Question 302 of 365: How much notice should you give?

Making a decision is the hard part, but letting everyone know requires skill. You have to be tactful and allow everyone their own time to process. You have to pay respect to everything that has come before, but the clean break is so enticing. You want to run as fast as you can to your new opportunity, but tying up all of your loose ends is the only way that everything will get done.

So, you spend a day packing up your stuff. Everything goes in boxes and into your car. Everything that you have worked on and seen through to completion will seem small and insignificant. And you will realized just how much you coasted on those accomplishments because they are what you are known for. Even if you did a great many things, the ones in these boxes are going to be your legacy. The plaques and the notes and the computer cords. These are the objects you now have to remember your time and how others will too.

You spend a few more days telling everyone what you would have done if you stuck around. You forecast how everyone will have to pick up where you left off. You will write things out for those who will fill your shoes, even as they attempt to get a different pair to stand where you did. You tell everyone that you will miss them and you spend a few moments with each one in remembrance of  time gone by. And you will regret for brief seconds what will never be.

You spend one day going to every meeting you possibly can and alerting everyone to your new job opportunity. You will then go on and make sure that everyone has your correct contact information and that they know they can come to you for anything that needs explanation. Your meetings will be short because there is nothing left to say when you can’t have any action items. So, you disseminate all of your information and you go. That is pretty much all that anyone in the meeting has in them.

Two days are spent wishing that everything would just hurry up and you could move on. You avoid every contact you have in the hopes that no one will try and give you anything more to do before you leave. You eat by yourself in your office, if you stay at your office at all. You come in late and leave early, otherwise. You are a ghost because nothing of importance can be saddled on you, and you want it to stay that way. You want none of the credit and none of the blame for the things that are decided. You just want to slip out of the back door and let everyone go on without you.

One day is spent telling your bosses. They will be shocked and they will try and get you to stay. They will tell you about all of their big plans for you and how the next few months are going to be better. They will go through all of the stages of grief in a 20 minute cycle, and then they will start the cycle again. They will snub you the rest of the day, and unless you are careful, they will start to backtrack every compliment they have ever said about you. You will stand by your bosses and not say a word while this happens. They have every right to be mad about your departure, and you have every right to leave. You both know this.

Two additional days will be required to send and respond to emails. Each person you know in the organization will ask for a reason why, and you will provide them with one, you owe them one. The emails will be short and long, but they will all question how happy you will be in your new position. They will appeal to reason and to duty as if you hadn’t already made your decision. They will also be happy for you, but this will be a veiled insult about the fact that you have gotten out while they remain. They will lament how much more work they will have to do now that you are gone, and they will malign your timing. You, of course, will not care. Your responses will all be open invitations for praise and reminiscing. You will love all of it.

And that is how you will spend your two weeks of notice. Those events can happen in any order, but expect them to occur in quick succession. You may experience some compacting or expansion of these events, but they will all be major part of your life for as long as you are at your old company, school district, or organization. This is a part of the process. Take it and run with it.

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