This blog is as good a place as any to record my transition from one job to another, and to offer some thoughts for how to approach a long notice period, particularly when you’re moving on after working at the same place for a considerable length of time.
Tip #1 – start your handover notes straightaway
This avoids the last minute panic and inevitably having to prioritise urgent work over all those ‘how to’ guides you always meant to write. It allows you, over your notice period, to record the stored-away knowledge triggered by events and the cycle of work that don’t immediately spring to mind when you attempt to write handover notes in one sitting.
Tip #2 – put aside some time for filing
Yes, all those jobs you thought were for a rainy day (or a day when the network was down) – this is that rainy day. It’s better for everyone if you leave things as you would wish them to be left for you, with documents filed away both in hard copy and on the computer network. Some might say: you’ve leaving, why bother? I take the view that you’ve been employed to do your job and you have an obligation to complete what work you can and help the department/organisation in taking forward your work after you’ve left.
Tip #3 – tell people you’re leaving face-to-face
This may not be possible across the organisation or because of different circumstances (leave etc.), but it is always preferable to impart the news yourself. The personal touch helps to maintain professional contacts and it’s polite as well! It will also help with transition/handover as there may be questions/issues colleagues want to check with you and them finding out via the grapevine later down the line may mean the opportunity to ask key questions is lost.
Tip #4 – start to plan for your next job
You’ll look unprepared and unprofessional if you turn-up on the first day waiting for someone to tell you what to do, particularly if you’re in a position of responsibility. Communicate with your new employers about current and future priorities and the development of the department or team. Ask to see key documents, such as strategic or departmental plans; job descriptions; or performance management reports. This can help you to hit the ground running and establish yourself in your new role. Let’s face it, starting a new job is a daunting and stressful time, particularly when you’ve had to relocate, and giving yourself a decent start by feeling prepared may allay some of those first day nerves.
I’ve worked at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance for nine years: a significant period of time which has seen major change in both my personal and professional life. Over that period I have built-up knowledge of how the organisation works, where to find things etc. which means, at the very least I hope, that I’m a useful signposting resource and point of contact for guidance for other staff.
This happens to be the first time I’ve handed in my notice from a permanent job (i.e. not temping) and it is interesting to observe the different reactions of colleagues to the news that I’m leaving: a few nanoseconds of surprise; questions about where I’m going; why am I leaving; wanting to ensure a good transition; suddenly telling me their ambitions to move on and assuming I’m leaving for the same reasons they want to!
With a three month notice period I’ll have the opportunity to see how attitudes towards me shift over time – perhaps gradually they’ll be fewer cc-ed emails and invitations to planning meetings etc. – I’ve always thought the organisations were ruthless beasts in that former employees, not matter how good they were, are quickly forgotten.
I may add more to this post later on in my notice period (it’s something of a long goodbye at three months). In the meantime I better start by taking some of my own advice and get on with those handover notes…