Are you ready to tender your resignation? Perhaps you’ve found a dream job with excellent benefits, a flexible schedule, and a short commute. You’re ready to start yesterday. Are you trying to determine if you need to give two weeks notice? Is that even a standard anymore? Would it hurt anyone if you didn’t?
Let’s dig a little deeper into the what, why, and when you need to offer your written resignation.
Defining Two Weeks Notice
The answer is that yes, notifying your employer at least two weeks before you plan to leave is still regarded as a professional standard. In general, two weeks is considered 10 business days, rather than 14 calendar days. However, that varies depending on your industry. For instance, a restaurant that creates schedules that include the weekends will expect 14 days of notice.
Incidentally, you can give your notice at any point during the week. You don’t need to wait for Monday or Friday. In fact, there is no right or wrong day to do so. Due to health benefit cycles, you might choose to give your notice in a way that ensures you’re carrying insurance for an additional month.
Do You Need to Give Two Weeks Notice?
You’re not the first person to find a new job that you’re eager to begin and consider just skipping out. If you’re wondering if you’re legally required to offer notice, the answer is generally no. Some exceptions are if you’re under a contract or if a union agreement that you’re under requires it. You should research your specific situation if you think there are extenuating circumstances.
Otherwise, there are no legal ramifications to leaving without notice for the vast majority of employees. But before you start packing up your desk, consider all of the consequences you might face if you jump ship without warning.
You’ll Appear Unprofessional
If you up and leave your job without notice, you’ll be sending up red flags to your new employer. While you might view it as showing an eagerness to join the team, your new employer might question your work ethic. After all, if you leave your current employer without notice, they might wonder if you’ll do that to them down the road.
You’re Ruining Your Reference
Most larger companies are only allowed to offer three pieces of information when asked for a reference. They’re able to verify your title, your length of employment, and whether you are rehireable. Leaving without notice will almost always list you as not eligible for rehire.
When future employers check your references, they will learn your employment was severed, and you won’t be welcomed back.
Your Coworkers Will Struggle
Perhaps you have a boss that you cannot stand! Well, realistically, they aren’t the one who will suffer. It will often be your coworkers, your clients, or the next person hired. They’ll be left carrying a heavier workload and trying to figure out the ins and outs of projects you were working on.
Also, any relationships that you have built with your coworkers will generally struggle if you leave without notice. Your future networking efforts will be stifled, possibly making it harder to find a job down the road.
You’ll Earn a Reputation
Consider that news in the business world travels and people move from job to job. More and more companies are going remote, more LinkedIn groups are forming, and careers are fluid. Therefore, the likelihood of you running into someone you worked with before or joining a group with your former boss is more prevalent than ever. They will most likely not greet you with enthusiasm without two weeks notice.
How to Give Two Weeks Notice
Schedule a time to speak with your boss. Ask for 10 minutes of their time, regardless of whether you’re a long-distance employee meeting via Zoom or in person. Ideally, you’ll ask them for time later in the same day or the next.
Have a resignation letter printed out, ready to hand to them after you’ve had the conversation. For a remote worker, have an email ready to go, with a CC to HR, so they have a copy for your employee file. It should include the date you are tendering your resignation along with your anticipated last day of work.
Your direct supervisor should be the first one notified, not your coworkers. You don’t want your boss to overhear by the watercooler that you’re leaving. Stick to the point and be concise and professional, both in conversation and writing. If you had a fantastic job with a wonderful boss, it might be hard not to get emotional. In which case, this is an excellent opportunity to suggest that you connect on LinkedIn.
If you’re frustrated by situations, now is not the time to vent. Generally, there will be an exit interview with HR. If not, ensure you request one.
What if You’re Given a Counteroffer?
Often, an employer will offer an employee a counteroffer when they tender their resignation. At first glance, this might seem appealing. Carefully consider, however, all the reasons that you were resigning in the first place. It can be favorable if it was simply a struggle to make ends meet, and this counteroffer will cover your needs.
The majority of the time, however, you were leaving for multiple reasons. Job satisfaction, schedule, engagement in your role…the list goes on. Money is rarely the sole contention. If you accept a counteroffer, the other issues with your position will not resolve themselves magically. You’re still likely to be dissatisfied with your job, and you will often be left wondering why they didn’t offer you that salary in the first place.
You may also have a damaged relationship with your employer, and your loyalty could be questioned going forward. They may never forget that you only stayed because they offered you more money. When promotions come in the future, will you be considered, or will you be put at the bottom of the list? Will you be in line to get another raise, or will they feel like they just gave you a significant raise?
It would be best to determine which job offers the best long-term career development. One of the best options is to create a list of pros and cons to ensure you’re comparing all aspects. A job affects so many different aspects of your life, from where you can live geographically, how much free time you have, and how much money you have to meet your needs. Your best option is to stop and carefully consider all of the reasons you were leaving to begin with.
Keep Your Professional Reputation
Your two weeks notice is the best way to leave on good terms. Indeed, it can be intimidating to initiate a conversation. Generally, though, your boss is used to having these conversations, and everything will go smoothly. You’ll be able to create a transition for your replacement or teammates, tie up any loose ends, and ensure that you have contact information for those coworkers you want to stay in touch with.
Ultimately, ensuring that there are no unresolved issues between you and your employer means that you can enjoy a friendly and professional parting of ways.
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