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Leave on the Right Foot

Sometimes a particular lab isn't a good fit or something better paying comes along or you want to get out of bench work all together — whatever your reason for leaving the lab you're currently in, Bitesize Bio has a set of tips for leaving without burning any bridges.

First, Kristen Haberthur writes, let your PI know that you're leaving early on. He or she might need to start a search soon to replace you when you leave. Because of how long that process can take and how long it can take to tie up loose ends on projects you're handling, she says that the typical two weeks' notice for other fields might not be enough for a lab.

At the same time, Haberthur says to be sure to pass on any institutional knowledge you've gathered along the way, such as any tweaks or tips you have for lab protocols. Also, remind your lab mates what chores you've been doing — that buffer doesn't make itself — that they might not be aware of until they find an empty bottle and find someone to take those tasks on.

She also advises organizing everything that you're leaving behind — notes, data, samples — so that it makes sense to the next person to take a look at it. And, in case it doesn't, pick up your phone when they call, Haberthur adds.