PGA of America

Job Exit Strategies

Part of a comprehensive career plan will include some thoughts regarding how to transition from a position in the most professional manner possible. Regardless of the circumstances, a PGA Professional can have a positive influence when leaving the position and, hopefully, make it a better position for the successor.

Some of the primary reasons one leaves a job include the following:

  • Better opportunity
  • Geographic relocation for personal reasons
  • Loss of job
  • Retirement

Regardless of the reason for leaving a position, consider the following:

Financial Considerations

If retiring, make sure you know when you are able to collect from pension plans, IRAs, 401Ks, etc. Early Social Security benefits may be available at age 62. If leaving involuntarily, inquire about severance pay including payment of unused vacation time or sick leave. One to two weeks per year of service is a good starting point for negotiations, depending on position level with senior executive positions warranting up to a month’s pay per year of service. You also may also be eligible for your State’s Unemployment Compensation.

Benefits Coverage

Continuation of your medical benefits is a primary consideration. If you are an employee of the facility (with 12 employees or more) and the facility provides medical benefits, you could be eligible for the continuation of these benefits under the COBRA laws. COBRA requires employers to offer to employees (and their eligible dependents) the continuation of coverage, at the employee’s expense, for 18 months. In certain cases it can be for 36 months. Remember that Medicare coverage usually does not begin until age 65.

Concession Ownership

If you own any concessions, you should be eligible to receive income up to your date of termination. If you own the golf merchandise concession, check your contract to see what obligations are included in a “buy-out clause.” When setting up your contract, attempt to negotiate with the employer to buy out merchandise at your actual costs, along with any additional fixtures and equipment that may stay with the operation. At a minimum, ask the facility to purchase all logoed merchandise. You should also be prepared if the facility wants to include depreciation in determining equitable buy-out costs.

Notification and Timing

Basic business protocol would be to provide a minimum of two weeks’ notice, although some contracts may require 30 days’ notice or more. While each situation is unique, try to give your employer as much advance notification as possible. If possible, schedule your departure at a time when it will cause the least disruption. This will enable a smooth transition that is in the best interests of the next PGA Professional, as well as the facility’s customers and your staff. It also positions you to be a key player in the transition process.

Succession Planning

Most employers need help in understanding the avenues available to them to find an appropriate replacement. Make sure your employer is aware of the complimentary career services offered by the PGA and encourage them to contact the PGA Career Consultant who serves the local PGA Section. If there are any current or former assistant professionals from the facility who would be an appropriate candidate for the position, provide those names to the employer. Also, to assist your employer and the PGA in filling your position, provide any appropriate information and data about the operation.

Your Staff

You probably hired most of your staff and they made a personal decision to work for you. Take the time to meet with each of them individually to explain what is going on, to understand their concerns, and to communicate their concerns to the employer if appropriate. If they are leaving as well, try to network to find new opportunities for them and/or write appropriate letters of recommendation.

Your credibility as a PGA Professional is enhanced if you take the time to execute a well thought out exit strategy.

For additional information, read the Career Fitness Manual here.