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Make a graceful online exit from your job

Think twice before posting nasty Facebook updates upon quitting your job, say Andrea Bartz, left, and Brenna Ehrlich.
Think twice before posting nasty Facebook updates upon quitting your job, say Andrea Bartz, left, and Brenna Ehrlich.
  • When it's time to leave your job, tie up digital loose ends and depart with dignity
  • Walk around and shake hands with everyone you can on your last day
  • Provide your personal e-mail address and phone number as a separate vCard

Editor's note: Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz are the sarcastic brains behind humor blog and soon-to-be-book Stuff Hipsters Hate. When they're not trolling Brooklyn for new material, Ehrlich works as a news editor at, and Bartz holds the same position at Psychology Today.

(CNN) -- So, you're leaving your job.

Maybe you're finally going to start that Kafka-themed coffee shop/art space/bowling alley you keep talking about. Or maybe this is the year your indie Latin jazz rock band will finally make it big.

Perhaps you freaked out on some hapless JetBlue airline passenger and are gonna be grounded for a bit. Or maybe -- drag, dude -- the employment gods decided that you (along with 131,000 workers in July alone) are gonna have a liiitle extra free time to enjoy the end of summer.

Either way, when it comes time to kiss your cubicle goodbye, you can scamper away, firmly ensconced in your Own Little World like a gerbil in a clear plastic ball, or you can tie up digital loose ends and depart with dignity. We recommend the latter.

First things first: You need to tell the world--and especially your officemates--that you're leaving. It's tempting to walk out of that awkward meeting with your boss, the sight of her crumpled frustration and disappointment at losing one of her best employees (right) still fresh in your mind, and tap out the tweet or Facebook status update you've been dreaming about for years: "F*** YEAH, I'M OUTTA THAT HELLHOLE!"

A classier step: Tell the important people (the ones who'd want to hear it from the horse's mouth) in person or via personalized calls or e-mails, then compose a Facebook status asking your friends and colleagues to celebrate with you at a local watering hole. Post it on your wall and let the congrats roll in.

A mass e-mail to relatives and networking contacts is fine, too -- just keep it brief, say nothing but classy things about your former employer, and be prepared to write a battery of "Thanks, yeah, I'm excited!" responses when your e-mail hits peeps' inboxes. (If your exit was less, er, voluntary, the same principles apply: "celebratory" drinks become "commiseration" cocktails, and the mass e-mail becomes more of a polite plea for networking leads.)

After you've gotten woefully drunk with friends and colleagues, it comes time to bid your co-workers adieu. Yeah, you have 4 million things to think about after you give (or are given) your two weeks' notice (like how to steal as many office supplies as possible before the final punch-out). But saying your goodbyes, handing out your contact information and digitally setting up a few easy streams of continued connection mean you won't turn into that "Hey, whatever happened to that guy?" guy.

So do not go gentle into that good night. You already know to write your boss a handwritten card (even though up to 40 percent of men want to punch their bosses in the face, according to a lovely new survey from and, right? But how to handle the rest of the herd?

Definitely walk around and shake hands with everyone you can on your last day. (You may wish to avoid interrupting everyone's menial-labor stupor to let them know you're heading out, but do it anyway. The murmurs of "That bee-yotch didn't even say goodbye" are ultimately much more damaging).

In addition, in most offices it's cool to send a mass e-mail (to the entire staff, if you worked with everyone, or at least to everyone who knows who you are) as your very last missive from your soon-to-be-defunct work e-mail address. Thank them all for being wonderful and encourage them to keep in touch.

Finishing on a warm note makes it that much more likely that they'll think of you when a new position's open and you're miserably toiling away at your new job -- you know, instead of just recalling the time you came to work early to print out the 200-page application for "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?" and broke the printer.

Also in said e-mail, provide your personal e-mail address and phone number as a separate vCard, (no, not that kinda V-card, interneteur -- electronic business cards.) Instructions vary by e-mail client, but usually involve making a new contact for yourself and forwarding that out from your address book. Then recipients can just open up your e-business card to permanently have all your info.

You can also exchange info via apps like Bump, which allows you to trade contacts, pictures, etc and connect via social networks by tapping your phones together. And now that PayPal has integrated Bump, you can finally get all that poker money back from Joe in finance.

Lastly, don't let your onetime colleagues forget you. We're not suggesting an epic, last-day, one-man show involving blowhorns and a mariachi band. Or an email to the entire office gleefully revealing how your FarmVille-playing boss wiled away his days -- as in the viral hit from earlier this week which, sadly,turned out to be a hoax. (Although that would be a pretty epic note on which to leave).

Rather, our point is: Most people don't burn bridges, but they do let them rot. So keep the bridge strong (to continue the hoary cliché) by sending occasional check-in e-mails and, if appropriate, following colleagues on Twitter in the hope they'll follow you back.

That way they pretty much can't forget you, as your smart retweets and interesting links will flick you into their consciousness a few times a day.

Just don't drunk-tweet about how your five-month dry spell is making you wonder why you went back on the pill in the first place.

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