In higher ed, like many fields, we spend a lot of time preparing for and going through the job search process. We make lists of what to do in an interview, dream about what we will accomplish in our new position, and study up on our new campus/office. One area that can be easy to forget about when transitioning is the job you’re leaving. Sometimes once that new offer rolls in, it is easy to check out of your current responsibilities or focus more on packing your office and/or house. However, not preparing your co-workers and their new colleague for your departure can be detrimental. Regardless if you’re leaving on a happy note or you can’t wait to move on, it is important to be respectful of the people and position you’re leaving behind. There are some things that are easy to do and don’t take too much time that can make for a smooth transition for whoever will fill your shoes.
1. Organize any upcoming or pending expenses.
One surprise that someone new to a position does not want is expenses that are unaccounted for. If you have things that are pending, planned, or not reflected in your most recent budget report, be sure to leave a paper trail of it!
2. Create an easy-to-use digital file.
We all know that technology can be our best friend and worst enemy. Sometimes our emails and digital access aren’t ready for us during the first few days on the job. Think about creating a Google Drive folder or other cloud-based storage for files and information that the new person will find useful. This way they can still access it via the internet if their campus systems aren’t ready. It takes just a few minutes to upload folders and documents from your hard-drive to a cloud. Those few minutes of your time could make for a much happier and organized first few days for the newbie!
3. Make a contact list of key campus partners.
This may be something the position’s supervisor will cover, but it could be nice for the new staff member to hear from someone with direct experience. Who are the folks on campus that will make their job easier? Is there someone who is better to contact via phone instead of email? Who is that one relationship that you need to start out on a good foot? For example, if the new person works with FYE, should they have coffee with the other faculty who teach FYE? If they are overseeing campus events, leave them a few notes on working with A/V staffers.
4. Share information, not opinions.
Regardless if you had a good or bad experience at the institution you are leaving, do your best to leave only information, not your opinions on things. Let the new person decide for themselves if the job is turning out to be a good fit.
5. If they have questions, who should they call?
Hopefully not Ghostbusters. If you are willing, leave your contact information should they need you. You may have saved something in a folder that only you can track down. While supervisors tend to have a general knowledge of their employees’ responsibilities, they may not know the nitty-gritty. Suggest a student assistant or administrative staff member who will have the 411!
6. Organize paper trails.
While most of us are probably accustomed to keeping electronic copies of everything job-related, there may be some important hard documents the new staff member needs. Take a few minutes to print out budget reports, organize receipts and contracts by date, or ensure you are leaving the correct conduct records or other information vital to their job. Leave it with a trusted colleague or in a safe place that will be accessible to the new person on day one.
7. Remember what it’s like to be new.
All of us have been the “new person” at one point or another in life. Even if this is the first time you are changing jobs, remember how it felt to walk in on day one with that mix of excitement, fear, confidence and/or lack thereof. Do what you can to help the new person taking your role feel comfortable, confident, and prepared!
We hear it time and time again – student affairs is a small field. You might one day find yourself working with someone who filled a position you vacated. Leave a positive impression by trying to be as helpful as possible, so whether you cross paths or not, you are being a good colleague to another awesome #SApro!
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