Corina Manea

Find Your Replacement Before You Quit Your Job

By: Corina Manea | January 2, 2018 | 

Find Your Replacement Before You Quit Your JobPursuing a new career challenge is never easy. But how would you feel if I were to tell you I want you to find your replacement before you quit your job?

Wait, what?

Think about it for a minute. You spend more time with your colleagues than you spend with your family.

You invest time and dedication in building personal and professional relationships.

You create routines that involve your colleagues, whether it’s working on projects together or having lunch or coffee every day.

In time, they become your tribe—your second home.

You might say: what do I care; I’ll leave anyway?

We live in a very, very small world; moreover so, if you move inside the same industry.

So why not focus on collaboration?

After all, even the fiercest competitors work together at some point.

Why not be you the bridge between the two companies?

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

You’ll make your new boss happy bringing in new business or a collaboration of some sort.

And you’ll cement the relationship with your previous superior and his company.

Sounds tempting, right?

You won’t believe how easy it is to put it into practice.

It will not only save you time but when it’s time to quit your job, you can use it as leverage in the negotiation with your former boss.

The Smart Way to Quit Your Job

We live in a hyper-connected world, we connect with people thousands of miles away through social media, we sign deals thanks to the internet, and we find new jobs or business opportunities through social media.

That’s why is important to build and maintain a professional image even when using your social channels for personal stuff.


Your reputation is only as good as your search results. — Gini Dietrich

If you’ve decided you want another challenge, if you want to quit your job to pursue your dreams, there is a way you can do that without hurting your relationships with your boss and colleagues.

You also have to be smart and have a backup plan, in case things don’t work out as you hope.

Burning bridges is almost always a bad idea.

Each country and company has their own regulations and rules.

In Spain, for example, depending on the company and your role, you have to give a minimum of two weeks notice.

The higher the position you’re in, the longer the term required.

Now, a little reality check: in this over-changing world, your new employer might not want to wait that long and choose another candidate after they made you an offer (I’ve seen it happen).

Leave On Good, But Your Own, Terms 

The answer might be easier than you think: you have to think like your employer.

What is your employer’s biggest concern?

Not being able to replace you or find someone competent enough in a such short term, but also not being able to distribute your projects among the rest of the team.

Ask yourself this: is there anything you can do to proactively meet those concerns?

There is a solution for everything; you just have to look for it.

Throughout my career, I found that finding a good replacement for yourself is the best tactic to leave a company on your terms.

Find Your Replacement

Are you ready for a super smart, yet simple strategy?

Read on…

You’ve been working for this company for a while now.

If you did your homework and built relationships throughout the time you’ve been with the company, you most likely know who would want to be in your role and also who would be a good replacement for you (not necessarily the same person).

Before we move forward, let’s do a reality check.

Your ego might tell you to leave them be, after all, you’re leaving, and it’s not your problem.

Leave your ego aside and look at it from a business perspective.

You want to move into the new position as quickly as possible.

You’ve given everything to the company you’re with and you’re ready for a new challenge.

On the other hand, your boss wants this transition to take place as smoothly as possible.

She doesn’t want any more stress or disruption added to her plate.

Help her help you.

Do the work for her, in advance.

Find that person you think would be the best to take your place.

He or she can be from your department or an entirely different one.

It doesn’t matter. Someone with the right mindset will learn and catch up fast.

Let’s back up for a moment and get something clear.

Your work in finding your replacement starts months before you actually leave your current company.

So keep your eyes and ears open the entire time.

Look for the mindset and attitude needed in your job.

If you can, convince your boss to involve your potential replacement in your projects to give you a hand.

If you have a new colleague on your team, make everything you can to involve them in your work and share insights from your daily work.

Here is something I see happen often: when new people join a team, the “veterans” throw either the easiest tasks at them (make copies, bring coffee to the boss) or they go in the other direction.

They give them difficult tasks without explaining the best practices in the company, expectations, and deadlines.

You want your future replacement to succeed in their work.

That’s why is so important to approach finding your replacement as a business deal and leave your ego aside.

Yes, your replacement might become better than you at your job.

If that happens, you should be proud of yourself; you taught them well. It’s time for you to move on.

