Most of us have, during the course of our careers, resigned from a position and given the required notice to our employer.
When you want to/are required to work your notice, what you do during that period and how you do it doesn’t go unnoticed.
How you work your notice says a lot about you and your character, and can leave a lasting impression on your former colleagues and manager.
We get that it’s hard to focus on your old job because you’re probably looking forward to, and planning, how you’re going to love your new job.
Make a great last impression
I’ve had team members resign and put more effort into their job during their notice period.
These are the high performers, who want you to remember that they gave you 100 percent, even up to the last minute.
These are the people who realize they might be letting other team members down by leaving and who don’t want to leave them in the lurch.
These are the team members who care. They care about others. They care about their reputation. And they're savvy enough to know that word gets around, and people notice how you work your notice.
These are the people who know they might need you someday and to not burn their bridges.
Or make them glad you're gone
Then there are the "others".
These people are checked out, mentally and often physically. You can read it in their body language. They almost roll their eyes and sigh with frustration when you ask them to do something.
They choose to stop coming to meetings. They work only exactly what they have to, and they only produce exactly what you ask them to.
These are the people that, when asked to handover tasks to others, do the bare minimum. And you only find that out afterwards, when the next person doesn’t know how to do something.
They leave you stuff to clean up, to correct and to finish.
These are people who really don’t care what you think. They’re just doing the minimum to get through that notice period.
Unfortunately for them, they don’t realize the lasting impact this has — not only on their manager, but also on their former colleagues.
There's nothing like breathing a sigh of relief when someone leaves to generate a positive reference! Not.
What will be on your work "tombstone"?
I liken this to that old obituary exercise. Think about what you’d like to see in your obituary or on your headstone. Which sounds better?
Worked hard, to the last day and never let the team down.
Did only what was required, never more and never less. Left a mess.
There aren’t that many things in life that we can control, and we can’t always even control when we leave a job.
But we can control how we leave.
Think about that final thought someone has of you as you walk out of work for the last time. And think about what it says about you as a person.
Do you really want them to think "that didn’t come soon enough”?
Your turn: Do you have any good or bad departure stories to share? What would be on your "tombstone"?