Employee turnover in the higher education industry is not a new concept. As I approach my last few weeks at the University of Rochester before moving on with my career at a different institution, I have prioritized leaving my current position positively. I should point out that I am not exiting my current role or the University because of any negative experiences. I enjoyed my time with my colleagues, and I want to see my department continue to be successful, so I wanted to take the necessary steps to leave on good terms.
Before I accepted my new position, I started the process by being transparent and open with my supervisor. I wanted him to know that I cared about our department, and I valued his guidance about the opportunity at hand. We were able to have open and frank discussions about what the new position could do for my career. We also discussed where I should look for support and resources to succeed if I take the role. Once I decided to accept the new job officially, I again went to my supervisor for guidance about when and how we could share the news publicly and to whom I should direct questions about the transition. I wanted my colleagues to be looped into the process so they knew about my departure before external peers and colleagues.
I also made it a priority to have a reasonable timeline for my departure. Like most University of Rochester employees, I’m required to give four weeks’ notice; however, that timeline placed me at the start of May and one of the busiest times of year for a University. Fortunately, I was able to work with my new employer to have my start date extended by two weeks. With this extended time, I could adequately help my office through the chaotic days of the Spring semester ending, the Board of Trustees Meeting, and the upcoming Commencement ceremony.
During my last few weeks, I have focused heavily on connecting with my team and supervisor to help coordinate my departure arrangements. This focus gave my department proper time to develop transition plans and for myself to finish an array of items – committee work, goal-planning, and outstanding commitments. One significant component of planning my transition away from the University was developing comprehensive continuity materials. Within these documents, I listed my day-to-day responsibilities, long-term projects, and any helpful information I thought would be necessary for my office to know after my exit. I also spent extensive time updating current processes and protocol documents and offering training opportunities to staff who were taking over different components of my position.
Lastly, I wanted to ensure that I was nurturing and building my professional network, even as I continued to leave my current place of employment. The University of Rochester has provided me with many connections that have helped me create strong professional and personal friendships. When deciding to leave the University, I wanted to continue to have positive relationships with my previous peers and connections. While working in higher education, I have learned that the industry is a close-knit community where everyone seems to know everyone. Maintaining positive relationships even after I left the University is essential to me because I never know who I might work with someday or where I might end up working again.
Overall, leaving the University of Rochester will be a bittersweet experience for me. As I am excited to expand my professional career experiences, I am sad to leave my colleagues and the work being completed at the University. I hope my department sees that I tried to be respectful and helpful during the transition. Change is hard, but throughout this process, I wanted to achieve my goal of leaving on good terms.