Jimmy's blog

How to leave your company

May 25th, 2020

as a good leader and set the remaining team up for success

Research has shown that the way you recall memory is 50% determined by the peak intense point and 50% is determined by the ending [1]. So you might as well get the ending of your tenure at a company right. And let folk remember you as the classy person that you are. I’ve always believed the standard two weeks notice is okay for an individual contributor that has left clear documentation of their work but as a leader you have to start this process a lot earlier. Here’s what I see as a good timeline:

Four months before: have a successor in mind and start grooming this person. Regardless, you should always have trained your team to run without you in case you get hit by a bus.

Two months before: discuss seriously with your boss your own growth potential or whatever the reasons are that you are looking around and be transparent that you are exploring a bit if you have that kind of a relationship. Big if, I know. 

One month before: In the following successive order: tell your manager, discuss with the management team, discuss with your team, announce to the whole company. Ask them not to leak beyond the cluster of people you’re talking to.

Two weeks before: give the official official notice in writing (email) to your boss.

Last week: Give one last lecture. This doesn’t get written about much but I think it might be the most important step. Here you can reiterate why you think it’s important this company exists and that you still believe and why you want the company to succeed. But that for you personally, it was just the right time to pass the torch. In mine, I described the history of the company, tell the new employees some fun stories, lessons learned, give kudos to your successor, and anything else you want the company to know. Leave on a positive note!

Last day: Say your goodbyes but be respectful and don’t be a distraction the whole day long.

One month after: Write a nice blog post on social media on why you left. Keep it positive.  Here’s mine.

Two months after: This is when you can announce your new job. I like to give it some space out of respect for the company you left and I also like to see how things work out at the new company.


If you’re able to time it, leave on a high note when the company is doing well, rather than when there’s a crisis which is when most mice leave the ship. Though at the time one can’t tell whether they are lesser beings or lesser fools.

Edit: I wrote this blog post right after I left Strateos beginning of 2019, before covid struck mid March of 2020. So that last sentence is rather ironic.

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