3.  Deliver, deliver, and keep delivering results.

No matter how you might be feeling, you are still being paid to deliver a result, so why not go out with a bang and deliver something that you can be proud of?

4.  Remain charming, be supportive.

If you’ve always been charming and supportive then remain true to yourself. No-one likes a bitter and twisted, negative, vengeful person, no matter how entitled to those feelings you think you are.

5.  Remain positive with your team mates.

Remember, you’re leaving them behind and doing something new that’s right for you – not necessarily them. For them, staying where they are might be right for them, so be mindful not to bag their choice of employer.

6.  Dress to impress.

Don’t fall into the trap of looking like you’re dressed to go camping because you’ve mentally checked out. Maintain your look, wear what your audience deems acceptable, and maybe even add some color to help make you feel more positive.

7.  Join in.

Saying good morning to the team, asking people what they’ve been up to and generally maintaining rapport is essential during your final weeks. Withdrawing will make you (and those around you) feel awful.

8.  Leave your angst at the door.

Leave your decision for leaving at the door as best you can and pick it up on the way out.

9.  Keep the job searching for after hours.

Nothing is more insulting to a current employer than finding out that you have used paid time to search for a way to leave them. Do this and you can guarantee you’ve burned your career bridges big time!

10.  Remain polite and show your boss good manners.

No matter what you think of your boss, be the bigger person and remain true to your own core values. Show respect for the fact that your boss gave you the opportunity to learn the new skills which have ultimately helped to land your next career move and keep your manners intact.

Have a great week everyone!


Director - Creative Recruiters

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