Picture this familiar scenario: You’ve been for a job interview, the company loves you – it’s a match! Your new employer makes you an offer, and you’re just itching to start your new job. But then, you check your existing employment contract, and as bold as day, in black and white, you see the words “employees must give three months’ notice”. So now you sit with your head in your hands, wondering how to survive your notice period.
Working your notice period can feel like a prison sentence. Even if you’re moving on from a job you love, your mind has something new to focus on. Therefore, you may struggle to find the motivation you need to keep going until you leave.
Leaving your old job on a high note will allow you to start your new one with a clear conscience. To enable you to do this, we’ve written this handy guide to help you survive working your notice period.
Is it Bad Not to Work Your Notice Period?
Once you decide that now is a good time to leave your current position, it can be tempting just to quit and go. However, it pays to maintain your professional image and not burn your bridges; after all, your new employer will undoubtedly ask your existing one for a reference. Also, you never know when you might reencounter your current employer in future or when you might have to ask them for a professional favour.
At worst, leaving your current position without working your notice could find you in court. Legally, your current employer can pursue you for any costs they might incur due to you leaving early. For example, if the company has to hire a contractor to do your job, your existing employer may seek to claim those expenses back from you.
What to Expect When You Hand in Your Notice
Your current employer will likely have absolutely no idea you are considering leaving. Moreover, your manager will probably take your wish to depart personally and may be upset.
It is also highly likely that your current employer will make you a counteroffer. If you’ve never been in this situation before, it can be a tricky situation to navigate, but here’s how it usually plays out:
You email your boss the subject line: Notice of Resignation. After which, you feel satisfied to be leaving and moving on to new pastures. Your mind is made up, you’re going, and you expect to be able to work your notice quietly, tie up loose ends and leave unceremoniously. But your current employer isn’t going to let you go without an exit interview.
Upon receiving your resignation letter, your manager invites you into the office for an informal chat. At first, they sing your praises, telling you what a fantastic job you’ve done for them and how sad they are to see you leave. Later on, the tone of the conversation changes, and you begin to feel under pressure. Your boss wants to make you an offer you can’t possibly refuse to stay with the company.
Throughout an exit interview, you must keep your cool. After all, you worked hard to secure this job offer and to reject it now would be madness! However, your existing employer will want to make you believe that the opposite is true. You feel put on the spot, and confusion sets in. You question whether you’re making the right decision and begin to panic.
At this point, you feel cognitive dissonance which is perfectly normal after making a significant decision that could affect the rest of your life. Your employer knows this and will play on it to try and make you stay. This is a dirty trick, but every employer does it to avoid suffering the financial burden and inconvenience of hiring someone else to take your place.
It’s a good idea to anticipate an exit interview and prepare in advance, just like a job interview. You should avoid agreeing to stay at all costs, which can negatively impact your career.
How to Keep up Your Productivity During Notice Period
When you’ve already decided to leave, you may find your mind wandering to thoughts of your new job. However, it’s important to remember that remaining focused throughout your notice period demonstrates commitment and professionalism. Therefore, it’s good to leave on a high note.
Below are a few tips for remaining productive until your last day.
- Understand what’s expected of you. Have a meeting with your manager to ensure you are both on the same page.
- Leave your old job in a better state than you found it in. You will feel much happier moving to a new job knowing you made a difference in the company.
- Leave it as you would expect to find it. Nobody wants to start a new job with a load of admin to sort out that their predecessor left behind. Don’t be ‘that guy’.
- Keep up good habits. Maintaining punctuality, writing day plans at the end of every day, being present and dressing to impress are all good habits to get into when starting a new job. If these are not habits you ever got into with your current employer, there’s no time like the present to start!
What to do if You Feel Overworked During Your Notice Period?
If you’re leaving your current position due to a hefty workload, don’t give up and hope that nobody will notice. Doing this will make you feel like you left under a cloud with loose ends untied, and nobody wants to start a new job feeling this way.
Instead, speak out and ask your colleagues for help. They will likely thank you for it long-term. The alternative would be to leave them with unexpected problems to solve after your departure, and nobody will thank you for this!
A Few Final Thoughts on Surviving Your Notice Period
When you have a new job opportunity in the pipeline, all you want to do is focus on your future career. It’s only natural to get sidetracked with daydreams of what your new job will be like, the professional connections you will make and how your life will change.
However, it’s important to remember your current role’s value to your work experience. Professionally conducting yourself during your final weeks of employment will benefit both you and your employer in the long run.
Your employer will likely make you a counter offer, putting you under unnecessary pressure. The best way to handle this is to prepare for it. Practice what you will say when they offer you twice your current salary to stay, and remember, it’s not personal: The company just doesn’t want to have to endure the financial burden of replacing you.
Being in a counter offer scenario can often induce so much stress that it puts people off applying for a new job. If this thought worries you, it might help to apply for your next role via a reputable recruitment consultant. Having someone on your side to coach you through such a challenging scenario can help you stay strong.
After reading this article, we hope you feel better equipped to navigate the choppy waters of resigning. If you enjoyed this article, please share it on your favourite social media channel where others can benefit from it too.