Briefing your replacement?

Subject: Briefing your replacement?
From: "Geoff Hart" <geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:41:33 -0500

Rasil Ahuja works <<... for a government contractor and recently
submitted my resignation... I was shown the resume of a possible
replacement... a recent journalism grad with a little over one year of
professional experience... I am somewhat doubtful because there
is little technical writing mentioned. I am concerned about how this
"newbie" will do in an environment where no engineer takes an
interest in documentation... how much of an interest should I take
in the hiring of my replacement?>>

Apart from the ethics of the situation (i.e., giving back what was
given to you, namely the mentoring you received when you first got
the job), it's important to leave the most favorable impression
possible behind you once you're gone. No matter how amicable
your departure, the people who have to pick up the slack (both the
newcomer and the people who work with the newcomer) are still
going to feel abandoned if you simply leave.

If there's any way to get the newcomer on-site for a week or two
while you're still there, that's a great opportunity to teach the
newbie the internal procedures and politics, plus some of the
details of the job. The newcomer will love you for this (it's much
less frightening than being dropped into a completely unfamiliar
environment and being told to sink or swim), management will love
you for this (they'll get the new employee up to speed much faster),
your kharmic balance sheet will be seriously lightened (you've done
a good deed), and you'll have left great impressions behind you
("this techwhirler cares about the company and other people") for
relatively minimal effort on your own part. That's a win-win-win-win
situation in my books.

If you can't mentor the person in person, perhaps you can at least
spend some time documenting the "top ten" things the person
needs to know, and offering limited time on the phone at your new
job if they need to call for help during the transition. I've done this
the past two places I worked, and provided that assistance posed
no problem for my new employer, it was an offer gratefully
accepted by the previous one.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
"If you can't explain it to an 8-year-old, you don't understand it"--Albert Einstein

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