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Q.
I'm retiring later this year. How do I exit without leaving my co-workers high and dry?

A.
In his book "Transitions: Making Sense Of Life's Changes," William Bridges argues that successfully managing such a dramatic change as retirement requires planning not just for your future but also for the futures of those you leave behind. Assuming that nobody is at the ready to immediately step into your role, the best way to smooth your exit is with a multistep approach that will help ensure a calm and orderly changing of the guard.

First, meet with your co-workers and review the tasks that comprise your job. During these get-togethers, plan out the transfer of each duty to the most logical or capable person. Next, work up a plan to train each person as needed. Include a timetable of realistic goals and milestones that will give you and your co-workers a sense of the progress you're making and help you stay on track. Be sure to establish a date for completing the transfer of these duties.

Finally, if at all possible, have your co-workers simply watch you perform the task at first, incrementally shifting more and more of each duty to them over time. By the end of that process, they should be able to complete the entire task from start to finish on their own without your involvement.

By preparing thoughtfully for the ending of your job, you'll find you're also arranging positively for the start of your retirement and a smooth and successful transition of responsibilities.E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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