Two weeks’ notice is the standard rule of thumb, but what about all that stuff that need to happen to properly close out and clear your mind? This week’s post tackles how to plan for your ideal start date.
In the jobs that I’ve left, I usually felt loyalty toward the company and people I’d been with for a number of years. I felt guilty, guilty, guilty and this may be the case for you too. Just remember that you have chosen to leave – for a number of reasons – and have accepted a position at another company. This company has extended an offer and is excited to welcome you onboard, so it’s time to say goodbye and start planning for your next chapter.
Does that mean you give notice, pack up your desk and walk out? Definitely not! You want to leave on amiable terms because your old employer will serve as a reference for you in the future.
The standard in our industry is to provide 2 weeks’ notice. If you believe or are told that more notice is necessary, keep in mind the message this sends to your new employer. They are excited for you to join the team and tackle your new role. Lengthy delays suggest that you don’t share their enthusiasm or aren’t serious about leaving. It’s as if you committed to a new relationship but kept dating the ex. You’re a smart person. You don’t need me to tell you that’s a bad idea.
Recharging the Batteries
You also want to consider yourself and your state of mind. Has your current position been mentally draining? Do you need some “me time” to for a smiley start in your new role? It’s important to walk into a new job feeling refreshed and energized. Your new employer is expecting to see the animated and assured person they interviewed, not a burnt-out, fried crisp or a hologram.
Only you can decide the right amount of time – it could be a weekend or a week, but any more than that feels gratuitous. The idea is to allow yourself to mentally break free from your previous responsibilities and deliverables, reset the slate, and give you closure with your old colleagues and clients.
So how do you grab some time to refresh and still keep everyone happy?
Plan and Communicate
My best advice is to plan ahead. Once you start interviewing, you may receive an offer in as little as a week. Think about what you want to accomplish before you start a new job, e.g. taking a trip, closing out your vacation days, even completing an important project or campaign launch. Let your recruiter know about your plans and when you can be available to start. It works out better for everyone if you set expectations early in the process.
What Not to Do
I once scheduled my last day for a Monday and started a new position on Tuesday. This was one of my biggest regrets. I never fully separated myself mentally from my previous position and was therefore in a distracted fog for the first few weeks at my new job. I thought I was doing my old employer a favor by coming in that Monday to finalize some year-end billing, etc… but they could have managed without me. I thought the agency would fall apart upon my departure but it didn’t. Of course, you can play the hero and stay longer… but why put yourself and your awesome new job last? Get your sense of priorities straight and stick to your guns.