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7/26/2012
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4 Tips On Leaving Your IT Job Gracefully

Take a page from new Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's handbook and ensure a mess-free departure.

Last week, Marissa Mayer, one of Google's top executives, resigned from the search engine giant to become Yahoo's CEO. Mayer's much-publicized resignation happened without a hitch, but not all company departures are quite so seamless. From hurt feelings to hacked systems, parting ways can have a disastrous impact if not handled properly.

Just ask Stephen Faulkner. As president of Cybernut Solutions, an IT services provider in Garland, Texas, Faulkner has seen IT professionals come and go over the years--some more gracefully than others. Faulkner, in fact, left behind a career as a paramedic to enter the technology field.

Faulkner offers these four tips on how IT professionals can leave their job without burning bridges.

1. Honesty is the best policy. If you're about to jump ship, Faulkner said it's always best to be as straightforward and honest as possible. "It's about full disclosure," he said. "Tell your IT manager that you're moving on to a better position with more pay and more responsibility. At least give your current manager a couple of weeks' notice to give the company time to cover your workload as well." Not only will an IT manager appreciate the heads-up, but it might compel him or her to return with a counteroffer to get you to stay.

[ Time for a new career? See 5 Ways To Escape A Career In IT. ]

2. Ensure proper knowledge transfer. Although Cybernut Solutions depends on several CRM systems to track employee-client relations, Faulkner said he always appreciates when a departing employee shares "any insight or problem issues that a client has been experiencing lately." As it is, Faulkner said, "We do a good job of tracking all of our client touchpoints and our documentation is live and updated daily," but any kind of knowledge transfer between an IT professional and his or her manager prior to leaving can earn that individual a strong recommendation. In fact, Faulkner said it's not uncommon for him to ask an IT professional that's about to leave to spend time training a new hire.

3. Stay off social media. IT professionals are known for their social media savvy. "Obviously, everyone is on LinkedIn," said Faulkner. But that's no excuse to tweet about quitting one's job. In fact, Faulkner said Cybernut Solutions "has policies in place" to ensure that employees--past and present--remain discreet when it comes to working for the company. "It's all part of the HR kit we have our IT workers sign when we hire them on," he said.

4. Be ready to relinquish control. An "employment agreement and lists of company assets like a smartphone and notebook with accompanying serial numbers" is how Faulkner makes sure that department employees return their company-issued devices. "Usually we handle that business before an employee's last paycheck," he said. But any step an IT professional can take to ease the process is a step in the right direction. Nor should an IT professional attempt to access a former employer's systems. "We use access-control lists so their accounts will go into expiration as soon as they serve their notice," said Faulkner. Even still, attempting to access proprietary information once you've left a company--even if it's for an entirely honest cause--could raise unnecessary suspicions.

InformationWeek is conducting a survey to determine how IT is perceived in the enterprise. Take our InformationWeek 2012 IT Perception Survey now. Survey ends Aug. 3.

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