15 July 2008

The pronouns you use can reveal a lot about where your head is

One of my co-workers told me that I was already using "we" and "us" when referring to my new employer. I am physically still in my current job, but my mind is already on my new one. How do you keep focussed on your current job when you know you are leaving?

Sometimes it has been hard. My mind is already planning the next Board meeting and how I will organize my desk and the filing at the new place. I have also had a lot of visits from my current co-workers as they hear that I am leaving. They want to know about the new job and wish me well. I will miss them, but I have work to do and the time is getting short.

I am very particular about what I leave behind when I leave a job. When the new assistant starts, I want to leave a good impression. I want all my filing to be up to date and my desk to be neat and tidy. I want to tie up any loose ends. I don't want them to be surprised by anything after I am gone.

Here is my list of seven things that should get done before you leave a job.

  1. Filing - We all have filing to do and when you are leaving it is even more important to get it done. You can't expect somebody new to know where to file your old filing. If you have an opportunity, clean up your old files and put them in storage if you no longer need them.

    Update your filing list. I keep a current file list and a closed list. When I move a file to storage I put it on my closed list. You don't want the new person searching the cabinet looking for a file that is no longer there.

  2. Whatever you are putting off ... - If you have any jobs that have been hanging around waiting for you to have a minute to do it, you need to knuckle down and get at it. Do you have expense reports to do or what about paying that invoice? The new person should not have to figure out why they are getting a past-due account.

  3. Meetings - Are you in the middle of planning a meeting? Have you called a few people and are waiting to hear back from them. I keep a meeting scheduling form at my desk. I know exactly where I am at with the meeting planning just by looking at the form. Have that available for the new person so he or she can step in and continue where you left off.

  4. Calendars - The new person will be starting with a fresh calendar. Take anything off your calendar and write it down for them so they can transfer it to their calendar.

  5. Put it on paper - If there is an overlap and you get time with the new person to train and orient them that would be the ideal situation, but that doesn't usually happen. Write down instructions and things you think they will need to know. Give them insights into what your boss's preferences are. Your boss however may take the opportunity to introduce new practices after you are gone. Nothing is cast in stone, but it is a good idea to give the new person a heads up on what they might expect.

  6. Clean out your desk - My desk drawer is a mess. I would never want anyone else to see it. It is my junk drawer with clips and staples and just about anything I might need during the day. Clean up your mess and just leave the basics for the new person. They will want to set up their desk and drawers in their own way.

    When I leave my desk I want it to be fresh and waiting for the new person to make it their home. I always love it when I start a new job. Sitting at my new desk and putting things the way I like them. Making myself at home in my new environment.

  7. Keep in touch - Leave your phone number if you can and tell them to call you if they have a question or just can't find something. It is always good to leave a job on good terms and help to make the transition smooth.

On that note, I am going to bed. I have a busy day tomorrow cleaning up and finishing up and I want to be as well rested as I can be. My motivation to stay focussed will be to prepare the best I can to make the new person feel at home and my bosses to feel confident that I have done everything I needed to do before I leave.

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