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Essential tips on how to hand in your notice to ensure it's a smooth ride
The thought of handing in your notice after several years of service is pretty daunting. You worry how the news will be received, and want to ensure things stay positive as you serve it out (usually 3 months in the legal profession). You might also worry about your departure’s impact on your colleagues. After all, if you like your team and get on well with your manager, you won’t like the idea of leaving them in the lurch.
But first, contract
This'll sound obvious but always check your contract before handing in your notice so you’re clear on what you’ll be paid during your notice period (including bonus payments). If you’re leaving to work for a competitor, you need to have a handle on any restrictive covenants that are enforceable. It’s important to know the facts as you might be in breach of your contract if you don’t give enough notice, or give notice verbally when your contract states this needs to be in writing.
Keeping it positive
To ensure everything remains positive and you leave on a professional note, I advise the following:
- Hand your notice to your line manager in person – it can be scary and very emotional but it will leave a much better impression than if you avoid facing things head-on
- Be concise and considered if you’re going to include/enter into a discussion about your reasons for leaving. Don’t make it personal, simply explain what your new role offers, that isn’t on offer at your current firm
- Make sure you’re ready to be counter-offered. If you’re a valued employee with strong experience then your firm won’t want to lose you. Your manager might offer you more money or a different role to try and get you to stay. Ensure you know your stance on this before handing in your notice – don’t let this catch you off guard. Think carefully about any propositions that might be made as I often find that short-term solutions (no matter how attractive they might seem) don’t resolve some of the bigger problems at stake that inspired you to search for a new job in the first place
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