Look out! The robots are coming! Seriously, they’re coming! And they want your job!
… OK, phew. Your job is safe now from automation. That was a close one.
But look out! Budget cuts and layoffs are coming! Watch out for falling axes! Your job is in danger!
… OK, you dodged that one. Good. You can relax; your job is safe, you have a good thing going, your boss is great, and — what? Your boss just took a new position in Charlotte and your new boss is the guy down the hall who’s had it in for you since day one?
… Or don’t panic, if you have a solid exit plan.
Any of these scenarios can be disastrous, and depending on your career, any of them could happen to you. That’s why it’s vital to have an exit plan in place before you need one.
How to prepare
Your exit plan should include:
- Having an updated résumé. It should describe your current job, responsibilities, and recent accomplishments.
- Keeping your skills up-to-date. Don’t get complacent because your job only requires you to know version 5 of the software. If version 6 is out, you’d better learn version 6, and mark your calendar for the release of version 7.
- Maintaining contact with your network. You know other people in your field who work for different companies; check in with them every now and then, connect with them on LinkedIn, have lunch to trade news from other corners of the industry. Know the environment, get their take on which way the winds are blowing, and start thinking about which direction you should set sail if the waters get choppy.
You never know when you will need your exit plan; it may sit in the back of your mind for years until you retire according to your own schedule. If so, mazel tov!
But if something unexpected does happen to throw you off course, an exit plan will let you start your new career path from a place of preparedness and control instead of panic and desperation. And that’s the best way to leave one job: with a firm focus on the next one.