The Savvy nzgirls’ Guide to: Leaving a Job Successfully

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Jo Mills is the General Manager of Career Analysts, an organisation dedicated to helping individuals and businesses to identify their talent and realise their potential.

She writes a regular column for nzgirl to help you all with your career worries, troubles and questions…

If you’d like to get in touch with Jo you can email her here, or visit

You might be leaving your job for lots of reasons – you have a new role, are starting to study, going on your OE, have had enough of your job or it may just not have worked out as you hoped…
Whatever the reason, how you exit your old job is just as important as how you start a new job! While it might be tempting to slack off during your last few weeks (especially if you dislike your job), it’s important to understand that how you act could haunt you for the rest of your career!
Regardless of how you feel about the company, boss or colleagues that you are leaving, it is in your best interest to leave your job on a positive note.

The one thing you definitely have control of, is how you behave as you exit that business. You should view your notice period as your time to really show your ability to be professional, impress with your work ethic and leave with the best reputation possible. 

How do you want your manager and colleagues to remember you?
Many people feel that if they have done a great job in the past, that they can ‘coast’ in the last few weeks they are working. Doing this can destroy your reputation very quickly, and because it is recent, your behaviour during your notice period will stick in people’s minds.
Try to pretend that you will be returning to that job and those people in a few months. This will help you to treat everyone with respect and courtesy – you want to make sure that if you do return, they’ll be happy to see you!
Plan your handover and complete tasks
What do you want to finish before you go? What do you need to handover to others? Make a list of your regular tasks and talk over with your manager how these should be handled. Figure out what you can do to make the transition of your job tasks easier and make it happen.
The easier you can make it for your boss and the person who fills your shoes, the better you will be viewed. You’ll also be able to leave knowing you have done what you needed to do, and can feel proud of your efforts.
Manage your networks
It’s important to show all those people who helped you out, a little gratitude. Decide who you want to keep in touch with and set up coffee or lunch to thank them for their support and help. Update your address book or contacts list so you can have all the numbers you need. Send emails once you start your new job, letting people know where you are and organise a catch up within about six months to keep the relationship alive.
Make sure you keep professional at work, avoiding gossip or badmouthing people – just because you are leaving doesn’t mean you can tell people what you really think of them! You never know whether that person might be a new prospective client, a future boss or relative of your new manager. Rumours of bad behavior can also follow you to your new role and impact on the opportunities you are given there. You don’t want a bad rep before you’ve even deserved it!
Leave with the best exit possible
How you leave your job is up to you, but remember that it is the last impression this employer will have of you. You may need them to provide you with a reference in the future, or who knows, you may want to work for them again! 
Pull out all the stops, work hard and complete what you can so you can leave with your head held high. After all, it is only for a few weeks!  People will remember how you left and your reputation will be intact. 
Jo Mills

If you would like assistance in making a career change, check out the Career Analysts website or call Career Analysts on 356 9758 for an information pack on career coaching. Or do you want to be a career coach? Join our free newsletter at for more information.

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