Melody Kramer

How To Leave Your Job Gracefully: A Step by Step Guide

19 Jan 2015 by melodyjoykramer

I recently left my job at NPR. I thought a lot about how to leave and thought I would write up exactly what I did, in case it helps you at some point in the future. I read online that you’re supposed to do a lot of this stuff before telling your bosses that you’re leaving. I suppose if you work at a place where they immediately escort you out of the building when you give notice, then you should do a lot of this stuff ahead of time. I wasn’t worried about that and did most of this stuff during the week before my last day.

several weeks before leaving: After I received written confirmation from my new job, I called my boss and said I had accepted a new job. I emailed HR and two other bosses and suggested a last day. They said sure. I put this in writing for HR and emailed several people I worked with closely, to let them know. I asked if they would keep the information to themselves until it was publicly announced. They all did. I told my parents and A’s parents and asked them not to say anything. They kept the news to themselves. I went to California for Christmas and tried not to think about it. I was maybe 70% successful.

week of leaving: Here’s what I did the week before I left:

  1. I use Mac Mail. I exported all of my mail to Dropbox and an external hard drive. (Instructions here.) I copied over the work that I wanted to include in my work portfolio to the Dropbox as well.

1a. I wrote a blog post that I posted that coincided with the internal announcement by my boss. He ran his email past me before he sent it out, which was really nice. I set my blog post to post at the same time and then announced the news on Facebook and Twitter.

  1. A day later, I asked my Facebook friends for a checklist of things to do before leaving. People offered a range of suggestions, mostly humorous.

  2. I realized I would want a record of the Social Sandbox, which was a big part of my job. I rounded up all of the posts on the sandbox, so I could have a record of the pieces I had written or edited and make it easy for people to navigate the archives.

4. Exported all of the email addresses I had ever written to from my work email. About 1,000 of them were NPR staffers and 1,000 were external emails. I wrote this email to everyone at NPR and sent it, cc’ing my personal email. I then wrote a quick Excel program to process email addresses for everyone outside of NPR. [The Excel program looked for email addresses within my contacts that didn’t include the expression ‘’ and then added a comma after each email address so they could be bulk pasted into Gmail. I’m sure there was an easier way to do this but my method worked.*]Screenshot 2015-01-19 17.00.17This was the email I bcc’ed to my external contacts. I sent it from my personal email, so followups after I left could be answered. There is a limit on the number of emails you can bcc. I believe it is 500 so I split these into two batches.

  1. I took pictures of things I didn’t want to forget.

  2. I wrote pass-off documentation, and made sure all of my documents on the NPR Confluence board were comprehensive and complete. I changed the ownership on every single Google Doc I had access to, removed myself as an admin from every social media account, and deleted access for myself to anything communal. I found new admins for docs where I was the only admin. This actually took quite a bit of time.

  3. I spent the last two days of work going around to each floor of the building and trying to talk with everyone I had ever worked with. This was great and made me cry a lot. I worked at NPR for the better part of eight years. I worked with many people across all different departments and it was nice to talk with them in person. I did a lot of laps around the building and listened and chatted. I also wrote emails to folks and made plans to get lunch with several people after my last day.

  4. I did an exit interview. This consisted of two parts: one, to let me know about COBRA and rolling over my retirement fund. The other part consisted of asking why I was leaving. This was with my HR business rep in his office.

  5. I cleaned out my desk. I emailed my union (SAG-AFTRA) to let them know I was leaving.

  6. I purchased a duffel bag with a retro NPR logo from the gift shop.

  7. I added a new user to my Macbook Air and then deleted the ‘Melody Kramer’ user. This took a LONG time. I would recommend leaving a day or two at the end for this, and then using a personal laptop if you still need one. I then returned my laptop and all of the audio equipment I had checked out.

I believe that is everything!

*Someone asked for the exact method:

1. Exported email addresses. I googled this.
2. Converted the file to a csv through some online website. (Google the conversion)
3. In excel, I looked up how to find a string of characters. I searched for and said “If, put a 1 in the next row)
4. Then I sorted the 1’s column
5. then I had a list of emails that were not addresses
6. Then I looked up how to add a comma to the end of each of those.
7. Copy and paste.








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