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If the Pope can give notice, so can you…

This past Monday, we all learned that Pope Benedict will resign as the 265th Pope in the Catholic Church at the end of February.  Telling you that it’s rare for a Pope to resign would be an understatement as the last time this happened was in 1415.   Now health concerns and age are attributed to be the determining factor but regardless it’s pretty awesome the Pope gave two, almost three weeks of notice.

In Staffing and Human Resources we are all very familiar with the concept of providing two weeks of notice to an employer.  Providing two weeks of notice is the respectful and professional thing to do after making the decision to transition into a new career.  Leaving a position without notice, in most cases, will put your employer and co-workers in a difficult position.  I’ve been in this business for over 10 years now and it’s still shocking every time an employee leaves a position without notice.  Now this is rare, but it does happen and I’m sure many of you can relate here.  Not providing adequate notice is unprofessional and is definitely a behavior that can have a negative impact on all parties involved.  Here are three reasons why providing two weeks of notice is the right thing to do:

  1. Transfer Knowledge – as a member of an organization, whether large or small, you develop a unique knowledge to perform in that role.  This knowledge is valuable to your employer and their business so do whatever you can to transfer the knowledge you have so that as you transition out of this role, your employer can continue to operate without interruption.  Whether documenting processes or training a coworker, this is of high value to your soon to be ex-employer and a great way to bow out professionally.
  2. Transition your Workload – you never want to leave any position and put your employer in a bad spot to continue operating without you.  In some cases, I’ve had employees provide 30 days of notice to adequately transition their workload or to even deliver on a critical project.  This transition could be to an existing team member or it might even be your replacement.  If you do what is necessary to properly transition your workload, you will be remembered as a great teammate and you might even retain some strong references.
  3. Exit Gracefully – it’s important to leave in a professional manner as it’s a small world and you never know when you might cross tracks with your former employer or co-workers in the future.  References, referrals, testimonies, relationships, and friendships are only a few of the many reasons to exit gracefully.  We all say Richmond is a small world because it is.  It’s amazing how often I run into someone I’ve worked with or done business with in the past, even when you think it will never happen again.  Your career will benefit in multiple ways when you exit gracefully.

I’m sure it was difficult for Pope Benedict to make this decision to resign just as it isn’t always easy for any of us to decide to take the next step in our career.  At the end of the day, I always say, it’s up to you to take ownership of your career. My recommendation is to give the proper two weeks of notice, don’t burn bridges, and maintain the relationships you create throughout the life of your career.

David Borovatz

Director of Operations

Morton Consulting