You've ended your contract, what's next?
The decision to end or renew a contract is difficult because of the many factors that hinge on the decision at hand and the domino effect that occurs from that one decision. Here are some tips for handling life if you do decide to cut bait and move on to greener pastures. The importance of mindfulness and intentionality can make your remaining time beneficial.
When you decide to leave your current role, what legacy will you leave? This goes beyond thinking who will write you a letter of recommendation and what it will say. What difference will you have made?
Start from a place of asking yourself how you would like others to think of you and then be honest about what you are doing to be remembered in such a way. Are you actually taking actions that contribute to how you want to be perceived or are you just thinking about it?
What are small things that you can do during your remaining time that will help you leave behind a good legacy?
Stay Tuned In
This is easier said than done. You may have noticed that when the end is near, it is easy to check out mentally and physically. Stay present by keeping regular work hours and challenging yourself to devote mental energy to projects rather than simply handing them off to others under the guise of training them to do a task.
If your responsibilities are limited, use your remaining time to reflect on what you’ve learned, the formative experiences you’ve had, skills you’ve acquired, etc. Notice if there are any gaps that you would like to fill before you leave and make a plan to fill these before you jet.
Pick Your Battles
You may dream of telling your managers how you really feel about them, but consider the long-term impact of these decisions.
If you have an exit interview, take time before the meeting to list the things that are causing you frustration. Then, list what you view as possible solutions and prepare to present these, rather than simply laying a problem at someone’s feet.
There may be problems you legitimately can’t solve (often these are related to personality conflicts and differences in leadership styles). If this is the case, open a dialogue about what your ideal scenario would be like and see if there are ways to achieve this that you hadn’t considered.
Meet and Eat
Take advantage of the standardized lunchtime in Shanghai and arrange lunch meetings with people you have wanted to connect with, but haven’t managed to track down. These present great opportunities to tell people about your transition and ensure that you maintain the network you have created during your time here.
During the twilight of your contract, it's important to use your time and energy in a way that you can reflect back and not have regrets about things left undone. Make the most of your remaining time by engaging those around you and staying engaged until you actually leave.
Kimberly holds an ACC credential from the International Coach Federation and has a graduate certificate in professional and executive coaching. She partners with clients in her practice, The Coaching Link, to reveal their best self, professionally and personally. Kimberly also facilitates topic focused group coaching and workshops focused on identifying strengths to work toward peak experiences as well as using coaching methods to navigate difficult conversations.