How to preserve your Google Docs after you leave your job

People who leave their jobs often leave behind many resources they had when they do. Sometimes, the loss of this information can provide problems later on. For example, if you need to look back at a past event on your work calendar to see when you did something you want to reference later on, perhaps in a resume. Once you leave a job, your google data is inaccessible to you forever. This post describes how to deal with those issues.

Note: Google frequently changes their protocols; this information is up to date as of 2018.

There are probably several areas you should consider saving:
– Your Contacts (if stored in Google)
– Your Calendars
– Your Docs/Files

Here’s how to do that:

Contacts Let’s start with the easiest.
1. In the sidebar, click “More” then click “Export”. vCards are usually the best way to get all the data for iPhone/Mac/Windows users, and for Google/Android you will want to use the CSV option.

2. Save the file it outputs to your desktop.
3. Then import it BACK into your phone or contacts app. (On a Mac, this is as easy as dragging the file over the CONTACTS icon in your Dock or just double clicking it. On Windows/Google, look for IMPORT in the file menu.)

Side note: this does NOT work for people in your contact DIRECTORY. If you want to save people into your contacts before you do this, and they are listed in the directory and note saved to your contacts, you must first save them to your contacts list. To do this:
1. Open the contacts app on your Google account.
2. Search for the person you want.
3. Next to their name in their card, click the Person icon to add it to your contact list.

Calendars This is a bit trickier, since most of us have different calendars we are subscribed to.
1. In Google Calendar (on the web) look at the sidebar and find the calendar you want to export.
2. Click the three dots next to that calendar. Then select “Settings and Sharing.”

3. In the top box, click “export calendar” and it will immediately download a .ics file to your computer with all of your calendar data in it for that calendar.
4. Repeat this process with any other calendars you want to download.

The process for restoring this depends on your paradigm of how you want to store it. If you just click it the file will automatically upload into your default calendar on most devices. I personally like to keep work/home/etc separate, so I created a NEW calendar in my PERSONAL google account that I called “archive.” Then I imported that data into the archive calendar.

Docs Docs, Sheets, and Slides pose particular problems with long-term storage outside of your work account. If most of these were created in your organizational google plan, you will not be able to access them once your account is deactivated/deleted by your IT department after you leave. You can try to change ownership, must most companies have blocked that option. So what should you do?

I found the best way is to use Google Back-up/Sync app on my desktop computer.

1. First, download and install that app on your personal device, but log-in to with your personal gmail account.

2. Then, create one big folder in your personal gmail account. I called that folder “Sync,” but you can call it whatever you want.

3. Share that share file with your work email address.
4. Log into your work account and accept the invite.
5. Then, drag all of your work docs that you want to save into the sync file.
6. Back on your personal account, right-click the Sync folder and then click “Add to my Drive.”

You should notice at this point that Google Back-up and Sync app is now downloading all of your docs and data onto your personal laptop. If that is happening, success!

One caveat: if they go into your account after-the-fact, and see that sharing, they can disable it and you will loose everything anyway. However, most of the time they just disable your account in Google Admin without looking at it, so they don’t notice it. However, if you have any critical items to save, I suggest you back that up with by duplicating the file onto your hard drive manually. That is much more time consuming, but may save you some headache.

Hopefully this post helps explain the process for saving your data from Google! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or comments!

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