Steve Jobs left a legacy, what’s yours?

Leaving a legacy behind is not just for the dead and famous. Before you quit your job, here's how to leave a good legacy at your workplace so you can walk away with your head held high.

By: Alythea Ho

It’s been two years since Steve Jobs passed away on October 5th, 2011. Much has been said about the man’s remarkable ability to foresee what consumers wanted, even as the legacy he left behind in Apple has undergone some changes since his departure.

Case in point: the latest iPhone 5S. Die-hard Apple fanboys around the world seethed in anger. A gold iPhone? How dare they change Apple’s minimalist appeal? Jobs would’ve been furious. No one messes with Steve Almighty’s legacy.

Thing is, all too often we assume legacies are only meant for ‘superfolk’ like Jobs. Then we start talking about a legacy after said 'superfolk' leave while neglecting to think about our own.

Here's the truth: we all leave several legacies behind throughout our life, one way or another. Take your job, for example. If you were to resign today, how do you think you’d be remembered by your colleagues and management? Will things change for the worst or -- heaven forbid -- the better after you leave?

If your legacy currently resembles something like ‘That Professional Paper Pusher’, here are some suggestions to help you plan ahead so you can quit your job with your head held high:

1) Think of your job as if it’s your last day

You know how it is. Once the initial learning curve is over, you start getting comfortable in routine. Go to work, collect paycheck. Rinse, repeat.

Try thinking of your job in terms of how you will quit your job and the impact you leave behind. By focusing on the bigger picture instead of the day-to-day tasks, you’ll have a clear idea of what you really want to accomplish by the time you leave your workplace.

After you figure that out, ask yourself good questions like ‘What are the first steps I will need to take?’ and ‘What would be a realistic timeline to set for myself?’

2) Develop a personal Mission Statement

Corporate mission statements have earned a bad rap for being a collection of fluffy sayings that no one cares about. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a personal mission statement. A well-crafted personal statement defines what’s important to you. This helps you focus on doing what really matters to you, while whittling away all the non-essential activities from your to-do list.

For instance, if relationships are important to you, why not try mentoring a junior at work instead of just swapping gossip over lunch? Once you’ve worked out your personal mission, you’re more likely to know what to do to leave a meaningful legacy behind after you quit your job.

3) Create value for others

Sometimes people leave legacies behind that were created from selfish reasons. Remember Nick Leeson? Those at now-nonexistent Barings Bank did.

The key then to creating a positive legacy lies in creating value for others, to the best of your ability, for the organization and the people around you. As an old saying goes, people remember you for what you did for them, not what you said.

In short, think about your job in terms of the legacy you want to leave behind. You will find it will make a difference in how you see your job and the people around you, as well as enable you to leave with the satisfaction of a job well done.

What legacy would you like to leave behind in your workplace? Share with us in the comment box below!

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