Giving Notice…For Real

(WARNING: The term “quitting” appears throughout this piece because of its relationship with giving notice. This post is not a commentary on quitting in a general sense.)

The Analytic's couldn’t be right. The hits for my last blog entry were a record high.

What was the title that triggered so many click-to-opens, you wonder?

“Giving Notice”

Hmmmm. I had intended that title to be a play on words and an intriguing opener for musing on living with awareness, a.k.a. giving our notice to what is around and within us as we live our daily life.

Based on the surge in response though, it seemed like the literal meaning of "Giving Notice," really struck a chord.

Which prompted the question, “Are all of this post’s readers thinking about quitting their jobs?”

Maybe a lot more of us toy with the idea of giving notice than we care to admit. And there are plenty of examples from Hollywood to fuel the fire in our bellies.

To look at any of those cinematic renditions, you’d think giving notice would mean a fresh start. A clean slate. A Get-Out-of-Dodge card.


Is it?

Maybe. Maybe not.

While it seems as simple as saying, “I quit” (sometimes with relish), giving notice is truly an internal process as well as an external custom. Through the years I have given notice and been given notice many times -- and I have worked with many others who’ve been on both sides of the equation. One thing is clear: giving notice is more than just telling someone else we are leaving.

The intended satisfaction from the act of giving notice depends upon the integrity with which we engage ourselves and the other party.

If you are thinking of giving notice

Get real about your Why.

Do you know why you want to give notice? Self-inventory and reflection go a long way here.

Knowing why you want to leave can make it easier to:

  • decide whether leaving is actually the solution
  • figure out how to give notice in a way that honors the stakeholders and reflects your best self

Knowing your Why is a much bigger topic than can be covered in a handful of words (and I promised to keep these Spotlights brief as possible ;), so let me just say this: if the reason you are giving notice is for the momentary satisfaction of the shock or agony you will cause the other party, then look deeper before lowering the boom.

If you don’t know WHY the situation is no longer right for you, you won't exit the situation in a way that helps you rise and may well re-create the very same dynamic in the next offer you accept. And if the temptation to explode is still too tempting, just remember that your first priority is YOU. Don’t screw yourself in an attempt to stick it to someone else. It’s a small world, after all, and blowing up just comes back to bite you in your southern hemisphere, so to speak.

If you are sure about giving notice

Get real about your How

Once you figure out what you need and determine that this situation can no longer meet that need (or that what you want no longer fits the needs of the situation), turn your attention to the bigger picture. How would it be best to approach the act of exiting, for all concerned?

Think of the organization,the stakeholders, and the person you know yourself to be. Let these guide you in planning how you break the news and how you exit.

Here’s a taste of the self-inventory you can conduct like a checklist:

  • Are you calm and centered when you are about begin the conversation?
  • Do you break the news when the other party has a moment to absorb it?
  • Are you grounded enough to handle their response with elevated consciousness?
  • Do you offer suggestions for your replacement or on how to ease the transition?
  • Are you proactive in tying up loose ends?

None of us can control how others respond to our actions or to us. Ultimately, giving notice is as much an expression of ourselves as the way we do anything else. Personally, I say if you need to move on, do it with class. After all, who doesn’t like to travel in style. ;)