November 9, 2018, by Carla Froggatt
Why You Should Always Work Like You’re In Your Notice Period
By Charlotte Owen, BSc Hons Psychology (2011)
I’ve genuinely loved the whole of my experience working here at the University of Nottingham – read more about this here – but it’s now time to move onto my next chapter. In recent conversations about my move and when I have said I have a three-month notice period, people have reacted in a variety of ways. Most commonly, people have said that I must be finding it a drag.
The reality for me is actually very different; working my notice period has made me feel that actually the world of work could be even better if it was always like it is in your final few weeks in a job, and here’s why:
1. Praise is given in bucket loads
If like me, your productivity increases as a result of praise, you will be in your element during the final few weeks. It’s the final few weeks where the people whose opinions you worried about for hours send emails to tell you how much you’ll be missed and recognising your consistently high level of performance. What a shame more people don’t share such wonderful thoughts more often?
2. You’ll be super efficient
A limited time frame makes you more efficient. In those final weeks, every day at work needs a good to do list and a clear plan of action. You more readily approach business-as-usual work in a project management sense, setting yourself milestones and ticking off tasks as you arrive closer to your final leaving date.
3. Worrying subsides
Even a big worrier like me is able to accept that I can only do what I can do in the limited time left. You don’t have to worry personally about the long term, because let’s be honest, it no longer affects you.
For me, this by no means that I take my foot off the pedal or my eye off the detail. On the contrary, I’m given an extra boost from the feeling of being able to live/work in the moment. I have a sharper focus. I’m no longer creating my own barriers or creating hypothetical future scenarios of what could go wrong, which previously might have deterred me from exploring exciting ideas.
4. You take time for social get-togethers with colleagues
Okay, admittedly these are usually to say “Cheerio!” but they nonetheless enhance your well-being. Instead of having lunch at your desk, or doing some ‘life admin’, you find the time to see that person who you’ve exchanged the sentence “let’s do coffee soon” with a million times.
5. You breathe in your surroundings more
Knowing it is the last time you’ll soak in various sights and sounds means you take notice more. This is particularly true when you work on a campus like Nottingham, where the surroundings are so beautiful.
You realise that particular walks you have taken for granted, might not happen many times more. A particular joy happened just this morning when I stopped to let a gaggle of geese cross at the zebra crossing, all in a line, all totally at home on our campus! Sights such as this make an even lovelier imprint on your heart when you’re acutely aware that your working environment is now temporary.
My new role resolutions
So as I finish my final few weeks, I’ve decided that I’m going to use these reflections to come up with a ‘New Role Resolution’ for my next role. This resolution is mainly linked to point number 1. I’m going to be more open in letting people know, more often, how I feel about them – professionally and appropriately, of course. That way, it won’t just be in the final cheerio email that they are clear how much I truly value their qualities.
And the benefits of this?
They’ll undoubtedly be happier and more fulfilled in the workplace knowing that they are valued. Also, a lot of well-being research shows that when you do lovely things for others, you, in turn, will be happier. Spreading kindness is a wonderful thing and from my experience, it seems that the final few weeks in a job are particularly filled to the brim with kindness!
Cheerio for now, University of Nottingham; our staff, our students, our surroundings, and of course our geese are just brilliant. It’s been the most wonderful 10 years since I stepped foot on this beautiful park for my first day as a student, and these last few weeks have been particularly special and memorable.
For more advice on navigating your first – or second graduate job, visit our working life pages. If you’re no longer in Nottingham we can also offer support remotely, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.