The dos and dont's of serving a notice period

Don't sprint out of there, follow the proper etiquette!

Harper's Bazaar India

The minute you put your papers in any organisation, a sense of relief washes over you. It’s the same feeling you get the moment you walk out of the exam hall after your last paper. You feel the burden on your shoulders start to lighten and the rose-colour glasses break. You have nothing to lose anymore. And as much as we would like to tell you that feeling is right, it’s wrong. There is a certain decorum you need to follow to ensure you don’t lose precious connections or your hard-earned reputation. So, as much as you want to sprint out of there, you can’t. Not before finishing the notice period. 

So, think of this as a handbook and bookmark for the next time you’re in a transitional phase.  

The Dos 

Have a conversation with your boss first  

For whatever reason you’ve decided you want to resign from your current post, don’t just send your resignation email to HR. First, have a conversation with your reporting manager as it gives them buffer time to plan their next steps or make you an offer to entice you into staying. Also, if you are confused or unclear about what you should do next, what the company policies are, or something more personal, they will be able to provide you with some insight. So, before telling your team (we’re sure your work bestie already knows) or the HR, talk to your boss.  

Give a thorough handover  

Here is your chance to leave a lasting impression. No matter how much you want to just pack up and run into the sunset on your last few days, put some extra effort into your handover. Ensure your replacement has smooth sailing for their first few weeks. Tie up all your loose ends by completing all pending projects and making a list of all the vital information you need to pass on to your replacement. 

In fact, if you can, offer to train them yourself. Spend some time with them. Once you’ve given them a basic understanding, take a back seat so they can get the hang of things while knowing you’re there to clear any doubts they might have. This may be going out of your way but this is how you create a good impression and reputation within your industry. Sometimes taking a detour can prove to be worth it. 

Preserve your network   

You’ve probably spent years building a network that consists of your managers, colleagues, clients, stakeholders, etc. Why let it all go down the drain? As soon as your resignation gets accepted and all the kinks are worked out, tell all your teammates (if you need to, take extra efforts to console your work bestie). Be patient and courteous. Reach out to your clients and customers and let them know you will be moving on. The most important part, though, is not saying your goodbyes, it’s how you preserve these connections. A small ‘how you doing’ message or interacting with them on social media once in a while is enough, but don’t shut everyone out just because they aren’t involved in your day-to-day life anymore. 

Show your appreciation  

Even if you hated every minute of working in that office, there will be a few lessons you’ve learned or a few people you’ll never forget. Your lunch partner, the person you run to every time you hear some gossip, the person who solves all your problems, and every other person who prevented you from slipping into mindless monotony every day. Take the time to make them feel appreciated. Write personalised notes or give them small gifts they can remember you by. This kindness will not go unnoticed. In fact, it will help you build bridges.   


Don’t treat your notice period as a holiday  

We get it, you don’t really care to put in efforts anymore and you’re only looking forward to the day you can wake up without a sword hanging over your head. And while that is normal and understandable, slacking during your notice period is noticeable. You may think your work is not your responsibility anymore, but to your teammates and superiors, it just comes off as unprofessional. So, don’t sit on your chair and watch Netflix shows or catch up on your sleep. Work hard till the end. 

Don’t burn bridges or bad-mouth your company  

While all you want to do in your resignation letter is tell your boss off, don’t. It’s not worth it. In the same way, don’t bad-mouth the organisation once you’re on your way out. Don’t let out information you’re not supposed to or throw your team members under the bus during your exit interview. Keep your integrity and professionalism intact and move on. Holding a grudge will only harm you in the long run. 

Don’t brag about your new role    

While you can definitely tell people you’ve received another offer, don’t go around bragging about the raise, position, or organisation you’re moving to. Of course, you can tell your boss or your work bestie but don’t talk about it constantly. Not only is it unethical, but showing off will only lead you to becoming the subject of office gossip. Be tactful.