Elaine Varelas Offers Insight on Training Your Replacement

Elaine Varelas offers insight as to whether you need to train your replacement or not.

Ask the Job Doc.
Ask the Job Doc. –Boston.com

Q: When I decided to leave my current job, I gave the company six-weeks notice—my next position doesn’t start until then and I need the money. The separation isn’t entirely amicable—no wrongdoing, just frustration with processes and management—but they’ve asked me to help train my replacement. I don’t want to do it. I won’t be able to do necessary wrap up work, and frankly, I no longer care that much about the company. Do I have to do it?

A: Yes, you have to do it. You are being paid to do a job, and right now, that job entails training your replacement. If you don’t want to do the job, then you can leave. Regardless of your approaching departure, you are still being paid to do whatever it is the manager needs you to do. You may have offered to stay on for those six weeks for your own financial well being, but your company could have cut you loose right away, so it’s important to be gracious in this situation, do your job, and avoid burning bridges—though it sounds like you may have already started. Work to make this a more amicable partnership for the remainder of your time there rather than making a bad situation worse.


The reality is that you likely have specialized knowledge that can only—or most easily and comprehensively—come from you. So, you’re going to be asked to either train your replacement or write extensive SOPs (standard operating procedures) so people understand what your job entails. This is an aspect of leaving a job that can’t be avoided, so it’s in your best interest to remain positive. Remember, you may need to call on these people as professional references in the future, so keeping negativity at bay will help you in the long run.

You might not like being asked to train the new person because you’re leaving on less-than-friendly terms. But, the expectation of continued employment and professionalism is the trade off for a continued paycheck. When you do start training this new employee, don’t convey any negative thoughts about the organization or go into every detail about why you’re leaving. Try focusing on the incoming person, not the organization itself—this is not your replacement’s issue, so help them succeed by providing great training and great documentation with an offer to take calls for questions after you leave.

It’s worth noting that when employees leave in a contentious, or less than amicable, manner, they are usually out right away. You got six weeks of continued employment, when the organization could have—and still can—cut you out at any point. So, even though the idea of training someone causes you frustration, you have to decide what matters to you. Are the extra paychecks not worth having to train someone? Or can you accept the training responsibility if it means a continued income? Your company has trusted you with this situation, but if you can’t in good conscience do it, then leave. You can’t stay at an organization, take their money, and sabotage their success at the same time.