Once you get a job, evaluate the offer, and make a decision to accept, you would think your work is done. In reality, there are still a few things you need to do in order to make your transition go as smoothly as possible.
Some people let the excitement of starting a new position force everything else to the back burner. That's easy to understand, but it can cause major headaches, and even expenses, down the road. Follow this checklist and you can avoid having that happen to you.
1. Quit your current job properly
Once you make a definite decision that you are taking a new job, you have to quit your old one. That's often not fun, but it's important to do it right to avoid burning a bridge or being seen as unprofessional on your way out the door.
Once you are within roughly three weeks of leaving, and no less than two weeks, make an appointment to see your boss and/or human resources department. Tell them that you are leaving and give them at least two full weeks' notice. If you have any scheduled or planned days off during the two-week period, extend your notice to give 10 actual business days (or more if your industry has a different standard).
Offer to do an exit interview and be willing to tie up any loose ends. Consider leaving a document for whoever takes your position letting them know anything relevant, and even less relevant things like where the best coffee shop near the office is.
2. Figure out health insurance
Find out from the company you are leaving when your health insurance will end. Some policies will cut you off the day you leave, while in other cases you will still be covered through the end of the month.
After that, find out when your new coverage will kick in. If there's a gap between the two, ask your existing employer to send you COBRA coverage information. They should send it to you anyway, but it never hurts to ask. COBRA allows you to pay for continued coverage for 18 months in most cases, so it should be more than enough to bridge a short-term gap.
3. Handle any retirement accounts
Assuming you have a 401K or some other retirement account, find out what happens to it after you leave. Some companies allow you to keep the account where it is, but not contribute to it anymore. In other cases, you have to take over control of the account. No matter what the situation, it's important to know what the policies are in order to keep track of your money.
4. Know the equipment/email policy
At some jobs, employees are issued smartphones, computers, and company email accounts. With equipment, you may be able to negotiate purchasing your devices if you want to keep them; otherwise you will have to turn them in on your last day.
When it comes to email, it's important to discuss what happens to it when you leave. Can an automatic reply be set up explaining that you have left sharing new contact info? Will your email be forwarded to another employee, or will it simply be turned off?
All of the steps above are really about not being complacent. Take control of your exit process and you will make life easier for yourself going forward. Most of these actions are really just housekeeping -- making sure you get all your ducks in a row in order to avoid future problems.