5 Smart Things to Do AFTER You Leave a Job

Mar 28, 2014

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Chances are, you are going to have multiple jobs in your lifetime. Recent studies suggest that young people today will have 16 jobs by the time they are 37.  You gave that job your time, your energy, your ideas. That wasn’t just a current paycheck, hopefully it was also an investment for the future. All those former employers are valuable to you–as a reference, as source of deal flow, etc. How do you make the most of a past employer?

Lets assume you left on good terms. My favourite scene in all the Harry Potter movies is when Fred and George set off huge amounts of fireworks and magic in the exam hall. Its their farewell to Hogwarts School. It was their grandiose way of saying, “Peace. Out.” It makes for a wonderful movie scene and fantasy…but not a great model for leaving a job. Hopefully, you gave ample notice, completed all your work (and more), and distributed kind handwritten notes to key colleagues to say thanks. That leaving moment is important. But, even if you messed up your exit, these 5 things can help you maximize that old relationship.

Two years ago, a terrific employee of ours left for a new job in another city. He literally moved two states away. Other employees have left and faded into history, gone and forgotten. And yet, when this guy called saying that his job in Boston was being eliminated, I quickly sprung into action to help him figure out what’s next. Why? Because he is the model former employee. Here are some of the things he does:

1. Send nice notes. When something good happens here, he sends a nice personal note to congratulate that person. He doesn’t over do it. He isn’t a creepy stalker. But a couple of times a year, we hear something kind from him. It lets us know that he is still thinking of us and still cares about our success.

2. Tweet and like. When we post news, we know he will retweet and like it. Those social actions are simple, free, and cheap…and it matters. When he does this, it feels like he is still part of our team.

3. Send beer. Yep. That happened. We were under a lot of stress about a particularly big launch. And then 6 cases of beer arrived. (Good beer.) Yes, free beer is a terrific way to maintain friendships.

4. Send introductions. Over the last two years, he has sent us a handful of good leads. Former employees know your business, your pain points and strengths. Former employees are a good source of deal flow, ideas, and new talent. (A woman who worked here two years ago on our tech team left to be a CTO at a startup. Two weeks ago she introduced us to a terrific engineer…and accepted the job yesterday.)

5. Visit. We see him a couple times a year. He will be in New York and will pop in to say hello or invite me for a coffee. That is how I knew he was waitlisted at a business school where I happen to know a board member…and so I could make that call.

The moral of the story? You invested a lot of time, energy, and passion into a workplace. That investment doesn’t end the day you leave. Your relationship to that company is forever–you are part of their history and that company is part of your work history. So, don’t turn your back on it completely.

Original post from Nancy Lublin – CEO at DoSomething.org