Is Giving Two Weeks’ Notice Necessary?

You’re all ready to quit your job and planned out everything you’re going to say to your boss and your coworkers. You even decided to go the extra step and write a letter of resignation.  The question you ask yourself though, before you get the ball rolling is, “Do I need to give two weeks’ notice?”

The answer to this question isn’t a simple yes or no though unfortunately.  Technically and legally, you do not have to give your employer two weeks’ notice that you are quitting.  But, if you could, you should.  Now if you’ve quit a job before without doing it, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world, but here are a few reasons why you should give two weeks’ notice:

  1. It’s a great way not to burn any bridges
  2. You are giving your company a little time to hire someone to fill your spot
  3. You make yourself look good

Now let’s take a deeper look into each of these:

Don’t Burn Any Bridges

It’s very easy to either just quit your job because you hate it or quit your job because you found something else.  Heck, if you really wanted to, you could walk out of your office during your lunch break and never go back (or if you’re working from home close your laptop and never answer your phone again).  That probably wouldn’t be a good way to end things with an employer though, even if you couldn’t stand the job.  Let’s take out the .01% of people who quit their job and move to Hawaii never to be heard from again and focus on the people who quit their job and do something in a similar field.  You never want to be the person who burns a bridge with your former company.  More importantly, you never know who you may run into down the road at a next job.

men using tablet computer on the kitchen counter top

Burning a bridge will leave your employer with a bad taste in their mouth, and if you ever wind up in the position where you are looking for another job down the road at that company, you better believe your resume may have a big red X mark over it.

Give two weeks’ notice will keep you in the company’s good graces down the road in the future.  If you’re staying in the same industry, you especially don’t want to make the wrong people upset.

Give Your Company Some Time to Replace You

If you’re reading this and you are going off the map never to be seen or heard from again, then you probably should have stopped reading way before this.  So go ahead burn down all of your bridges.  But if you’re like most people, you should have some decency and respect for the people who hired you in the first place.  Again, it’s the people you work with that your move is affecting, not the entire company (unless you’re the CEO or high up in management.)

Give two weeks’ notice gives your department some time to come up with a game plan on how to replace you.  If you’re higher up in the company, giving an even longer timeframe is even nicer.  (again not necessary). 

portrait of a woman wearing an office smart casual attire holding an ipad

The most ideal way to do it is let your boss know you’re leaving, train some people you work with on how to do your stuff if they don’t know how, and then ride off into the sunset.

Protect Your Reputation

In life, reputation is pretty important, especially if you’re in the working world.  How people perceive you can go a long way in building future relationship and finding future opportunities.  If every job you leave, you’re burning bridges down, eventually it’s going to come back to get you.

employee feeling the pressure in the office

Now, if it’s a job you just started and you know off the bat it’s not working out, you don’t need to waste another two weeks there. If it’s a place where you’ve been for a decent amount of time and have developed relationships and responsibilities, the right thing to do is to give them notice.  Having people think highly of you when you leave is really important.  Remember, getting jobs is all about connections, so think of coworkers and bosses you accumulate over the years as a phone book of connections.  For millennials and under who don’t know what a phone book is, it was a very heavy book that had everyone’s phone number in your area. 

If you’re leaving a hospital job to work at a different hospital, you should realize that there are probably some people at your company that may know people at the other company, so if they find out that you just left during your lunch break and never came back, they’ll be afraid you’ll do the same thing to them.

The morale of the story here is to do unto others as you would want done to you.  Put yourself in your employer’s shoes for a minute.  If you’d be okay with an employee of 5 years just walking out one day and never coming back, then by all means, give that a shot and see how it works out for you.  If you’re a decent person though, it’s always good to give some sort of notice.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be two weeks, it could be a week and a half, or even a week (not recommended but just saying, it’s better than nothing) but your employer will appreciate some sort of notice.

So is it a legal thing, no.  You don’t have to give two weeks’ notice if you don’t want to.  Is it good for your conscious and for your reputation, the answer to that is probably yes?  So, ultimately, it comes down to what you decide, but this guy highly recommends doing the right thing and giving two weeks’ notice.  Either that, or doing the complete opposite and just walking out and burning the bridges down to the ground (okay just kidding on that last part.)

photo of pod of dolphins

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