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Working your notice period? Here’s how to survive!

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

No-one likes handing in their notice, but at the end of day, it’s business. Your current employer would have probably seen other employees hand in their notice at some point, but that doesn’t make the process less daunting when it’s finally your turn.

Before you put pen to paper, make sure you check your employment contract to see what notice you need to legally give. You don’t want to be in a position where you have committed to starting with your new employer in four weeks only to find that your contract states a three-month notice period.

Working a notice period is a peculiar stage in anyone’s career, and with the average UK worker changing their employer every five years, the odds are that you’ll be handing in your notice more than just once. It’s also a time when you’re no longer a member of the team… each day that goes by - from the moment you’ve given notice to the day you eventually leave - you become less and less of a business attribute. That may sound harsh, but it is true nonetheless.

You may also find that you’re no longer copied in on emails, nor are you invited to attend the mid-week meeting. Sometimes you may not be asked your opinion on work related subjects as you would normally. You may even be there when your employer is busy interviewing for your position, which is never particularly comfortable. But it’s important not to be offended - the day to day running of the business still has to continue. So, be mindful of this and remember that staying positive and motivated during your final month is the key to success!

It can be tempting to be somewhat inattentive when working your notice period, especially if the reason for leaving is not a favourable one. But what taste do you want to leave in your current employer’s mouth, and how do you want them to remember you? How you act in your final period is how your employer is likely to remember you, so it’s important to not burn bridges. Make sure the way you act in your last month is in line with the effort and energy that you dedicated in your very first month.

Keeping motivated during your notice period is vital and there are many ways you can accomplish this. Try and help your current firm during the hand-over stage, prepare documents you think may be useful to them and the person who will replace you, and ensure all work is signed, sealed and delivered before you go. You don’t want unfinished work, or incomplete files re-surfacing months after you’ve left, this is very unprofessional.

Equally important is retaining those valuable contacts you have made - send goodbye emails and always be complementary about your current employer while doing so. This will reflect well on both you and the employer you’re about to leave. An email like, “I’m leaving the lovely XYZ for a new adventure”, will do the trick.

There will be a stage during your final month where you’ve done everything you possibly can and are somewhat bored, but try to remain busy! Remember, the odds are that your new employer will want a reference from your old firm. Keep busy, keep positive, keep motivated and don’t burn bridges. It’ll pay off in the end.

If you are planning your career move in 2018, get in touch with the team today. We take the time to really understand what you want from your move and match you to the roles that are right for you. We’re here to help.   

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