Quittin’ your job can feel great, but before you tell off that coworker who always annoyed you, kick your feet up and do nothing for two weeks, and ride off into the sunset, you should take a quick moment to think about what you want to take with you. No, probably not your awesome widescreen monitor, but what files and data—if any—you’re legally allowed to carry out the door.
I don’t know your company’s policies about what you can and can’t do with your work, but if there aren’t any rules forbidding you from taking your projects with you (as in, your company won’t sue your ass if they find out), then you should.
You’ll be able to hold on to valuable work examples for future jobs you apply for, let alone anything you created on the job that might help you out at a future position (your cheat sheet of incredible Excel formulas, for example). And if you ever want to “borrow” from old work you did—like a presentation template—or refresh your knowledge of how you constructed a marketing campaign, you’ll have that information at the ready.
Again, I can’t stress this enough—check your corporate policies to see what, if anything, you’re allowed to take with you when you go. If you work on confidential projects (sup, Apple people), odds are good your former company will be very, very unhappy with you, and possibly litigious, if they realize youwalked out with documentsthat should remain on property. Please don’t get sued.
If your employer uses Google’s G Suite…
Assuming there’s no prohibition against you doing so, grabbing all your information from your company’s G Suite setup should be easy. Hit up Google’sDownload your datapage and let ‘er rip. I’d download everything you can, just to be thorough, but you can also limit your selections however you see fit.
Since this archive might take a bit of time to create, I recommend not trying to do this on you very last day. Instead, consider kicking off the archive as part of your “final week” activities. Or, if you worry that your company might shut off your access or give you the boot earlier than you expected once you give notice, get your archive ready and downloaded before then.
If you use Chrome or Firefox…
Assuming you’re one of the many, many people who use either of these top browsers, I recommend taking some time to export all of your bookmarks and open tabs before you depart your workplace. You might not need the link to your company’s intranet anymore, but there are surely plenty of useful work-related websites (or time-wasters) you’d like to carry with you to your next job.
- Click the triple-dot icon in the upper-right corner of your browser
- Hover your mouse over Bookmarks, and then click on Bookmark Manager
- Within the Bookmark Manager, click on the triple-dot icon in the upper-right corner and select Export Bookmarks
- Save your .HTML file of bookmarks wherever you want
- Click on the Library icon—it looks like a bunch of books on a shelf—click on Bookmarks, and then click on Show All Bookmarks.
- Click on Import and Backup, and then click on “Export Bookmarks to HTML.”
- Save your .HTML file of bookmarks wherever you want
As for your open tabs, I recommend using an extension like OneTab (Chrome,Firefox), which will make it easy to collect all of your open tabs into a single one, which you can then export as an easy-to-transport (and click) .HTML file that’s full of links.
If you use Microsoft Outlook…
Backing up your email is a cinch. Really. It couldn’t be easier. Within Outlook version 1910 (what I’m running, which comes with Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019):
- Click on File
- Click on Open & Export
- Click on Import/Export
- Select “Export to a file” and click on Next
- Select “Outlook Data File (.pst)“
- Save your .PST file anywhere you want, and open it up later by importing it back into Outlook on another computer; a separate email app like Thunderbird; or, if you prefer,a third-party applicationthat can view its contents).
If you use Apple Mail…
Fire up the app and get ready to export everything in it. The instructions are simple:
- Click on a Mailbox you want to export (like, say, your entire Inbox and every sub-folder in it)
- Click on Mailbox in your Menu Bar
- Click on Export Mailbox
- Choose a folder where you’d like your .MBOX files to go
- Repeat as necessary for any other mailboxes you want to export
If you use Slack…
You’ll have to be a Slack owner or adminto export Slack messagesnatively. (And when you do, you’ll get .JSON files that you’ll probably wantto spruce upa bit.) Otherwise, you can use a paid tool likeBackupery for Slackto export your conversations.
If you send a lot of texts with colleagues…
If you’re chatting with your colleagues about business stuff on your personal device, you have nothing to worry about. If you have a company-provided iPhone or Android, then backing up your conversations will range from “easy” to “a pain.”
ForAndroid, I always recommend checking out the easy-to-useSMS Backup & Restoreapp. Moving messages from your work device to your personal devicewill be easy. ForiOS, you don’t really have an ideal solution. I’d try an app likeiExplorerorPhoneviewand see where that gets you.
If you use a bunch of cloud services…
Don’t forget to grab your files before you depart. Buy a flash drive or an external drive, connect it to whatever device you use, and copy anything meaningful from your cloud storage—presumably, the one linked to your work email or credentials—to a physical drive.
If you have a bunch of files on a network drive somewhere…
Same deal, but tread carefully. As mentioned long, long ago, you’re going to want to make sure that you have permission to make copies of whatever it is you’ve worked on during your time at the company; or, at the very minimum, you want to make sure that you’re keeping whatever you’re doing very much under the radar. Therecan be serious consequencesfor not doing so.
While your employerprobablywon’t care if you save a PDF of that beautiful brochure you made for that project from your work’s cloud storage service to a flash drive, any IT department worth its salary will probably notice if you start sucking down gigabytes and gigabytes of data—if not more—a few days prior to your leaving the company. They also might not care, if your company is big enough, but is this a risk you’re willing to take?
At the very least, make sure you’ve saved any and all personal data you’ve dumped on a network drive somewhere. Also, why did you do that? Keep your personal stuff off your work servers.
And while we’re on the subject of things not to do, make sure you remove all your personal information and data from your work laptop or desktop, butdo not wipe the device clean. That which you didatwork is likely the property of your employer, and while they might simply wipe your machines for you once you’re gone, you don’t want to deal witha pissed-off lawyer—or what might come of a lawsuit you lose.