And now, the end is near…

Pack your bags and stuff that memory stickUnlike our forebears, who joined local government in the knowledge that they would probably not leave until they were handed their golden carriage clock and a retirement card, those of us around today have to accept a slightly different situation. Our jobs are slightly more transient, with individuals more likely to move about within and between organisations far more frequently.

This is rarely a simple or straightforward task, and one which few if any training courses can prepare you for. So, as it’s Friday, we thought we would present the We Love Local Government guide to things to do when you leave your job. Of course, additional suggestions are always welcomed in the comments or on Twitter (@welovelocalgov by the way).

1. Raid the shared drive

Over the course of our jobs we write a lot of stuff that’s useless. Reports (with at least a dozen draft versions), photos from events, spreadsheets and random notes fill shared drives all over the country; however, hidden amongst all of this place specific information are some real gems.

These can be pieces of work which you are proud of, useful spreadhseets with brilliant formulas embedded, templates, strategies, policies, research and findings reports or amazing diagrams. They might be whole folders or they might be a single text file, but make sure that you take with you things which might just help you in your new job (whether or not you are going straight into it).

A word of warning of course; don’t take any confidential or sensitive information as this can lead to real problems (and is probably useless as well). Technically taking anything away with you might be against many policies, but who is really going to be upset if you copy a letter template you are particularly proud of?!

2. Trawl your inbox

Despite ICT constantly telling us otherwise, many people don’t delete every single e-mail message as soon as it is dealt with, resulting in two things; an inbox which is crammed full and needs you to delete before you can send, and a veritible gold-mine of information.

Whilst you can safely ignore all of the forwarded pictures of cats with moustaches and one word messages, take a look for messages with files attached which you always meant to copy to the shared drive but never did, or which contain some very useful information.

You can copy and paste these in the same way as other files by the way, just drag and drop them onto a memory stick (just be sure to rename them so you don’t forget what it contains). And while we are looking at Outlook…

3. Remember your contacts

It’s taken you years to build up the modern version of a rolodex, with contact information at your fingertips for individuals and organisations entirely relevant to your work. Why then would you leave them behind, meaning you have to rebuild slowly and manually copy over whatever numbers are in your mobile?

Make sure you copy over your contact information with you, and don’t forget to take a second look at your inbox. If you are anything like us, you will have plenty of e-mails from very useful people but won’t have added them to your contact list; do it now or you might never speak with them again. And on that note…

4. e-mail people to tell them you are off

The traditional leaving speech in the office is a time to tell those who you have worked closely with how great it’s been and how much you’ll miss them all. But in this modern age of technilogy and e-communications there are plenty of people we work with who we don’t see very often. In fact, they needn’t be in the same building, organisation or even country.

As soon as you have a leaving date confirmed send a message around to those who know you to tell them you are leaving. It needn’t be long or full of sickly-sweet recollections, and should let people know you are moving on, perhaps where to, and how to stay in contact. You may be surprised at some of the people who then get in touch and the opportunities which may arise, and it also gives you a chance to…

5. Drop hints about what you want for a leaving present

Everyone looks shocked when they get given one. Everyone tells colleagues that they shouldn’t have. Everyone then secretly gets annoyed that their gift is useless and something they would never have asked for.

Let’s face it, most people who leave end up getting a little something even if it’s only a card signed by a couple of people they don’t really like and a book voucher. Whilst you don’t have to circle things in a magazine and leave it on the desk for all to see, it’s worth telling at least one person who you like what sort of things you are interested in, even if only generally. If nothing else, at least it means you never have to ask if they kept the receipt. And talking about giving things back…

6. Hand in all of your council property.

You’ve left the building, started a new job and are making a fresh start; the last thing you want to have to do is trek back over to your old workplace to hand in your blackberry charger. And then go back again to hand in your ID badge. And then go back again to hand in your parking permit.

Some might be tempted to keep things just in case they pop back, but ask yourself if you’ll ever actually want to go back, and if you do how much do you need to be able to get past security by flashing your out of date badge? Will it really save that much time and energy?! There are some things you might miss about your workplace but probably few that will drag you back through choice – especially not the food; or will it…

7. Enjoy your surroundings

For the past three years you might have been complaining about the lack of quality dining establishments in the area, how there are only a few cafes, sandwich shops, restaurants, deli’s and bars within ten minutes walk and how you’d prefer it if there was a few more to choose from.

It’s only when you leave that you realise just how good you had it. Take a walk to some places you’ve not eaten at for a while, have lunch with friends at somewhere you’ve all complained about before and soak up all of the atmosphere, memories and grease that you can. You’ll definitely miss it when it’s gone! And finally, mentioning memories…

8. Time for reflection

Take a look back at your time where you are and remember all of the things that have happened. Take a look at some of your achievements, and forget some of the failures. Remember the laughs and good times, and smile at the many WTF?! moments (and there certainly will have been many!). Think of all you have learned and the amount of people you have encountered along the way.

That way you’ll find it easier to write a blog post about some of them and pop them in the post to us at!

Welovelocalgovernment is a blog written by UK local government officers. If you have a piece you’d like to submit or any comments you’d like to make please drop us a line

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2 Comments on “And now, the end is near…”

  1. Tom Phillips Says:

    Been there, done this, last Friday!

    Amazing how anxious some organisations or managers can be. I was also asked to shred all of my personal business cards. Mind you, other than as bookmarks, I’d have had no use for them.

    I also put a (permanently) “Out of Office” message on my e-mail, only to find that it will disappear as soon as they close my account down. It is therefore almost inevitable that some people are not going to know you’ve gone and/or will just assume your lack of reply to be discourtesy. You’ll have to live with it, as will they, unless or until they find another way in, and discover you’re no longer there. If you are being made redundant, or leaving in a big reorganisation, this may be an issue, as there won’t necessarily be anyone filling your shoes after you leave.

    I gave my close colleagues a note of what I was planning to do next, and how they could contact me. As there will be people I am glad to lose contact with (sorry, but that is a fact of life), I didn’t spread this about like confetti. Don’t forget that your leaving can be as hard for close colleagues (or harder) than it is for you, and maintaining contact will be good for you.

    As you walk out of the door, don’t forget to take a very symbolic breath of “free air”, and don’t, whatever else you do, look back over your shoulder as you walk away.

  2. Jules Says:

    What about the leaving speech? How mad can you go?

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