After hours of job searching, endless applications and a dozen interviews, the feelings of satisfaction that comes from handing in your notice are almost unparalleled. Even if you had no ill feeling towards your current employer, the excitement that comes with looking forward to a new job has the potential to impact how you perform in your last few weeks. The way you approach the transitionary phase between leaving one job and going to another can have serious implications on your future career. No matter where your emotions are at this point, there are a few things you should consider about handling the final moments in your old job.
It’s understandable that you might get caught up in the excitement of landing a new job, but you need to be sure you follow the proper procedure in place. This means giving the right amount of notice time, typically this is at least a month. Most companies will require you to write an official letter of recognition too. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or detailed, just to express your desire to leave and giving your final date of employment. Any details as to the reasons for leaving, any gripes with the company or colleagues should remain as something you have as a conversation, not as part of your recognition letter. In the worst-case scenario, failure to hand in an official notice could mean a delay to starting your exciting new job as your contractually obliged to work out the required notice period.
There is often a tendency when you’re about to leave one job where the motivation to do the work completely evaporates. Remember that you’re still being paid to carry out your responsibilities, despite being on the way out. Leaving one job on a high is achieved almost entirely by remaining professional and working hard to solidify your legacy at the company. You want to be remembered for the right reasons, and not do anything that’s going to burn bridges; you never know how valuable that business relationship may be in the future.
The first and most important question that’s going to be asked is ‘why?’. In some cases, you’ll have to be prepared to answer this question a few times. As with anything, be honest about your reasons, but be respectful. You’ll gain nothing from bad mouthing the company or colleagues. So talk about an exciting project or opportunity rather than talk down about where you’re leaving. Another important thing to note is that your boss and colleagues are likely to ask you about the pay and benefits of the new company. Be aware that you are under absolutely no obligation to share this information. In fact, your boss may even use this to create a counter offer for you; and that’s not necessarily a good thing.
So it may be the case that you’re a critical part of the team and they want you to stay. However much this may feed your ego, remember the reasons that you wanted to move on and don’t be tempted by the money. Considering a counter offer will not only give power back to the employer, but there would be an inevitable delay in getting started with the new job; you don’t have much leeway on the first impression!
The discussion with your manager about moving on is likely to be a difficult one, but it’s a conversation that should always end with you thanking them for the opportunity. Remember there’s every chance that part of the reason you landed the new job was down to some of the opportunities they gave you. Making the effort to thank your manager will go a long way to retaining the positive relationship you spent time developing and will help maintain that network.
There’s going to be a lot of work to cover in your absence. Make sure any projects you were responsible for are either closed off or handed to somebody who knows how to manage it. If somebody is being brought in to replace you, it can be a great help to prepare a handover document or be willing to spend time with them introducing them to relevant people, systems and procedures in place for doing your job effectively.
There will be few better opportunities to recharge and reset your mind before starting off your new adventure. If you can afford to take it and have agreed to the start date with your new employer, the benefits to taking a few days off can be endless. You’ll be refreshed, relaxed and clear headed for the first day. You’ll have the chance to reflect on your time at the last company, giving you chance to properly understand what was good and bad about it. And away from work, a bit of free time to enjoy some hobbies or personal projects, where you may not have the time or opportunities after getting stuck into the new job.