Last impressions are as important as first and doubly important in the paralegal field where “everyone knows your name.” People talk, and when they’re talking about you, it’s important that the conversation remains positive. Ensure that today’s co-workers become tomorrow’s dependable references and contacts. Here are a few suggestions:
Time to Get Ready, Freddie. . .
1. Know when it’s time to move onto better things: Working for someone is a dating relationship, not a marriage. It’s just the reality of today’s workplace.
Don’t Cause a Storm, Norm . . .
2. Never leave in a huff: No matter how perturbed you are, it’s never a good to walk off a job. The legal community is very small. You are not going to want to burn any bridges.
Upgrade Those Skills, Jill. . .
3. Take a look at your current skills before leaving: Have you been in one job so long that you have failed to familiarize yourself with the three T’s: technology, techniques or tactics? If your skills aren’t current, you may have a long wait between jobs.
Don’t Try to Look Back, Mack. . .
4. Don’t get fooled by counteroffers: Remember why you are leaving. A counteroffer from your firm does not always mitigate other issues. Once you get used to the increase, will other problems cause you to want to leave again? For example, “Is that battle-ax of a supervisor down the hall going to leave soon or not?
Create a Truce, Bruce. . .
5. Mend broken fences: Make peace with any an adversary. Take her aside and mention a few things you enjoyed about working with her. Keep the conversation short. Playing politics here? You betcha. However, it’s better to leave with colleagues sorry to see you go – so much better than that beastly dancing in the hallway the moment you become a mere memory.
Extend Your Hand, Fran. . .
6. Build lasting bridges: Have a close relationship with a coworker? Let him know what you learned from him. So what if you kept getting passed over while he got all the goodies! Get over it. You’re on to a whole new adventure.
Write a Good Plan, Stan. . .
7. Prepare a detailed status memo: Nothing is worse than to leave colleagues confused about what you were doing. Write a detailed memo outlining current matters. Leave in an orderly and organized fashion.
Try to Leave Clean, Dean. . .
8. Leave your desk in order: Return all borrowed books, equipment and whatnot you borrowed from Milton in 1989. Perk up or, what the heck, throw out dead plants. Answer all emails. That last impression is as important as the first.
Respect the Firm, Herm. . .
9. Take only what you are allowed: All the tools that you used such as books, software programs, post-its or coat trees belong to the firm. Do not take anything with you including forms or client files.
Hire a Good Guy, Sy. . .
10. If you are hiring your own replacement: Make certain the person is right for the job. You won’t score any points by being remembered for approving the hire from hell.
Put on Your Tie, Clyde. . .
11. Firm up outside contacts: Use your departure news to reconnect with vendors who can be very helpful. They have inside knowledge of the industry and can be critical to your future success.
Know When to Go, Flo. . .
12. Give proper notice: A no-brainer. You’re a “short-timer”. Anything beyond a month is usually too long – you can start to get on people’s nerves.
Pick Up Your Files, Miles. . .
13. Make certain you know what is in your personnel file: Each state has different laws protecting employees’ rights to access to personnel files. In this day and age of reference reluctance, it is very had to get a firm to commit to anything more than name, rank and serial number. You may need reviews and letters for future job searches.
Have a Good ‘Tude, Dude. . .
14. Maintain a positive and professional attitude: Don’t start coming in late, leaving early or using up personal days because “it no longer matters.” Your attitude could be the final impression your co-workers remember and it’s so much nicer if the memory is pleasant.
And Set Yourself Free.
15. Ace the exit interview: Anticipate questions about the firm and staff. Be prepared to answer why you are leaving and be diplomatic. Although the exit interview may seem like the time to spout off all those things you have been saving up for years, don’t say anything you don’t want repeated. Offering suggestions to improve is one thing but harshly criticizing someone revengefully is quite another. Leaving thoughtfully with an eye toward the future is the only way to go.