By Jack Kelly
You received and accepted an offer, negotiated a little, tendered your resignation and declined the counteroffer. The job search process is almost over. There are some simple housekeeping things that you need to do before you finally leave.
Here is your checklist to complete before you head out on your next great adventure.
Inquire if your company has a “garden leave” policy which requires you to stay with the company for a certain defined length of time. The garden leave policy at some companies can prohibit you from starting work at your new firm for up to three months.
This was primarily intended for senior level executives, business-generating and sales types of employees. Making a person remain at the organization or forced to sit on the sidelines is advantageous to the company. If you are in sales, your company can try to stem clients from leaving with you. They can also have you on-call if any problems arise during the transition phase. It puts the brakes on any possible funny business a departing employee will do with internal proprietary information.
If this is the case, you must immediately advise your new employer as they were probably counting on the traditional two-week-notice period. If you inform the new company that you are unable to start within a reasonable time frame they may renege on the offer which will put you in a bad spot. You should always check about any restrictive agreements that you may have signed before you embark upon your job search.
Find out if your current firm will “claw back” money from you. If an employer offered tuition reimbursement, a sign-on bonus or other incentives, they may demand repayment once you leave them. This could turn into a deal-killer. If the amount of money you’re walking away from is too high it will make the job switch seem not as financially lucrative as it was before. It may prod you into remaining or desperately entering into last minute negotiations with the new company to see if they can do something to ameliorate the difference.
Do you hold any stock, options or restricted shares? If your company granted you stock or options there are usually restrictions and lock-up periods associated with these grants. Don’t assume that you will be able to realize the full value of these securities upon your departure. Often times, restricted stock have a three-year or longer vesting periods. Once again, please check for this at the beginning of the search so as not to run into any problems at the five yard line.
Similarly, inquire about the portability of you 401-k account or any other retirement vehicles offered by your current company. Also, check for any potential gaps in insurance coverage.
Remember not to say anything negative on the exit interview. Let them know that everything was fantastic and you had a great learning experience that you’ll be eternally grateful for. Prepare in advance what you will report to HR so that you don’t later say something foolish or incendiary that you will later regret. Leave on good terms and personally thank the people that deserve it to ensure that you’ll receive glowing recommendation in the future.
It’s always nice to leave as a class act. Offer to help your boss find and train a replacement. Let her know that you’ll be available if they have any questions or need some assistance. Recommend someone who may be a right fit for replacing you. Ask for contact numbers and email addresses from colleagues so that you can stay in touch with everyone.
Be prepared for some discomfort and awkwardness during your last two weeks. You won’t be sure what to do. Your boss isn’t giving you assignment as she doesn’t want you to start on things that you can’t finish in the time left. Some employees may see you as a traitor for leaving. Others may feel jealous that you received a better offer with more money and opportunities for advancement. Just play the game. Do whatever work you have left, ignore the haters, hangout with the people you care about, and start planning for your next great job.