Leaving a job and what to prepare

“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”

So you’ve decided to move on, and take that lavish job offer. Your manager sets you a couple of handovers tasks to do, and what’s left is backing up your personal files before returning your laptop to the IT Department. So you pull up your portable hard drive and backup all of your work conveniently. Easy, right?

Wrong. Your files would most probably be scattered here and there because you mixed them up during the four years of work, so you need to scout through tons of folders to ensure there’s nothing personal left. Before you realize it, time is almost over and you need to stay up late for a couple of nights to ensure everything has been backed up. Sounds familiar?

You could also be in a situation where you keep a somewhat organized record of your stuff, but the early morning meeting with the HRD indicates that this is goodbye and they will revoke your access immediately. Puff! All those insightful notes that you put aside for years, thinking you’ll get to it once you have time in between your crazy schedule, are all gone. Hasta la vista Data!

The truth is, in many cases, the terms of work separation is somewhat outside of your control sphere. Just like any relationship, it could end smoothly, or abruptly, so it’s best to prepare for the worst-case scenario. How? I’m thinking three things, here they are:

01. Make a habit of creating regular back-ups

What should you backup? Think about your “what’s next?” So you can decide what to backup, for example:

  • If you’re a digital product or service designer, and your next job relies heavily on your design portfolio, then create a habit of taking screenshots of your work in progress, including shots of meetings, workshops, which helps to explain the thought process behind your work, will be very helpful (*)
  • If your next role will be somewhat similar to your current one, in terms of challenges and job responsibilities, you want to ensure that learnings from your current work are well recorded so you don’t have to start everything from zero again. Therefore, pieces of notes you took in meetings, workshops, coaching, will be your treasure, make sure to keep those (*)
  • As you learn more about yourself and want to improve, feedback from your colleagues could serve as a reflection of what you did right, and what you need to improve. Some even reveal your blank spots, the things that you don’t know you don’t know. Therefore, the records of your quarterly performance review are something you want to keep as well

02. Taking Notes and Pictures

While most records are available as project deliverables, i.e. presentation slides, final artwork, wireframes, research insights, some you need to produce deliberately, i.e. photo documentations, personal notes, so you need to create a habit of taking pictures and taking notes.

03. Maintain a positive relationship

Last but not least, ensure you maintain a positive relationship with your direct supervisor, e.g. Manager(s), so that they will be there to back you up when your future employer needing a reference.

Got other tips? What usually works the best for you? (byms)


(1) Be mindful of NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) that could get you in trouble if you’re sharing something deemed as sensitive, like a roadmap or business strategy. It’s usually okay though, to keep screenshots and blur out the sensitive details, especially of products that have been launched for public access. When in doubt, check with your supervisor.

Moving ahead by creating visibility of your contributions

“How should I ensure that my work and my contributions get visibility within the company? What new skills do I need to move ahead?”

That is among the most used introduction question used in LinkedIn Career Advice, and I think it’s a very legit one: moving ahead has a lot to do with the visibility of your progress.

As an example, when I first joined Traveloka as a Design Lead, I was glad to meet my new team of 20 designers, which is a huge leap from the 2-5 team members I usually lead. I often read that prominent design leaders manage the team even bigger than this, therefore I think I’m on the right track.

What quickly happened though, is the realization that it’s hard to effectively track everyone’s progress.

Despite doing checkups, 1 on 1, and casual daily interactions, it seems there’s always someone that’s eluding attention by being less approachable, avoiding conversations, and stay silent in meetings, perhaps, believing that the less they share, the better it shows that everything is under control.

On the other hand, there are also a few that often popped up and pose conversation like “I need your opinion on this issue”, “Are you available for quick brainstorming?”, or even “I have problem with this stakeholder”.

Who do you think would leave a more memorable impression?

Those that speak up usually get the attention they deserve, why? Because despite their achievements, by speaking up they got to deliver their story, and research has shown that what changes people’s perception is a story, not data.

Do you know what kind of stories is most memorable? Those that provoke the sense of catharsis in its audience, by connecting on the emotional level.

Therefore, to get your contributions visible, there’s no other way than to connect those to your stakeholders’ emotions. Even better, get them as part of the story, and they will be there to defend you when it’s needed, like in the performance review season.

However, storytelling alone won’t cut it. There needs to be real progress within the story. You can only get so far with a mediocre story. Your story needs to tell about a significant contribution.

Therefore, for those still struggling with creating contributions, then ask your leader or coach on where you can create the most impact, as they can help to give you information on what is expected from your role, and how you can better fulfill those expectations. If there’s still a gap in the skills needed, your leader should also be able to assist you in creating an improvement plan.

For leaders, it’s crucial to have a system, and delegation of roles to effectively scale up your influence, therefore creating scalability (and sustainability) in your leadership.

Do you still have questions? Use the comment section below, or connect with me through LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. (byms)

Career Building Options in COVID-19 Unemployment

Mind map of options for someone unemployed during covid-19 pandemic, by bayuamus.
Mind map of options for someone unemployed during covid-19 pandemic, by bayuamus.

“ILO estimates are that as many as 25 million people could become unemployed, with a loss of workers’ income of as much as USD 3.4 trillion. However, it is already becoming clear that these numbers may underestimate the magnitude of the impact.”(1)

As the issue of getting laid-off because of the Covid-19 pandemic has become more prominent, getting a new job is tricky, as it could mean changing industry, like doing product design for travel-related service into doing product design for a logistic service; or even shifting your career path altogether, like from doing UX design into service design. While shifting industry usually means adapting your skillset towards a new kind of challenge, the later means there will be a gap to facilitate: the more drastic the change is, the wider the gap is. How to bridge it?

For those finding themselves with no options, what should you do? Maybe you just simply need to look for similarity in a different place, realign your career path, or invent a new opportunity for yourself. How would you accomplish that?

Based on those running questions, I did some mappings about the possible options which combine between self and situation assessment, with branches that consisting of jumping back in, start your own business, or upskilling and education. The nodes incorporated could be a starting point in crafting a more detailed plan, tailored to each one of you.

The next step would be to gather the resources available to support these possibilities, and I have started that earlier in another post, feel free to suggest other resources you’re aware of.

About the mind map itself, do you discover other options or branches? Let me know what do you think in the comment section. (byms)

(1) COVID-19 has exposed the fragility of our economies – http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_739961/lang–en/index.htm