If you’re a Millennial, get used to learning how to manage your last two weeks at work. According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn, Millennials will have four job changes by the time they are 32. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the best things to keep in mind when switching jobs is: maintain your relationships!
If you haven’t figured it out by now, you will soon learn that a lot of people get jobs because of relationships. Whether someone alerts you to a job, or you get a great recommendation for a job, or even just to have a mentor throughout your career, people are what propel you forward in your jobs. That’s why, when you’re leaving your job, it pays to take your last two weeks seriously.
Leaving a job soon and not sure what a proper last two weeks looks like? There are a few things you should, and shouldn’t do, when finishing out the last two weeks at your job. Here are a few tips on handling those last 10 days!
Give At Least Two Weeks
In many industries, giving a two week’s notice (i.e. alerting your boss that you will be leaving the company in 10 days) is standard. However, that really depends on the organization and your place in it.
If you’re pretty high in your organization and several people report to you, you may be asked to give longer than two week’s notice. The more complex your projects are and the more people you oversee, the harder it will be to replace you and to manage the people you leave behind while finding and training your replacement. If this describes your job, you may be asked to stay on longer.
If, however, your projects aren’t complex, you have coworkers that do a similar job, and you don’t manage any other employees, you’re probably fine to give just a two week’s notice.
Also, make sure to hand in a physical copy of your two week’s notice to your supervisor. While you’ll also need an electronic copy for documentation and to provide to Human Resources (HR), it’s just considerate to speak to your boss face-to-face when ending your time at the company.
Don’t Offer to Work for Free
One mistake I see, especially with Millennial women, is over-apologizing and being overly-helpful in the transition process. When handing in your two week’s notice, you may feel bad for putting your company in the position of having to hire and train a new person. You may feel bad for your coworkers who have to take on more work, and you may feel bad for having to turn down an important project your boss gave you.
The fact is: that’s life. You weren’t the first person to leave your company, and you won’t be the last. Others have left the company in probably a lot worse shape so, if you’ve given your two week’s and are confident you can transition your projects to someone else as best as possible, that’s all you owe your company.
The worst thing you can do is offer to come back or work after hours (after you’ve left the company) to “help” during the transition. A good boss won’t take you up on this offer, but unscrupulous bosses will… and who wants to work for free?
Work on Transitioning Your Projects
In some cases, after you leave, your coworkers may complain about your work ethic or the work you left behind in order to get out of taking on more work. You don’t want to get the reputation of poor work quality, even after you leave, so once you’ve given your two week’s notice, immediately start the transition process for your projects.
Ideally, your supervisor will sit down with you and go over your projects, determining which one of your coworkers will take on which responsibilities. If they don’t initiate this process, try to get a meeting with them to go over this transition plan. If you’ve worked with certain coworkers in the past and know people familiar with your work, you may even suggest people for your projects to help out your supervisor.
Once you know who will be taking on your projects (even if that person is the replacement you), document all the steps to complete your projects. Document your regular tasks, especially if they involve technology or special software. You basically want to leave behind at least a one page explanation of every project and responsibility you have, detailing how to do it.
This tracking document doesn’t have to be long, only one page per project, but it needs to have a comprehensive overview so that someone could reasonably complete or do your job without having to ask your supervisor one million questions. Save this document in a folder that everyone on your team can access, if possible, and send a copy to your supervisor so they can pass it on.
Continue Building Relationships with Certain Coworkers
In your last two weeks of work, you don’t want to spend time with every coworker, answering every question about where you’re going and why. Especially if you’re leaving for a negative reason (like leaving a bad company culture), you don’t want people to pry and second-guess your motives. All it does is create drama and keeps you from finishing your transition documents!
Once you notify your supervisor of your last two weeks, ask if you can send a brief email to colleagues explaining your departure on a certain date and to say where you’re going (if you want to disclose that). Some supervisors will prefer to send this email out themselves, some will want to announce it at a staff meeting, and some will let you do it. Either way, get the message out to general coworkers with as little fanfare as possible.
As far as coworkers you want to keep in touch with, especially supervisors you will need references from in the future, schedule lunches or coffee dates with them in your last two weeks. You don’t need to go into details why you’re leaving, especially if it’s not on good terms, but share with them as much as you’re comfortable and let them know you enjoyed working with them.
Many of these coworkers will want to stay in touch, so give them your email address and send a follow up email, inviting them to stay in touch. You don’t need to be best friends with them, but occasionally send them emails once you’ve left the company, especially with links to interesting news or other articles they may find interesting.
Basically, what you want to do is maintain good relationships with good coworkers. Even if you never end up needing them for anything (doubtful), it’s always good to be in occasional contact with professionals. And in all likelihood, you may need them for a reference, they may need you for one, or you may pass job leads back and forth.
Giving your two week’s notice can seem daunting at first, but there are a lot of things to do in those last two weeks. By staying focused, you’ll get through your final two weeks as a professional and leave on a positive note, on to bigger things!
What recommendations do you have for someone who’s leaving their job? Any professionals tips or even horror stories you’d like to share?
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