Building Bridges with the Boss

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Landing another position to move on to is always a positive, but some of those green lights you see stretching down your career road should be approached with caution. While you are preparing to move on, tensions can become heightened with your boss. Studies suggest that the person with the most influence on how you will fare in your job is your immediate boss. What these studies don’t show is how much your boss can influence you after you’ve left. When you’re preparing to take another job, it’s important to leave on good terms. Instead of burning your bridges, there are courtesies and approaches to take to minimize the damage and ensure that you have good references.

Stay Professional

Once you’ve found a new job, you may be tempted to tell your old boss what you really think of them. Resist this urge. Your best approach is to take the high road and to remain professional. While you are still employed at your current company you should be performing your job duties at or above expectations. Keep in mind that the last impression your manager has of you will stick in his or her mind. Don’t resort to tactics like backstabbing, excessive gossiping and slacking off on your job duties.

Give Notice

As a courtesy to your current employer, you should give ample notice before you are about to leave your company. Two weeks is common. If you can offer more without trouble, then that’s even better, but you may still be leaving your company in the lurch. Tell your manager that you are willing to offer your assistance with the transition and training of your replacement. When it’s time to train your replacement, take this job seriously. You are grooming someone who will ultimately reflect back on you. You can use your last two weeks to tie up loose ends and to document those things that you know.

Don’t Become a Critic

Chances are you will go through many different interviews before getting a new job. Don’t criticize or speak negatively about your soon-to-be former boss with anybody. Communities tend to be very small, and word could get around that you are a dissatisfied complainer. Badmouthing your boss may feel cathartic in the moment, but it can come back to haunt you.

Test Your References

Have a friend call as a potential employer to find out what your manager says about you. Just because you take the high road doesn't mean everybody will. If references aren't as positive as they should be, try to find other individuals within the company that you can use as a reference instead.

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