QUITTING WELL


When I was in college, our football team was ranked in the top 25 nationally and even enjoyed some time as the top-ranked offense in the nation. If you knew who the offensive coordinator was, you wouldn’t be surprised. But my small college was also a stepping stone for coaches. While I was there, I saw multiple coaches come and go as they had success and were offered positions at more prestigious programs. Two coaches, in particular, had very different approaches to leaving their jobs. 


One coach, whom players loved playing for, left well. The other coach did not. The first took the next job, and then AFTER making it official, actually came back and taught the coaches he left behind how to run his (prolific) offense. The other coach literally left in the middle of the night and his players only found out the next day via text message. The first coach went on to win multiple NCAA championships. The second...not sure if he is still actually coaching...


My Strange Reputation


I have developed a strange reputation. I can help people quit jobs.


Maybe a better way to phrase that is that I can help transition someone out of a role so that the impact on the team is minimal and responsibilities are effectively covered and passed on to the next person.


It all started with a job I decided to leave several years ago. When I first came into the job, the first thing I did was to write down and organize everything that was my responsibility. Prior to me, the position didn’t exist and the Executive Director of the organization just had everything in his head. I spent weeks asking him questions and writing down what he told me. Soon, I had a crazy amount of tasks, processes, and systems that I had exercised from his brain. So, when it came time for someone else to take my position, there was a lot to pass on! 


The short story is that I passed it on well. By the time my last week came around, no one needed me! I took that as a sign that I had successfully transitioned my responsibilities. I walked out the door on my last day without the organization feeling like I was betraying them. In fact, a few years later that same organization became one of my first and regular clients! 


Are you preparing to quit your job, but want to make sure you leave well? Here are a few steps you can take to make it happen:


Write It Down


Make a list of all of the things you do for your job. You, as well as your team, might be surprised at how long the list is. Split the list into five different categories:

  • Daily

  • Weekly

  • Monthly

  • Annually

  • Irregularly


Prioritize


After you’ve made your lists, now put the items (still within their categories) in order of priority, from highest to lowest).


Train Your Replacement(s)


Beginning with the highest priority thing on your Daily list, train your replacement on how to do it. Use the following pattern to make sure they can take on the responsibility:

  • I do, you watch

  • I do, you help

  • You do, I help

  • You do, I watch

Pro Tip: Keep It Organized


As I myself have been through this circumstance multiple times, and as I have now led multiple other people through it, I find the best way to make sure nothing falls through the cracks is to keep a spreadsheet. I prefer something like Google Sheets because then it is easy to share with other people in the organization. In the spreadsheet, you can keep each of your lists, due dates, names of people who are taking over your responsibilities, and all necessary passwords or other needed details.


Leaving Right, Leaving the Door Open


You never know where life might take you, or whose path you might one-day cross again. Leaving well is a great way, not only to serve the organization well, but to leave the door open for future opportunities for yourself in the future.