How to leave your veterinary job (the right way)


When its time to move on to a different job or another practice, its important to leave the right way. Use these tips to say goodbye on good terms.

Leaving your job is rarely a simple decision. Whether you're facing a better offer or exiting a nightmare, your next consideration should be how to engineer a graceful exit. 

Our veterinary community can be a small and close knit-perhaps even dysfunctional -family. Regardless of your reasons for moving forward in your career, keeping all your bridges intact may be one of the most important considerations for your future-in both the long and short term. Maintaining your integrity will eventually increase your value, especially in cases where positions are subject to change. Remember, you may run into colleagues on another level at some point. I once met a technician whose boss had previously been a kennel assistant under her at another practice in another state. Adhere to the simple rule of equal respect for all team members in any practice. Then consider these dos and don'ts to make a graceful exit from your practice:

> Do give appropriate notice. Some offices will define appropriate when you're hired, so start by following those guidelines. If your exit is amiable, consider the amount of time necessary to fill your position, as well as the position you're moving to and their needs. As a general rule, your new practice should honor your notice to your old practice as a symbol of your integrity. 

> Do be prepared. Some offices will not accept a notice amiably and may feel threatened by employees working after giving notice. They may terminate you on the spot. Make sure you're financially covered for the transition into your next job. 

> Do give your notice to the appropriate party. No one in your office should know of your plans to exit until your supervisor does. Your efforts to avoid office gossip or animosity maintain a high level of professionalism. You and your supervisor will decide together how to announce your departure. 

> Do give notice at the end of the business day. This allows your supervisor appropriate time to digest the information and move forward.

> Don't be negative. Approach your departure as an opportunity for your personal growth. Hopefully, your current employer will be sorry to lose you but happy to wish you well. If there are negative circumstances behind your departure, try to reserve those for discussion in a diplomatic fashion and perhaps suggest an exit interview at the end of your notice.

> Do give notice in person. Also provide a written letter at that time with an exit date clearly defined in writing. Again, this notice shouldn't contain negatives. Keep those thoughts reserved for an exit interview if you're offered one. Use this piece of correspondence to express gratitude for all your employer has done for you during your employment.

> Do offer your help. If you know of appropriate candidates to fill your position, suggest them and offer to assist in training them to fill your role in the practice. You want your employer to see you as an ally in your exit, not an enemy. Your boss will likely welcome efforts to facilitate a smooth departure. 

> Do be prepared for a counter offer. If your reasons for departure are financial, your employer may try to entice you to remain. Predetermine parameters-if there are any-that might change your mind. This is another reason to avoid negatives and make sure your supervisor is the first to know. 

Sadly, not every departure is smooth or on good terms. In the end, you can only be accountable for your behavior. Act in a fashion you can be proud of, regardless of how others may respond. In a perfect world, you will enjoy a lovely parting event hosted by your employer and greet each other with hugs at CE events in the future. Congratulations! The future looks bright. 

Kelley Ferguson-Greene is a practice manager at Countryside Animal Hospital in Alachua, Florida.

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