Guru Tips2V3

31 Jul, 2012

Guru Guidance Tips: Moving On Tactfully

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Read time: 1 minute, 39 seconds


The Scenario

The mentee, a marketing coordinator, has decided that the time has come to move to a new firm. Though she is confident in her ability to find a new position, she is curious, when the time comes, how best to make this job transition with class and tact. How should she approach this situation, both internally with co-workers and supervisors, and externally with industry peers and clients? With a seemingly endless queue of proposal deadlines, how can she balance not wanting to inconvenience her current firm with not wanting to announce her departure until she has secured a new position? Would this approach be different for an advanced business developer, with a broad network of contacts and clients?

How to approach the situation

  • Communication is key, even before deciding to leave firm
    • Should discuss frustrations and areas of dissatisfaction with supervisor, during annual reviews or otherwise. A good manager will try to find ways to address these concerns, if possible.
    • If communication has been open and honest all along, the ultimate decision to move on should not come as a surprise
  • After deciding to leave, use discretion and make sure to inform the supervisor first
  • Demonstrate good character and act ethically
    • Be mindful of not sharing sensitive intellectual property as work samples during the interview process
    • Do not let work suffer after announcing departure – the A/E/C community is small and people will remember

Handling the transition

  • Gauge the situation to determine when to share intentions with your supervisor
    • Use your judgment. If relationship has been open, supervisor might appreciate more notice (i.e. once mentee decides definitively to seek a new job, rather than once he or she has already found one). However, more than two or three weeks could be awkward.
    • In some firms, day of resignation is your last day – must be prepared for this
  • Supervisor should determine how and when to communicate the news to clients
  • Though circumstances of leaving can affect ongoing relationships with former co-workers, be professional and never burn bridges

Moving on at an advanced career level

  • More notice is generally expected
  • Even with a large network of personal contacts, must still look to supervisor for direction on how to communicate transition to clients
  • Be careful to adhere to non-compete agreements
Curious about the Guru Guidance Program? Get more info here. This is the third installment in this Guru Guidance Tips Series. Read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.