I recently had the opportunity to transition my role from a network and server analyst role to that of a cyber security engineer. Throughout the exodus process, I chose to take several tactics in order to not burn bridges that I thought I would share.
1. Know that you are ready for a new challenge before it is too late.
At some point in the network and server analyst role, I realized that I wasn’t being challenged. While I was extremely busy and often times overwhelmed with the amount of work, the lack of structure and management support to provide the necessary resources led me to lose interest in the work that I was doing. I would come in and grind out the 8 hours and leave. The worst part was when I got home, my personal projects involving the same skillsets seemed also were not interesting to me. This was a wake up call. I began making a concious effort to network with friends and collegues in the field and found out what people were doing (and what sounded interesting to me). I realized that my employer of course did not have my best interests in mind, they were the employer. Once coming to this understanding, I began searching for challenges elsewhere and eventually led me to where I am today.
TLDR – if you feel like you need a change of scenery or you don’t feel challenged, it is probably time to consider other options to express creativity in your career.
2. Be upfront with your employer (if possible)
When I was discussing my transition with my friends, several of them didn’t understand why I was being so truthful with my employer for leaving. I am of the belief that if you want to maintain relationships with your previous coworkers and management (you never know when you may need to reach out to them), the exodus process could be a learning experience for both parties depending if both are interested in learning. For me, it was more about leaving on a professional note, knowing that I have directly told them what was wrong, what they did wrong, what they didn’t do to fix it and how it just wasn’t a great fit for me anymore. It worked out for me.
I don’t recommend this for those who feel they can’t communicate in a professional way.
3. Create and provide documentation for active and existing projects
When leaving, I didn’t want to leave my team in a rough situation so I spent my last month wrapping up and documenting as much as I could. Coworkers asked me for things I never thought to document, and I obliged. Passwords, relevent emails, introducing vendors and clients to coworkers to help make the transition period easier are all fair game. For me, I also maintain contact with my coworkers if they need anything that I forgot to get out of my head before I walked out.
4. Provide reasonable notice for the projects you are involved in.
If you are in the middle of a deep project, try an wait for it to be at a good point to transition. If there is no hope on the horizon for that, I discussed with management what their preference would be knowing that I was somewhat flexible. This isn’t for everyone but for me it allowed them some time to figure out what they were going to do with a staffing gap while they still had access to me daily. I gave a month informal notice to my coworkers and managers and 2 weeks formal notice to HR. Anything less (with exceptions) could be perceived as hostile and burn bridges.
5. Provide a professional resignation letter (explain your motivation for moving on).
Self explanatory. Do not say things you will regret.