What to Do on Your Last Day at a Job

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Your last day on the job is likely to be a hectic one and—for better or worse—it's probably going to be one full of emotions. Hopefully, by now you've tied up the major details after you've decided to leave your current position (or if you were let go, you've asked all the important questions). If you haven't, be sure to take care of any loose ends before you leave.

Clean out your desk

On the morning of your last day remember to bring in a box or bag to carry out your personal belongings. In the first half of the day check your workspace to be sure you removed any personal items from drawers, filing cabinets, bulletin boards or other storage spaces. Later in the day, give it another look-over—just to be sure you didn't miss anything.

Do a digital cleanup

One thing many people often overlook when they leave their jobs is their digital possessions. Go through your email account, computer and any devices to remove any of your personal documents. Also, you'll want to be sure you don't lose important information.

  •  Forward/delete any personal messages you have on your work email account.

  •  Remove your work email from any e-lists, newsletters and especially personal accounts the email address might be linked to before you lose access to the account.

  •  If you haven't already, alert business and personal contacts you are no longer at the organization and, where appropriate, share a new email address or connect with them on social media.

  •  Put an away message for anyone else who may email the account before it's disabled and direct to a new contact person (do this for voicemail too).

  •  Check your computer's folders for personal documents and transfer these to a thumb drive or email them to yourself.

  • If you have a company phone, clear your personal business off.

  •  Empty your trash bin and clear your browsing history.

If you find outdated personal files or ones you don't need, delete them. It just looks neater after your departure. Additionally, if you clean your digital files, be sure not to delete or take anything work-related that doesn't belong to you.

Attend the exit interview

Many organizations like to meet with soon-to-be-former employers for an exit interview. Even if it doesn't seem important to you, it's a good idea to keep this appointment. Think of it as an opportunity to ask questions (including about your last paycheck, unused paid time off, etc.) and other issues you may not have thought about. You'll probably be asked some questions about your experience working at the organization and will be asked to sign off on some paperwork. Now is also a good opportunity to ask to review your employee file to make sure everything is correct. Employers will also need to collect any ID badges, keys, phones or any other company-issued items during this meeting.

Remember to say goodbye

After you've crossed all your T's and dotted all your I's, be sure to touch base with everyone, especially those people who will be taking over aspects of your job. This way they can ask you questions and/or you can be sure the transition is set. In some cases, it'll be hard to say goodbye to good friends. But even if that's not the case, you'll still want to leave on a positive note. No matter how tempting it might be to tell your boss or a disliked colleague off, don't burn bridges. You never know if and when you'll be working for or with the same people in another capacity. Just be polite, bid your adieus and move on.

The last day on the job might be a time of sadness or a time for celebration, but whatever the case it's important to be sure your ducks are in a row. By taking care of business, you'll be well-positioned to move onto the next exciting chapter of your life. 

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