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A good friend of mine sends me a little desktop calendar every Christmas. You know the type? free-standing with little sheets you peel away to signal the end of another day.It's quite cheesy but sometimes it's thought provoking. One day, I happened to randomly read the daily quote. It has stood me in good stead over the years;

"There are many things I have said but I have never regretted saying nothing"

When we apply for a new job there is anxiety. As we journey through the process, the tension heightens. It requires stamina, nerve and patience. Sooner or later, the decision comes. You got the job, you're excited, you celebrate and then things calm down. The job rolls on for however long its meant to be.

Leaving a job is almost as stressful. Emotions run high at both ends of the spectrum. The problem is, emotions can get out of hand. Worse still, your last words or actions are usually the ones we remember. How you leave your company will say a lot about who you really are. Tread carefully and maybe think about what not to do.

Our famous Irish Scribe, Oscar Wilde, famously said;

"The only thing I can't resist is temptation"

I think he left that gene in many compatriots. It can be fatal to your career prospects. Industries are small and references are more interesting when you go looking for the bits you didn't want a potential employer to hear.

In my career, here are some things I've seen that backfired with spectacular fallout.

Don't Throw Grenades

She was lovely. Always jolly, accessible and fun. She'd been there 10 years and everyone was shocked when she handed in her notice. She was not in the first full flush of youth. The day came for her Goodbye. The night before, there'd been a cheerful little party. It hid a burning fuse.

At 5 pm precisely she began her final tour of the big office, open plan and private rooms. She approached everyone of significance to her last 10 years and launched into each of them with venom and malice. It became a spectacle. Who would she turn on next? Several heard what she really thought and tempers flew. Eventually, her lust satisfied, she exited with the matching door bang. Many years later, we all remember the day. It was not a good impression and its a lasting one.

Don't Throw Verbal Bouquets

He was unpopular because he was a pirate and lazy. When he decided to leave (before being nudged) people were not unhappy. He had dodged hard work and taken credit for others.

His Farewell speech was effusive in praise for the company and all its people. He kept referring to "How happy he was" but everyone knew he hated it.

The only thing people remembered after his departure was that he lied.

Leaving doesn't equal being overpoweringly positive. After all, you just left.

Don't Throw Threats

About the worst thing you can do when leaving a company is to throw threats. Here's what I've heard over the years;

"I'll put you out of business" - They didn't, but they failed.

"I'll destroy your reputation" - That didn't work either, except on themselves

"I'll see you in court" - They never did follow through

"I'll keep in touch" - No they didn't

"I'll recommend you" - No they didn't

"We will definitely work together again" - That's a two way decision

"I'll be back" - No you won't.

Our brand is what people think and feel about us when they are not there. People are no different.

How you leave your company is how I'll think about you after you've gone.

Bouquets don't work, threats don't work and truth always does.

As Mark Twain said;

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything"

©Conor Kenny & Associates


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