Picture a co-worker who trashes his cubicle, plays practical jokes on his replacement and slinks off with the copier on his last day of work. Is this a person you’d suggest to a potential employer? Or anticipate your company to rehire? Or want to work with once again? Very likely not.
We can only hope that the reported antics surrounding the Clintons’ White House exodus are not true, because bad behavior—from a chief executive, no less—degrades the job experience for the remainder of us.
Once confronted with leaving a job, it’s best to exercise etiquette, whether the move is voluntary or required. To make the most of an awkward predicament, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Keep your mouth closed. Going out of a job (like ending a personal relationship) is strictly a confidential matter; and waving your dirty laundry serves no purpose.Stay cool. Even in the context of a “confidential” exit interview, there’s nothing to gain from burning the soil.Sustain your distance. Requesting support (or fomenting dissent) from your co-workers could possibly develop the impression of a conspiracy or coup d’etat—and unintentionally involve innocent people.Burn bridges at your own risk. The company you left recently may require your services later. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.Sure, it’s easy to be kind when everything’s promising. But it takes an additional dose of character to behave like an adult when the going gets tough. If you’re ever trapped in an abrupt employment shift, try to sustain your poise and take into consideration the outcome of your behaviors.
Workplace tendencies like flexible schedules and casual Fridays may come and go—but good conduct lasts forever.
If not, Shakespeare wouldn’t have written, “A person is remembered for his entrances and exits.”