I often hear people say that their replacement is hopeless and slow to learn. Then someone reminds them that they were once exactly like them until they had mastered the fundamentals of their job. Proud of their achievements and unwilling to see everything they have accomplished fall by the way side they use the precious little time they have left in their role to train the new employee. If this has been you, you will know that you never quite have enough time to properly train your replacement. So do you ask your new employer for an extension to your starting date to ensure your replacement gets the necessary training they need to succeed?

I can already sense the eyebrows rising…she’s asking what?! A quality candidate could take up to three months to train to a standard where they could be confident to go it alone. The current employer may be happy with this arrangement, but the new employer may question where your loyalty lies. You may be indebted to those you leave behind, but you can retain those contacts without jeopardising your new role. In other words, do not short change a great opportunity for your future for a short term obligation. Consider contracting yourself to your former employer for a short period of time. The arrangement may involve email contact outside of your new business hours. Be careful not to be too generous with your time, you may burn yourself out and perform poorly in your new job.

The official starting date you have set with your new employer is something that you should stick to. You have made a commitment and it is important that you are true to your word. Four weeks’ notice is widely acceptable and a new employer will often wait that period of time when they know they are getting a quality new recruit. Any longer because you want sufficient time to train your replacement and you may risk your job offer being rescinded. Not an ideal scenario. If you have given sufficient notice, you have given your soon to be former employer time to hire a replacement that you can train before you disappear. So be aware, ultimately the training of the new employee is not your concern.

Focusing on leaving your house in order is what you should concentrate upon. Whether it appears likely that you will be given the time to train your replacement or not, you can ensure everything is in order for a smooth handover. If you are extra efficient you will have compiled written training manuals for each of the tasks you undertake in your role. You may even train current staff in some of your duties so that they may later train the new employee. If there is anyone struggling to see why it’s not okay to leave a new employer hanging, ask yourself this; would you make yourself available for a former boyfriend/girlfriend for an unknown length of time if they wanted you to stay for a few more weeks? It seems a little unhealthy and ignorant of the reality of your departure. A clean break is recommended.

New recruits carefully ponder the parameters of their new job including the day they start. Many look to take a week’s break to rejuvenate and prepare. It is not often though that one would postpone their starting date to train their replacement. The exception may be when they are leading a major project. A new employer is looking to be impressed. If they first have to negotiate a delay in you joining them, they may come to believe that you’re not actually invested in them and seek a more willing candidate. So remind yourself why you are taking the job in the first place and establish a new set of challenges to achieve in your new role. Turning over a new leaf and living for the present and not the past may prove very rewarding.

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