Find Your Replacement Before You Quit Your Job
By Corina Manea
By Corina Manea
Pursuing a new career challenge is never easy and now I want you to find your replacement before you quit your job.
Before we go there, though, let’s talk about how much time we invest, dedication we have in building personal and professional relationships, and how we get used to routines, colleagues, and the company.
If you spend more than one year in a company, like it or not, it becomes your second home.
So when you want to make a change, besides your goals, you have to take into account how your departure will affect your colleagues, boss, department, or the company as a whole.
And before you say: What do I care, I’ll leave anyway? Let me remind you the world is pretty small and the business world is even smaller, especially if your move is inside the same industry.
On the other hand, it´s common sense. You want to leave your company on good terms and maintain those relationships it took you a long time to build.
There is a smart way to quit your job and there is a dumb one.
The Smart Way to Quit Your Job
We live in a hyper-connected world, we connect with people thousands of miles away through social media, we sign deals thanks to the Internet, and we find new jobs or business opportunities through social media.
That’s why is important to build and maintain a professional image even when using your social channels for personal stuff.
Gini Dietrich often says, “Though you delete things online, they never actually disappear.”
If you’ve decided you want another challenge, if you want to quit your current job to pursue your dreams, there is a way you can do that without hurting your relationships with your boss and colleagues. You also have to be smart and have a back up plan, in case things don´t work out as you hope.
Burning bridges is almost always a bad idea.
Each country and company has their own regulations and rules.
In Spain, for example, depending on the company and your role, you have to give a minimum of two weeks notice.
The higher the position you’re in, the longer the term required.
Now, a little reality check: In this over-changing world, your new employer might not want to wait that long and choose another candidate after they made you an offer (I’ve seen it happen).
Leave On Good, But Your Own, Terms
The answer might be easier than you think: You have to think like your employer.
What is your employer’s biggest concern?
Not being able to replace you or find someone competent enough in a such short term, but also not being able to distribute your projects among the rest of the team.
Ask yourself this: Is there anything you can do to proactively meet those concerns?
There is a solution for everything; you just have to look for it.
Throughout my career I found that finding a good replacement for yourself is the best tactic to leave a company on your terms.
Find Your Replacement
Look around in your department and find those colleagues interested in your work and daily tasks.
Be open and show them what you do.
Ask your boss to involve them in the projects you run.
And, if you’re in a managerial role, pat yourself on the back because you just got your getaway ticket.
Seriously though, involving your colleagues in your work and sharing insights from daily work is the first step.
Another option is to take new hires “under your wing” and “raise” them, exposing and involving them in your job.
What was that?
Oh yes, it does take time.
It takes time to plan your exit and to train your replacement, but you wouldn’t quit your job without planning, would you?
In my case it took me almost 11 months to train my replacement from the moment I decided I wanted out of the company.
Of course, I couldn’t go around and shout my plans.
What I did instead was to involve the person I chose in my projects and responsibilities as a customer care and events manager and when I knew she was ready I started delegating her tasks of higher responsibility.
That was also the moment when I had a meeting with company’s owner and exposed the facts explaining why the person I chose was good and ready to step in my role. The next day I was closing my affairs with the company leaving on my terms.
It Won’t Burn a Bridge
It’s not as easy as you may think and my intention is not to make you believe it is.
Let me say this: IT IS NOT!
It takes planning, it takes screening, it takes a lot of work, but, in the end, it can work out very well for everybody involved.
If I were to leave you with something it would be this: Think like your employer and find a way to solve their worries about your departure. Make a good plan and start executing.