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Exit Strategy: 5 Ways to Act with Class on Your Last Day of Work

Exit Strategy: 5 Ways to Act with Class on Your Last Day of Work

No matter how you feel about leaving your job and moving on, there are certain behaviors that will ensure that you exit with class.

Your last day at work can be filled with mixed emotions and transitions. Whether you were a long-term employee or a summer intern, navigating your final moments at work can feel awkward and uncomfortable.

Being respectful means you won’t burn any bridges and keeps the door open for references or future work opportunities.

Try these strategies for handling your last day with character:


Make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone.

You want to leave a lasting impression after you’re gone, one where your co-workers remain impressed with your work ethic and are grateful for the hard work you did.

What you don’t want is for them to be cursing your name when they can’t find your files or can barely move through the monumental mess you left in your office.

Keeping things tidy, organized, and cleaned out before you leave makes it easy for your team to move on after you’ve gone.

Schedule one-on-one time with your boss.

No matter what terms you’re leaving on, it’s important to set some time aside with your supervisor.

Even the busiest boss can spare the time if you ask for a moment alone. Thank them for the opportunity and give them a sincere handshake to wish them the best.

Even under tense circumstances, this small gesture can make a big difference in leaving with your head held high and your reputation intact.

Thank your team members.

Whether you were the team leader or one of many in a group, make the time to give them a genuine thank you for your time together.

Taking your team out for coffee, bringing in donuts to share, or having a farewell lunch are all ways that go the extra mile in showing your co-workers how much you appreciated working with them, not to mention leaving the door open for potential future collaboration.

Leave detailed instructions on important projects.

Your projects may not be your problem anymore, but treat them with respect when you leave and make sure that your successor can complete them in a way that would make you proud.

Leaving everything set up for a takeover makes everyone’s life easier as they adjust to working without you.

Go the extra mile and make sure to leave forwarding contact information in case they can’t figure something out without you.

You have no obligation to your company after you leave, but the fact that you’re willing to be of assistance shows a lot of class.

Exit with a proper goodbye.

It’s tempting to slip out the door at the end of the day and avoid awkward goodbyes, but shaking a few hands and taking a few extra moments before you go shows character and lets you exit your last day without regrets.

You never know which of your colleagues you’ll cross paths with again, so maintaining a professional and respectful attitude, even when you’re off the clock, goes a long way in creating a positive reputation for yourself.

A little good behavior goes a long way in building the kind of lasting impact you want to have in your industry.

Leaving a positive impression when you walk out the door on your last day of work ensures that you’ll be in good standing with everyone at your former company and you can carry that character with you wherever the future takes you.