I Just Gave Two Weeks' Notice – How Should I Handle It?
Giving your notice can be a time for excitement and anticipation of a new and challenging opportunity ahead. How you handle that transition is important, though, and will leave a lasting impression about you when you leave. A few of our expert recruiters share their advice for what to do and what to avoid during those last two weeks on the job. Keep your reputation intact by following their advice.
Hold Your Tongue
As much as you would like to, don’t tell off that manager you've always wanted to confront. This will only alienate them and others. It’s a small world; you never know when you may run into or even work with these people again. And as tempting as it might be, don’t brag about how you are going to a superior company for more money that treats people better. This may hurt morale and will likely make you look bad.
Share Helpful Feedback
During the exit interview, it’s ok to give constructive feedback if you feel it’s necessary and will be helpful to the company. Be focused and professional if you do. Avoid coming across as disgruntled or bitter – it will reflect poorly on you. It’s always nice to also share how much you enjoyed working there. The goal is to leave with a good reputation (and a company feeling happy they hired you and sorry you are leaving).
Complete Your Work
Keep your head down and focus on getting your work done. Do all you can to complete assignments and projects, and do so professionally and thoroughly.
Document your work so that once you’re gone, there will be helpful notes for your co-workers and for the person who will be taking your job. If you overlap with your replacement or with a contractor brought in to cover the work, give them the time, attention and detail they need to smoothly transition into the role.
Thank your bosses for the opportunity they have given you, and for all you have learned while there. These folks will be your references someday, and you want to preserve those relationships. And don’t forget to enjoy your going away party!
A common mistake during the last two weeks on a job? Talking too much about the new company and the opportunity you have secured, and (maybe inadvertently) giving the impression that it’s better than the place you’re leaving. Less is more when discussing where you are going and why you are leaving.
Be Respectful of the Situation
Work with your manager to determine exactly how they would like you to address your departure to your team. Refrain from texting your colleagues and work friends after you leave to tell the “real” story. News will travel, and this will reflect poorly on you.
You will likely need your manager as a reference in the future, so be respectful. Never say anything disparaging about your current company (even if it’s true!). It can be tempting when you leave a job and company you hate to tell people off, but there is no advantage long-term and it will only feel good momentarily. Taking the high road is hard when you’ve been wronged, but it’s a small world and you have already won by getting a new, better job! While it doesn’t happen often, if your job offer falls through, you may want the opportunity to stay longer if your employer will have you.
Leave Everything Tidy
Don’t drop the ball! The most important thing you can do over the next two weeks is to smoothly transition your duties, projects and responsibilities to others within your organization. Make sure people know what you were working on, any upcoming deadlines and any difficult issues you’ve been grinding through. Show and train others on what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. Spend the time tying as many loose ends as you can and provide your manager with a short write up summarizing the work that still needs to be done.
Don’t stroll into work whenever you feel like it and leave right after lunch. Your employer is still paying you for the two weeks. Make sure you give them an honest days’ work. You will reap the benefits of people commenting on your professionalism and the great work you did.
Leave Them Wanting More
I recently had a direct report leave and I felt like she worked out her notice perfectly. She worked hard, wrapped up projects, made notes for people taking over, still spoke well of the company and was wonderful to be around. She had the chance to do less work, be negative or call in sick, but she didn’t. She finished strong and that helped her leave on very positive terms. It made me want to be the best reference for her and hire her again if I ever have the chance.
Be proactive and helpful in the transfer of knowledge over the course of those final two weeks. It is easy for people to let their work ethic slip once they have given notice, but it’s never a good idea. Those final two weeks can leave a more lasting impression than your entire tenure with the organization. Do what you need to give your team an easy transition once you leave; stay late, work through lunch, create process documents for the team to reference, etc. Once you are wrapped up, give out your personal contact information and be willing to answer questions, should the team have them after you depart.
Make the last two weeks of your job memorable, positive and even a bit fun for you and your teammates. Taking the high road feels much better than being bitter.
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