Leaving your Company Without Burning your Bridges – Salim Al Reyami Oman


We are delighted to publish an excellent article on leaving your company, first printed in the Oman Observer and written by Salim al Reyami.  HR Advisor Gulf International Pipe Industry LLC.

I always remember a friend leaving a government position here in the UAE,  and thinking she was leaving to live happily ever after in another land, ( and that’s another story) she thought it fitting to tell her boss and colleagues exactly what she thought of the organisation and what in her opinion needed to be done to improve it. Fast forward a few months, her happily ever after dream came to an end, and with it her chance to ever be employed here again. She took time out to upgrade her qualifications with an MA; but after many successful interviews and offers over a number of years, she found out that in the space in between taken to check records and references, she stalled. So, as this article suggests it has always been my belief to leave in grace.

Many of us, at least once in our life, go through a full work cycle in our career.  The cycle starts with getting a job offer, start your job, then passing through the honeymoon stage, adapting stage and finally departing the ‘house’. It is the end part of the cycle that I wish to explore in my present article –Leaving your employer without ‘burning your bridge’ with them – How to resign, yet maintain a sound relationship and a good reputation with your company?! Is this difficult..I do not think so, OR what do you think?

This is not an invitation to resign! but something that you should be aware of. Remember…What goes around comes around.

Please read my article  below and enjoy!

Are you familiar with the phrase “What goes around comes around?”. You meet the same people on the way up as you do on the way down. The world is a small place and your reputation and network are precious. Okay, you have found a new job, congratulations! Now comes the hard part — delivering the news to your manager and executives. It is quite common that when someone leaves a company for another there are hard feelings no matter how delicately they try to balance the transition. Oftentimes, managers feel “betrayed” when you are leaving the company, and this can lead to awkward moments during the notice period. How does one leave a job without burning the bridge or how do you leave a company and maintain your good relationship with your managers, peers and other colleagues?
Why and how you burn your bridge with your employer?
Before I answer the above question, I would like to explain why bridge burning takes place and what kind of ‘inflammatory’ shapes it takes! In most cases, people who decide to burn their bridge with their employer are mainly exploited in their workplace. They usually feel humiliated, disrespected and treated unfairly. They are under the belief that they are in a ‘toxic’ environment, and work for a bad employer. These people think they have a strong rationale to react aggressively against their employer. They may spread gossip about employers or peers, confront people in an aggressive or unproductive way, and even cross the line into criminal activity through vandalism, sabotage or assault.
The six golden rules
I would like to suggest six rules that will help avoid burning the bridge and help to maintain your reputation when you pass out of the door!
Rule No 1: Keep a low profile, yet be a professional: The last thing to do is to spread the news of your resignation ‘all over the world’ through Facebook or LinkedIn before informing your manager about it. This is not the way to break the news to your manager. The right way is to take the time to hand-deliver your letter of resignation to your management, and keep it behind ‘closed door’. Come prepared to address their immediate concerns about your transition and pending work. This small but important task will go a long way in leaving a favourable impression with your former employer.
Rule No 2: Bullet-point your accomplishments: Before you leave, it is a good idea to call the management team and executives for a brief presentation, or create a summarised report about your positive contribution. By showing how much you achieved you will leave a better taste in the mouth of the managers by reminding them that you were a good employee and brought something to the table. You may even go further, by giving suggestions on the way ahead and challenges that the company might tackle. Who knows? The company may suddenly decide not to let you slip away and provide a counter-offer. You ought to be prepared for this possibility, but do not be disappointed if it does not happen.
Rule No 3: Stay focused and do not be a ‘slacker’: Indeed, you may get excited that you have a new job and a new challenge ahead, but do not get overexcited. Do not let this excitement make you feel that ‘it’s a school summer holiday’ and the next weeks remaining are for fun! Keep putting in your 100 per cent effort and do not be a slacker.
Rule No 4: Wrap up your work: Finish whatever projects or assignments you have on hand. Make sure that you undergo a proper handover process before you leave the ‘house’. What you want to do is to create a situation where your team or the person who is taking over is aware and can cope with the projects on the pipeline. You need to tidy up loose ends. Remember it is about your reputation!
Rule No 5: Be constructive and honest in an exit interview: Do not use the exit interview meeting as an arena for revenge. Be honest, constructive and polite in your answers and feedback for the questions asked during the interview. Do not put emotions on the table, be objective. Constructive and honest feedback will make your employer respect you, value your input and help maintain your reputation, accordingly.
Rule No 6: Say thank you to everyone: Jot down a farewell note on your last day of work to thank your managers, peers and colleagues for their support during your service in the company. This ‘class act’ may leave a good impression on the people you worked with. Be genuine and let go of any misunderstandings and hostilities that may have occurred in the workplace. Consider mentioning your email or phone number to be in touch with your colleagues in the future.
Bottom line
If you consider quitting your job, you should walk out with dignity, respect and a good reputation. Do not burn your bridge with your employer. Bridges are not constructed on a one-way street that you take for granted and see in your rear view mirror. Bridges are often returned to for good back-ups and support!

Please leave your  comments below for Salim

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