How to Avoid Being the Walking Dead

Once you give your notice to leave work often one of two things can happen:  you can be asked to complete a long list of items before you leave or everything you are working on is taken away from you immediately and you are left being bored until you leave.  The second can be referred to being a dead man/woman walking.

In my case, I really disliked the idea of being part of the walking dead.  I’ve never really been good at doing nothing and in fact I’ve been know to leave jobs that have long stretches of having nothing to do.  So I will admit, I had a plan to account for this situation should it come up.

You see I had a discussion with my boss a long while ago about the need to document my current responsibilities prior to leaving.  So we added a project to my work plan to do just that and for the last year or so I’ve been steadily working away at developing support documents so someone else can do my job.  While I had most of those done prior to giving notice I still have one major piece that I have barely started.  I did that on purpose.  Why? Because the project doesn’t depend on anyone else.  I have a lot of freedom on how this gets done and it is important for the company that it get completed prior to me leaving.  Hence it is really unlikely I will run out of work to do prior to leaving and that can save me from starting out the window wondering why I’m here (more so than normal ;0 ).

Also in my case, it appears my work would love me to keep plugging away at a series of tasks until the last minute.  So in short, while I planned to not be the walking dead, it won’t be an issue for me anyway.  Oh well, I rather have  a plan that I don’t need rather than be bored at work.

So have you ever been part of the walking dead?  What did you do about it?

4 thoughts on “How to Avoid Being the Walking Dead”

  1. While it seems only fair when changing jobs or retiring to give as much notice is possible, typically as you have noted work does dry up and things you thing will take a long time to do usually can be done in days. Based on my experience I’d make the notice period no more than a couple of weeks but offer to be available to answer any questions that might (and usually do not) arise.

  2. @Sheryl – I’ve hear from another HR professional that a long notice really is only for the employer’s benefit and from the employee point of view you should make it as short as possible. I sort of went a bit on the long side because I like my boss and I knew I would be taking 6 weeks vacation right before I left. I could have made it a bit shorter, but I’m not that worried about it. Thanks for the advice.

  3. How much notice did you give exactly? The standard 2 weeks or more?

    Most peoples last couple days will likely be saying your good byes and final closing of files. Beyond that, you did well in planning for it with your company.

    Knowing you will be retired soon, do you find it difficult to stay focused on your remaining tasks or is your mind “still in the game”?

  4. @Matt – I gave them a long notice period (3 months), but I’m on vacation for half of that (6 weeks). As to keeping myself in the game, so far not too bad but what I have noticed is a very clear idea of what matters vs what doesn’t matter at this point. I’m avoiding getting involved in new work and trying to clear up as much as possible my existing projects or get them ready to be shifted to someone else.

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