12 things to do when you leave your job for the next person

As I’ve written about already, I’m heading to Central Asia for about 6 months soon, and my last day of work is today (egads!). I’m currently doing some cross training, and though I’m not perfect, I’m striving to get the following things done before I go to ensure as smooth a tradition as possible.

There’s nothing worse than the only times your name comes up after you leave being in phrases that involve frustration and expletives.

Written documents:

  1. Next 30 days: A list of things that will need to get done in the next 30 days.
  2. Project status: A documents with ongoing projects and their current statuses. I use my email and file folders to create a structure.
  3. Key contacts: Key contacts needed to get core work done, plus list of peripheral but helpful/collaborative/interested others.
  4. Yearly plan: Major dates/deadlines/projects throughout the year.
  5. Philosophical documents: Mission/vision/philosophy/values and other core principles that have guided your work to now.
  6. Support staff: A list of who does what. My student staff keep a constantly updated manual going, and it REALLY helps make onboarding more efficient.
  7. Burn after reading: The down-low on relationships, funding, issues, and other contexts that are important to have a heads up on, but that aren’t “on record”.


  1. Email files: I’m sharing most email folders with the next person. I’m only sharing (and not exporting/importing) as they should only be for reference if necessary. It’s never a priority, but try to clean them up and delete irrelevant ones.
  2. Computer files: Keep them orderly fashion from the beginning (by project/task area) and it will be a huge help. At my last job I had no crossover time with the new person, but I heard back many thanks that all the files were easy to find!
  3. Paper files: I’m not a huge paper file person. But do the same as you should do with computer files.
  4. Online tools: Make sure any surveys/mail lists etc that you are the owner of either get shared or transferred to the new person.
  5. List of passwords and logins.

What do you do to help transition staff changeovers?


  1. I’m leaving my current position in the next month or so (I anticipate) and I’m starting to do many of these things to set my replacement up for success.

    I’ve been that person, the one who takes over for someone else and feels like they are starting from scratch and I’d never wish this feeling/position on anyone else.

    Thankfully over the past year I’ve found myself more organized than in past years and because of that many of the items you’ve listed are already on their way to completion.

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