Just starting your notice period? You might feel a good, uneasy or even hostile atmosphere in the office amongst your colleagues or even from management in the final few weeks. How do you stay on top of your game throughout your notice period?
What shall I do in my notice period?
Have a party line ready
Be courteous and upbeat when your managers and colleagues ask about your new job opportunity or projects (if you’ve already got one lined up), but don’t go on about how much more you’ll be paid or how you got the job. You’re looking ahead to the future, but you’ll miss the team, and have lots of work to finish up in your notice period – that sort of thing. For anything deeper and more meaningful, save that for the catch-ups and lunches you’ll be enjoying.
There’s a chance that some managers and colleagues could feel disappointed that you’re leaving, or even upset. If you’ve been sent to Siberia just for having the guts to move on, this isn’t about you – it’s about those looking after their own self-interest (namely, not being interested in having more work pressure heaped on them to make up the shortfall in resource once you’ve finished your notice period). That’s for the management to resolve, not you.
Keep it friendly
Your colleagues aren’t dead to you just because you’re leaving! Now’s a good time to expand your social network, if you haven’t already; it’s always a good idea to maintain good relations with people you trust and want to work with in the near future. After all, you can get (and give) glowing references and recommendations in times of important career progression.
Don’t leave a huge inbox of work behind
Planning to make your last few weeks a combination of coasting and cat videos? Stop right there. If anything, now’s the time to cement the good reputation you’ve built. Be considerate and help complete work projects, and support other colleagues in alleviating their workload throughout your notice period.
One of the biggest concerns we hear about departing colleagues is someone taking a raft of knowledge with them that will take years for someone else to develop, so work with colleagues to create a solid handover that they’ll find useful after you’re gone. If you’re a subject matter expert then make sure to record your knowledge for posterity in a ‘Your Job for Dummies’ kind of way.
By the same token, you’re free to say no to working beyond your usual hours in the office.
Create a glowing lasting impression
End your notice period or project the way you started – with good timekeeping, meticulous attention to detail, and a positive attitude. If you’re asked for feedback, don’t feel that you have to give it on the spot; if there are large issues that factored into your resignation, address your concerns in a calm and non-confrontational way.