You’ve handed in your resignation and are currently working your notice period. The finish line is in sight, with your new job around the corner. As you go into the last week of work at your old job, there are things you want to do, and some you should avoid at all cost.
1. Dress for success
The last week of work can start to feel like casual Friday everyday. Avoid the temptation of fuzzy slipper and sweat pants. Instead of dressing down, take it to the next level. Every day of your last week of work, you should wear an outfit that screams success. It will help keep you focused on maintaining your professionalism instead of letting your focus wonder to the new job ahead. It also creates a great last impression with your coworkers.
As an added bonus, it prepares you for your first week in your new role. If you notice you need a new item or two, now is the time to get it before you start your new role.
2. Spring clean your office life
Think of cleaning up your desk like you would think about cleaning an apartment before you move out. Clean from top to bottom and all around your physical space, as well as your digital one.
Catch up on all the filing you have been avoiding. Empty your drawers. Return any stationary you aren’t going to need for your last week of work. Remove all your photos and personal items from your desk. Recycle old papers and files. Take home any jackets or work shoes you have lying around. Wipe down your desk and computer so that it is shiny and clean for the next person to use it.
Save all documents off your desktop into shared folders. Delete your personal emails and files from your computer. Unsubscribe from newsletters on your company email. Sign out of your personal accounts. Clear your browser history, and wipe out your computer for the next person. On your last day, put an agreed upon “out of office” message on your email and phone. Don’t forget to hand in any company equipment before you leave.
Make sure that after your last day, you update your social media – like LinkedIn – to show your new company and job title. Make sure to wait until after you leave your current role so that it doesn’t seem like you are too eager to run off to your new role. Play it cool. At least until you get home on your last day.
3. Avoid the gossip train
You have made it this far without taking part in all the office gossip, so it should be easy to maintain that though your last week of work. Avoid saying anything that will portray you in a negative light even when you are no longer there to defend yourself. You never know who you will work with again. Don’t let your last impression be a bad one.
This advice extends to talking about your next position. Keep it vague. Going into all the specifics of how amazing your new role is may lead to some resentment with your coworkers. Additionally, you don’t want to give anyone the chance to bad mouth your future company. Wait to share all the details of your new role until you are in it.
4. Have a meeting with an executive whose work you admire
If there is an executive in your office whose work you admire, ask if you can have a coffee meeting with them. This is a great opportunity to ask for career advice, and get an idea what made them the success they are today. If they say no, you have lost nothing. If they say yes, you have potentially made a great networking connection.
5. Write your farewells
Take advantage of the free time you will have during your last week of work and write your coworkers farewell notes. Make it personal by thanking them specifically for assistance they gave you, or ways they supported you in your role. Include your contact details so you can catch up in the future. Go the extra mile and handwrite these notes, it makes more of a lasting impact.
6. Finish up projects or pass them on
Try your hardest to finish up projects, or at least your part in them. If this isn’t possible (and often it isn’t) make sure to hand over your work properly to your coworkers. Talk with your manager about how this can be accomplished, so that everyone in the team is aware of who is taking on what responsibility. Work with your coworkers to make sure they are fully up to speed before your last day.
This may include writing up notes or transition documents. You may need to detail out processes you follow. Hand over as much knowledge as possible. Go the extra mile to make sure everyone is prepared for your departure, it won’t go unnoticed.
7. Play it cool if you have a farewell party
If your company takes you for farewell drinks during your last week of work, remember that you are still on company time. Behave yourself, watch what you say, and be the professional you are.
End on a positive note
Just as you only get one chance to make a first impression, you only have one chance to leave a last impression. From handing in your resignation letter, to your last day, maintain your professionalism. Even though you may be tempted, don’t mentally check-out during your last week of work. Instead, remain on your best behaviour. You have worked hard to build a strong work relationship, don’t let the last week demolish them.
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