When I decided it was time to find a new job, one of the thoughts in my mind was transition and how much notice to give. Tradition is 2 weeks right? And what can you really do in 2 weeks? For most professional level positions, 2 weeks is not enough time to review the position, post, accept applications, review, interview, select a candidate, and let them give the 2 weeks notice. So what’s the purpose of those 2 weeks anyway? If you were fired, there would be no transition period, the people left behind would have to figure it out. So why do we care so much when we give notice?
In my last 3 jobs, a new job also included relocation, so I gave much more than the typical notice simply because it does take time to move a household. In fact, in the move to SD, I gave almost 3 months notice. Notice which I assumed would allow for plenty of time to get a replacement in and transition. But it also allowed time for procrastination. One of the things I learned is that as nice as it sounds to have a long transition time, we don’t know what to do with it.
I think we give notice out of a weird sense of obligation to our employer. We want to be “helpful.” And let’s face it, we want to know that we will be missed, at least a little bit! Giving notice gives us that last opportunity to make our mark on the place.
This time, I gave 4 weeks. And I spent some time pondering this idea of giving notice. One of our former #HRSocialHour guests Karlyn Borysenko (and I’ve heard her say this before) feels that transition is not the responsibility of the person leaving. And I whole-heartedly agree. When you give notice, your supervisor should be the one taking the lead on this, perhaps ask for your assistance, let you know what information is needed to be shared to help with that smooth transition, but we all know that if you were terminated, they would figure it out right?
And honestly, I like my supervisor, so I wanted to give him some assistance as I was leaving, knowing that others unfamiliar with my duties would be required to jump in, with little to no outside assistance. I have never wanted to be indispensable (we are all replaceable in the workplace), but in this situation, I opted for a slightly longer notice. Plus, I also get to enjoy one last Native American Day that I won’t get at my new job.
So, I did what I always do and asked the #HRTribe on Twitter for their best advice. Much of it confirmed what I was already doing/planning to do. Most of their advice revolved around the classic HR word: Document. Document project status, what’s critical, passwords, processes. Are there deadlines that others need to be aware of? Regular monthly tasks that need to be completed? Document those so the next person isn’t caught too unaware. Give the people still there a list of who they might need to talk to regarding issues that may arise and give the new person a helping hand, especially if there is no crossover for training.
This is essentially what I did. I documented what I could. Trained who I could. Shared what I could. A few people have been given permission to call with questions. But I know that I am walking away and not looking back.
Your input confirmed I am on the right path!