No matter what you’re doing and how competant the person is you’re dealing with, always follow up.
When I left my former employer on August 25th, I knew that my final paycheck would be a paper one, not a direct deposit as it had been for the last three years. I assumed that it would likely be mailed out on or near the last day of the month. So imagine my consternation when I opened my mailbox all of this week (now the third week of September) and still no paycheck. So, I called the only person in Human Resources that I knew, was routed to Payroll where I discovered my paperwork conveniently came in “yesterday” and my paycheck would be mailed out today. It’s pretty ridiculous that it took 18 business days (28 if you consider they knew for two weeks) to “process” my resignation, one that was as vanilla as they came.
But, that was my fault. My file could’ve just been sitting under a stack of papers that the processor never got to, an honest mistake by anyone and one I am willing to accept. I should have called after 5 days to inquire about my final paycheck, not 15 days. I could claim excuses like how I was busy with the new job, which I was, and how I had to help with a conference, which I did, and how I generally found myself unwilling to talk to someone on the phone about something that probably was already in the mail… but it’s still my fault for not following up. Everyone always claims to be busy, but the phone call took all of five minutes and I have 1440 minutes to choose from during the day to handle my business.
So while that lesson cost me little (for the nitpicky, it cost me a few cents in interest), it taught me that no matter how competant you think the other person or organization is, always follow up because everyone can make an honest mistake.