How to stay relevant after turning in your resignation

Most people suggest a minimum of two-weeks’ notice when you decide to leave a job, and offering a little more notice if you want to leave your job on good terms. Due to extenuating circumstances, I ended up giving my current employer almost five months’ notice before leaving.

I don’t recommend offering this much notice, but an impending maternity leave in my department made me feel that giving my employer a lot of extra time to cover his bases was only fair — especially since I made the decision to move early. I felt it would have been dishonest to train to cover my colleague’s maternity absence when I knew I was leaving a month before her due date.

It can be very difficult to stay relevant in your position when your employer and colleagues know you’re on your way out. The last thing I want to do is coast, though. Not only would it make my last few months boring and unchallenging, it would jeopardize my positive reference by leaving a bad final impression with my office.

Here’s how I’m staying on top of my game.

Let your employer know that you’re not finished yet.

If you turn in your resignation letter early like I did, be sure to let your employer know that you’re committed to the job 100% until your last day. Not only did I write it in my resignation letter, but I told my employer face-to-face that it was important to me to finish what I’d started there, and that I still had a lot of work to do before my last day.

Set up your replacement for a smooth transition.

We all develop a personal organization system that works for us in our jobs, but sometimes your personal system can be difficult for anyone else to decipher. If you’re one of these people, spend some time reorganizing your files and creating process documents to make it easy for your replacement to hit the ground running.

Tie up loose ends tight.

Now is the time to not only finish all of the projects you’ve started, but take extra time to make sure everything is done perfectly. Don’t be tempted to “phone it in” as you approach your final day. Your laziness will be apparent once you leave, and it could lead to a negative reference even if you were a perfect employee until your resignation.

Take initiative on new projects.

You may not be the first person your employer considers when it’s time to start new projects, but take the initiative and remind him or her that you’re still a dedicated employee right up until your last day. If you have time to tackle something new, do it.

What are your suggestions for staying relevant in the final months or weeks before leaving a job?

Photo by saraab

5 thoughts on “How to stay relevant after turning in your resignation

  1. The Non-Student

    When I gave notice at my last job, I actually found my replacement, too! We had this fabulous intern at the time, and I knew she’d do the job perfectly. So, right after giving notice, I said, “You know, you should really hire K. She’s reliable, motivated, and does a great job on everything we ask her to do.” And they hired her!
    .-= The Non-Student´s last blog ..An Unexpected Dinner Guest =-.

  2. jonathanwthomas

    I was wondering how you were handling this since you very publicly talked about the move on the blog.

    My last employer had a tendency to fire you on the spot if you put in notice, so when I found a new job, I waited until the last payday before I started the new job and just quit. No gaps in paychecks, thankfully.

    They didn’t mind. Everyone expected it.
    .-= jonathanwthomas´s last blog ..BBC Apps Finally Coming to the iPhone This Spring =-.

    1. Karen

      Yes, I was really nervous about putting notice in so early, but I felt it was necessary since the timing of my colleague’s pregnancy works out so that she’ll be leaving around the same time as me. We work closely in our department, and we’re pretty much it, so it really would have screwed them if I hadn’t let them know in advance.

      My hope was that my employer would appreciate the fact that I put my neck on the line to give him that much notice, and he did. He knows it wasn’t necessary, and that by putting in that much notice I was making myself vulnerable to early termination, but he appreciated it and pretty much let me choose my final date.

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