The Exit Strategy - Two Week Notices are Obsolete
As I'm sitting in my kitchen having my morning coffee prior to work, my roommate walks in through the front door (twenty minutes after leaving for work) and announces that he has quite his job. I was startled and asked him why? Did he have an argument with his boss? Did a customer take out their frustration on him? Was he fired and just too embarrassed to say so? No... He nonchalantly said “the job no longer interested me.”
Astounded, I repeated what he had said as a question. My old fashioned work mind simply couldn't believe anyone would just quite for such a trivial reason. I am the product of old fashioned work ethics manually downloaded into me by my father. I was raised to give employer's a two weeks' notice. Even though my father wouldn't have really known this since he devoted twenty years to one employer, it was in his mind common courtesy.
On the other hand, research has shown me that online opinions and beliefs is fifty percent in favor of providing a two week notice and fifty percent against it. I am in favor of providing a two-week notice. A two week notice allows your employer ample time to find a qualified replacement. This also gently closes the door between employee and employer. If in the event a former employer finds an opening, this common courtesy closing would encourage the employer to contact a favorable former employee.
The practice of giving a straight two-week notice is dead. Instead, employees need to develop smart exit strategy for leaving a job. The exit strategy is as necessary and as important as writing a resume. I firmly believe that part of your exit strategy should always include a two-week notice. Many online commenter's opinions voiced that if you were not treated well, it is not required. But how do you create an exit strategy?
Here are some suggestions and tips in creating a positive exit strategy.
You should put as much thought into leaving your job as you did in landing the job. By maintaining diplomacy and professionalism, you’ll exit in style preserving a positive employment record and work reference. In addition, you will more easily be able to continue positive and valuable relationships with your former coworkers.
Once you know you’ll be leaving a position, craft a formal letter stating your plans to resign, including your final day of work. Old fashioned as it may be, I will always encourage people to give a two-week notice. Be prepared to accept the decision of an employer to let you go earlier or even the day you give formal notice.
Keep the length of the resignation letter short and the tone professional. Be tactful and professional regarding your reasons for leaving. Always express appreciation for the career opportunity at the company. If you experienced a positive atmosphere than thank them for the overall positive working environment. There’s no need to go into detail when discussing your departure.
Schedule a face-to-face meeting with your boss and bring the letter as confirmation of your intended departure. Copies should be both emailed and hand delivered to human resources. That way, there will be written documentation of your notice and final day of work on file – electronically and a physical print form.
If your employer accepts your two week notice and decides to keep you on board for the two weeks, this is a time to be on your best behavior. It is not a time to start lagging in your responsibilities. The last impression will be the lasting impression.
Complete assignments prior to leaving or develop solutions as to how your projects can be completed once you’re gone.
If there are uncompleted projects provide detailed reports about unfinished assignments and their status. Offer to help hire your replacement and train that person.
Remember that a poorly handled Exit Strategy could come back and haunt you. The people you work with represent part of your network and may provide a reference or job lead in the future. They might even invite you back.
Don't soliciting support from current or former co-workers, this will most definitely harm your career and label you as a trouble maker.
Don't burn a bridge. The company you left yesterday may need your services tomorrow. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.
Leaving a job is strictly a private matter, do not wave your dirty laundry for other co-workers and potentially clients to see. If you have had bad relations with a manager the best policy is to remain silent and keep your reasons for leaving between the human resources manager and yourself. In the “confidential” exit interview, it will not do you any career good to 'trash' a now former manager or co-worker.
Make sure you distribute all your new contact information before leaving. This includes letting any clients you spoke to on a regular basis know with whom they can now contact. Make sure to follow the “don't air dirty laundry rule.”
In some situations, an employer may provide a counteroffer to keep you from leaving. The standing rule is that it is best to graciously decline the offer and keep your focus on the new job. If you are leaving because you are unhappy, it’s unlikely that your reasons for leaving can be resolved by more money or a new title.
Thank your supervisor for the experience (whether it was good or bad).
Say goodbyes to regular clients you had good relations with.
Say goodbye to co-workers.
Employees, employers and co-workers may come and go, but good manners are forever. Otherwise, Shakespeare would never have written, “A person is remembered for his entrances and exits.”