Taking It With You m29.jpg

It isn't always convenient, comfortable, or even possible to take care of all unfinished business once you walk through the door for the last time. So make a list of everything you'll want to pack up and carry home. What you want to take, though, may not always be what you're allowed to take. You can't take the company's property. For example, a stapler that your employer paid for stays with the company, even if you have been its sole user for the better part of a decade. Other items, such as your Rolodex, may belong to you, and you can take your belongings with you - usually - depending on how they relate to your job, how you plan to use them, and whether you signed an employee agreement before you joined the company.

If, for example, you were a salesperson, you might not be able to take a list of customers so that you could sell them a competing company's widgets in the future. However, it might be perfectly acceptable for an accountant to take the same list of customers and use it to, say, keep in touch during the holidays. Unless there's a security guard hovering over you as you pack, you'll probably run into some gray areas - that is, items that belong to you but that your company would prefer to hold onto anyway. In those cases, it becomes a judgment call and you'll have to decide what to take and what to leave behind based on your sense of ethics.

The choice might be taken out of your hands if you signed an employee agreement before you were hired. This contract compels you to leave behind proprietary information, and may prevent you from competing professionally with your employer for a certain length of time. Even if you signed such an agreement, though, it might not hold up in court.

In any case, you'll want to take with you items (or photocopies if the originals are unavailable to you) that will help you when it's time to seek another job as long as your taking them poses no threat to your company. Make sure to pack:

  • Samples of your best work
  • Letters of praise you've received from customers, clients, etc.
  • Performance evaluations

And, while you're making a packing list and checking it twice, remember to lock down any benefits to which you're entitled. These may include profit sharing, 401(k), pension benefits, and stock options. Have your employer explain, in a signed letter to you, how you will receive any monies or securities. Will the funds be paid outright, or rolled over and disbursed to you on a certain date? How will vested stock options be handled? It's up to you, and you alone, to make sure you're properly compensated for your service to the company.

┬ęCopyright 2008 Professionals In Transition Support Group, Inc.


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