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"Some people bring joy and happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go." - Anonymous
Whether you are retiring or leaving your current job to take another, once you set a date to leave your current employer, it's not uncommon for your work habits and attitudes to change. You may find it difficult, or even unappealing to concentrate on tasks. You may find yourself irritated by little things you used to accept as "part of the job," or, the flip side, you may adopt a flippant attitude about things you used to feel were important. These are symptoms of a condition casually known as "short timer's syndrome."
Short-timer's syndrome, or STS, has been studied and documented since the early 20th century. Basically, it refers to a shift in morale, rise in anxiety and withdrawal from commitment that may accompany change. Change can be difficult, scary and even liberating, so it is natural that your actions and attitudes change in anticipation. But, your last impressions can be just as important as first impressions, so you need to be aware of the image you project, even if your time with your colleagues is winding down.
Many companies may ask a resigning or retiring employee to leave within a day or two of the individual giving the customary two weeks' notice to avoid some of the negative impact of STS on remaining staff, productivity and the company's bottom line. While they probably don't mean to, short-timers may poison the morale of colleagues they are leaving behind, especially if they openly gloat about leaving or shirk their regular duties, leaving others to pick up the slack. Other concerns about short-timers from the employer's perspective may include theft, sabotage and corporate espionage.
Here are some things you can do to avoid being seen as a "lame duck" and remain productive in your final days or weeks with an employer, courtesy of the job search technology guide at About.com:
It sometimes can be very easy to slip into a short-timer's attitude in your final days with a company. To help avoid letting stress lead you down that path, take care of yourself. Sleep regular hours and stay on a regular schedule to fight apathy and laziness, and maintain a healthy diet that allows you to stay energized and focused on your work.
While it can be a struggle to care about your job when you have one foot out the door, doing so can make the transition easier for those you leave behind, and can leave a positive impression of you that may come in handy down the road.