Don’t Burn Bridges

It’s not as easy as you may think and my intention is not to make you believe it is.

Let me say this: IT IS NOT!

It takes planning, it takes screening, it takes a lot of work, but, in the end, it can work out very well for everybody involved.

If I were to leave you with something it would be this: think like your employer and find a way to solve their worries about your departure.

Make a good plan and start executing.

Have you ever applied this strategy in your previous jobs?

About Corina Manea

Corina Manea is the chief community officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She works directly with Spin Sucks students and writes for the award-winning PR blog. She also is the founder of NutsPR. Join the Spin Sucks  community!

  • Corina Manea

    Thank you Gini!

  • You know, I had mixed feelings about this the first time I read it. When an employee gives their two week notice, I almost always ask them to leave that very day. For two reasons: 1) I’ve found they tend to not be as dedicated to helping transition and they use it as an excuse to just go around and talk with everyone. And 2) There are some who come to work, but don’t actually do anything for those two weeks. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but that’s sort of my policy.

    That said, by the time I read this a second time, I decided you are right. If you know you are leaving—particularly to go out on your own—and you spend a year getting a person ready to replace you, I’m good with this approach.

  • Foresight and professional integrity. That sums up this blog post and is a great lesson for everyone.

  • ginidietrich I am with you Gini on the two reasons. It happened to me when I was leading a team and had a few members leave and I´ve seen it in previous positions I had. I never understood why an employer needs two weeks or a month or whatever time they ask the employee to give their notice. What happens in real life is what you said. On the other hand, when an employer fires an employee doesn´t ask them to leave the company in two weeks. Meaning they find short-term solutions. 
    Of course, finding a replacement for yourself and training them doesn´t mean you don´t do your job. It means (at least for me) you keep doing your daily job and add the training part. Yes, it´s a lot of work, but it depends what you want most.

  • LauraPetrolino Thank you Laura!

  • ginidietrich Interesting viewpoint. When I read this post, Corina Manea ‘s point about employee training stuck with me. Every time I’ve had to give my two weeks notice or even months before going on maternity leave both times, I was extremely conscious about making sure I diligently trained the incoming individual as much as possible and  leaving as many helpful files and training documents behind. Having said that I have inherited portfolios with very little to go on. I guess, of course it depends on person to person but it wouldn’t sit well with me if I didn’t pass the knowledge or files on.

  • LSSocialEngage ginidietrich You are right Lubna. 
    In the end, just like LauraPetrolino said: it´s about professionalism and integrity.

  • Exactly!

  • Fantastic post, Corina Manea!!

  • ginidietrich That’s what I did. Talked to a lot of people, and went out for long lunches. 😉

  • belllindsay Thank you Lindsay!

  • mhpetre

    Since I am not feeling guilty (@belllindsay) -kidding-  that is exactly what I did. Not with one job, but with all my jobs (it came naturally). After all, as you all say over and over again: PR is common sense. Quitting your job with integrity is common sense! One doesn´t need to think we live in a “small” world BUT to close a chapter in their life with no regrets, knowing they gave it all.

  • This comment is pretty specific to a different environment, but it has always stuck with me. In college, I was involved in a very dynamic and big ministry at a local church. Our leaders was *awesome*. When he announced he was leaving, he said, “if I leave and you fall apart, I have not been a leader; my job is to build you up to be prepared to NOT rely on one leader …” I loved it.

  • Powerful and true at the same time. Thank you Paula!

  • Gini Dietrich

    You’re welcome!

  • Unmana_

    Agree wholeheartedly with this. When I left my last job — a job that I loved, with a boss who had been amazingly kind — I was determined to recruit and at least partially train my replacement. I didn’t have any team members at the time so had to recruit from outside — training and coaching internal team members to take over seems much better!

  • corinamanea

    McMasterMCM SpinSucks Thank you for sharing!

  • danielschiller

    Professional integrity is like the 8th chakra corinamanea. Instead of “what color is your parachute”, it should be “what color is your professional integrity chakra?” 🙂 Nice one!

  • corinamanea

    lkpetrolino Thank you Laura!

  • danielschiller Nice analogy Daniel. Thank you!