You’ve done it. You’ve been offered a brand-new job. Relief washes over you, finally free of the late nights surfing job boards and the blood, sweat and tears of hiring processes.
You’re elated, and rightly so. There’s a spring in your step as you walk into the office, no, waltz into the office, with a shiny new job offer under your belt. What could go wrong?
This is the danger zone, and the time when you need to be most alert. How you act in these final months, weeks and days is how you’ll be remembered. Did you casually brag about that new company car you’d landed? About how you couldn’t wait to get away from Maureen in Accounts (she always was a gossip), or about how your new employer really recognises your worth and is giving you a prestigious management title. Sounds nauseating, doesn’t it? And you’ll no doubt have seen it before. Those colleagues you’ve always thought so highly of quickly turning into those you’re quite happy to see the back of. It’s bridge burning and then some.
There’s a saying in the restaurant trade that “you’re only as good as your last meal” and the same applies in employment. Here are a few things to reflect on as you see out your final days with your current employer:
Review your contract
Make sure you’re providing the appropriate notice to your employer as stated in your contract. This might sound obvious, but it’s easy to forget that notice periods are legally binding and failure to provide notice or serve the notice period could result in breach of contract and a potential avenue for the innocent party to bring legal proceedings. Ok, so, you might think that your employer won’t care if you duck out early and this could very well be true. However, you signed a contract at the beginning of your employment and its only right that you follow this through to its end. If you really need to leave early, speak with your employer, you might be able to come to an agreement that works for you both.
Don’t get offended
As your time comes to an end, it’s likely that you’ll feel less in the loop. Emails will be sent without you cc’d, meetings will happen without you present and decisions might be made without your input. This isn’t the time to get offended or ‘act out’, its simply the natural order of things as colleagues transition into what work will be like without you. You can offer your continued support, but don’t force it. Be a team player and put the team’s needs before your own. If this means looking after some of the more transactional tasks (and maybe those that wouldn’t usually be your bag), so be it.
Downplay your future plans
You’re excited. Of course, you are. But let’s remember that it’s only you (and your family) that share in that excitement. This isn’t the time for bragging. You can politely acknowledge your changing circumstances to others but keep it to a minimum. Think of it more as a casual nod to where you’re going next; let’s keep the dance party to ourselves and the confines of our living rooms.
Remember the long game
Unless you have the luxury of early retirement, it’s likely that your career is going to span several decades. It’s quite possible that you’ll still operate in the same circle as former colleagues, and those relationships will either serve you positively or negatively depending on their impression of you. My advice is don’t burn your bridges. You never know when your paths will cross again, so keep that flame alive. Be that teammate who could always be relied on, even in the closing stages of the game.