Sarah is ready to quit her job, as she has just accepted a new one. She is excited about it but concerned on how her current manager will react. “Will Mr. Ted fire me on the spot if I inform him that I am leaving for another position? Should I give a two week notice at work?”
Well, this is one of the most hotly debated questions in today’s working world. Notice periods are an inevitable fact of employment. If you are changing your job, is it required to give your employer notice of your decision to leave? Is this a professional courtesy or an employment law?
Two Weeks’ Notice: A Good/Bad Idea?
A two weeks’ notice period is a courtesy not a law in the U.S. unless otherwise mentioned in your employment contract. The actual length of the notice you are required to give will depend on your contract of employment. So understand the legal aspect first. A majority of U.S. states operate under an at-will employment agreement which means either party can end the employment without notice.
You quit without notice and you take your chances. If your work environment is abusive and hostile or you have an emergency, you can just walk out the door. No matter the circumstances, be aware that the employer/employee relationship is being challenged. You can quit without notice, but doing so is not a good way to build good references or connections and this risks backlash if a new employer checks your work history. Never burn a bridge and leave the job with a black cloud and bad reputation. So if you would like to preserve your existing relationships, act conscientiously by giving proper notice. Even if you didn’t really care for your co-workers, manager or company, you invested time in this position. GIVE NOTICE if you care about your own future. You learned valuable skills and established a good working rapport, why would you not want to cash in on this investment at a later date? If you don’t use the reference or work experience for your next position, who’s to say it might not come in handy down the line?
Use your best judgment when giving notice and determining your exit date. Giving two weeks’ notice when resigning from a job is standard practice and is considered professional. This will certainly give enough time for your managers to line up a replacement or rearrange responsibilities with the rest of the team. If your role is critical and you think your team will be seriously impacted, it may be advisable to give them a little more than a few weeks. Remember, the time after giving notice should be most effectively used as the handover period. Don’t slack off after you’ve given notice. Have a transition plan to lay out your responsibilities, suggest and start training the team member to take over those responsibilities. Go above and beyond to help with the transition. Keep a good relationship with your manager and colleagues and be as helpful as possible.
Resigning from your job can be difficult. Letting your current boss and co-workers know you’re leaving can be tougher. Once you have decided to leave, paint your decision in a positive light. Make sure to be polite. Don’t get emotional. You never know when you cross paths again. They will surely be happy for your new opportunity if you handle this situation in a respectful and dignified way. Remember to thank everyone for the good time and promise to keep in touch in the future. Make sure that you leave your current employer with your dignity intact, which will be good for you in the long run.
All the Best and Congratulations on your new job!