Resignations and layoffs aren’t strange terms in the world of capitalism, and while the latter usually comes as a surprise, it’s not often immediate. There are often a few days or weeks to tie up loose ends — the notice period, AKA that “hanging around” period when you’re not actually working but still “working”. 

We asked some 9-5ers who’ve been in this situation to share what they did — or didn’t do — during this period. Think of it as a guide.

“Just go on leave” — Wilson*, 27

I went on my annual two-week leave and then sent in my one-month resignation notice on the first day of leave. That way, I used half of the notice period to rest before returning to discuss the handover. I thought my bosses would try to cut the leave short, but they didn’t. Everything went smoothly. I advise people to do the same, especially if they’re leaving to join another job. So, they can catch a little break before jumping into the 9-5 life again.

“Steal everything” — Esther, 23

I was fired from a social media management job because I couldn’t grow the Instagram followers from 3k to 15k in two months. To make it worse, they kept me for two weeks extra to help hire my replacement. I stayed because I wanted to get my full salary, but I stole all the office milo and milk sachets. At least, I was drinking tea for two weeks for free and no one noticed, or maybe they didn’t care.

“Stop pretending to work” — Tayo, 29

My previous workplace was quite toxic and competitive. Even if you managed to finish your tasks early, you still had to make a show of being busy by announcing what you were doing so you wouldn’t look unproductive or be told you aren’t “thinking outside the box” to look for more things to solve. I used to form busy a lot by being all over Slack. 

But when they laid me off and gave me a two-week heads-up, I just stopped faking it. I did my tasks quietly within a few hours and slept for the rest of the workday. No more announcing on Slack or volunteering to do things outside my duties. I was laid off with a few other people, and those two weeks were the quietest our Slack channel ever was. Work still went on fine. I guess we all just threw busy body-ism out of the window because we knew there was no point again.

“Tell your employers your mind” — Kay, 31

When I turned in my resignation, my boss scheduled an exit interview, and I used the opportunity to tell them my mind about everything I thought they weren’t doing well. It’s not like I was fighting with them. I just finally had the freedom to talk, knowing they couldn’t use it against me or become passive-aggressive. Plus, it was up to them to take my feedback or not. It no longer affected me.

“Remove personal items” — Mariam, 22

Don’t be like me who forgot to sign out of WhatsApp on my company laptop only to find out weeks later that my account was still linked there. I cringe every time I remember how much I shit-talked my boss on a group chat with my friends or even my personal chats with my boyfriend. Jesus.

“Show them what they’ll miss” — Detola, 28

Anytime I resign from a place, I make sure to do my best work during the notice period. Most of it is due to excitement that my days there are numbered. A part of it is also to show them what they’ll miss. Like a corporate version of “You’ll never find another woman like me”. It’s petty, I know, but I absolutely love it.

“Look for another job” — Ben*, 25

I was once laid off with a one-month notice, and I used the entire period to job hunt. I’d literally be in a team meeting with my phone, and on a job interview with my laptop. I was still working o, but my priority was securing my future. I also took many sick days to prepare for interviews. The game is the game. If you like, feel guilty. Everybody will move on.

*Some names have been changed for anonymity.

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