Working your notice period in retail jobs can be incredibly frustrating. It's tempting to just pack up your stuff, nick as much free stationery as you can and move on through the nearest fire exit, but you've still got a few weeks left to work. You just want to go out and enjoy yourself with your work colleagues and do as little work as possible but you know you shouldn't. So how do you survive your last few weeks and still leave on good terms?
While you're still there ...
Think before you do anything silly, it could jeopardise your future. It might be tempting to sit playing on Facebook or sit making paper aeroplanes all day, but remember, not only are you still getting paid to work there, but you may work with them again in the future. Retail is a close-knit sector, you upset the wrong people and it could be the end of your retail career. Denise Taylor, author of How to Get a Job in a Recession, believes you have to stay positive in this situation.
“Whatever you do, don’t switch off from your job or get moody about having to be there,” she says. “You may not need your boss for a reference right now but you probably will further down the line. You should also keep colleagues’ contact details because you never know when you will run into them again.
“Help your manager to train your replacement and make sure you leave everything in good order. You’ll probably find that the time passes more quickly if you apply yourself to your job.”
Notice period law is a complicated area and lawyers make a very good living out of the problems it creates. Don’t do anything that could give your employers a reason to avoid paying your full salary and any other bonuses, benefits or perks you used to be entitled to. If you work your notice period in full – and don’t ring in sick every other day – you should get everything you are due.
Starting again is daunting, so leaving a retail job can be very stressful. Life and career coach Joanne Mallon advises that you take a long-term view of the situation.
“It certainly is a stressful situation,” she says. “But if you’re leaving under difficult circumstances your boss will be aware of this. In some ways this can make it easier because you both know where you stand. When I’m coaching people who hate their job, their attitude and outlook often improve immensely once they start forming an escape plan.
Doing something you dislike for a short time is much more bearable than thinking you’ll be stuck somewhere forever. “Try to see that this is only a short period of time in your working life. Future employers could go to your current boss for a reference any time, so try to leave on as good a note as you can.”
A few basic tips:
Don’t burn your bridges – You may want to tell your boss where to go, but refrain from making your true thoughts known, you never know when people from the past will cross your career path again in the future and you want to get a good reference from them.
Don’t bad-mouth your boss/colleagues/company even after you have left – Just because you don’t work there anymore, it doesn’t mean it won’t get back to them. Bad-mouthing can only create a worse impression of you, not them.
Don’t ring in sick when there’s nothing wrong - You don't want to give them a reason not to pay you, it's an easy thing for them to do.
Don't spend all day twiddling your thumbs – The time will pass quicker if you’re busy and engaged with your work.
Don’t try to steal clients, lose or delete important information – This could be seen as breaking your contract, theft or destruction of company property and you don’t want to be breaking the law or losing your entitled wages.
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