two weeks' notice


Two weeks’ notice is the amount of notice that will make the most people happy. You won’t burn bridges with your current employer, your new employer will be willing to wait for you to start for this customary time period and you will feel good about yourself because you have been fair to everyone in this transition.

Your current employer honors two weeks’ notice to give them time to start recruiting for your replacement and having this standard policy allows them to maintain their positive reputation for current and prospective employees.

Your future employer honors two weeks’ notice because it is a professional standard and it allows them time to prepare for your joining.

You benefit from giving two weeks’ notice because it allows you time with your current employer to work hard, fulfill your responsibilities and not do any damage to your long term career by burning bridges with your colleagues or supervisors. You never know when you will encounter these people again and keeping things as positive as possible will pay off. It also gives you time to clarify benefit transition and possible unused vacation pay or bonus due.

When is Two Weeks’ Notice Not Ideal?

  • You have an employment contract specifying a longer time period. This is a legal document and not honoring it could have financial implications. Sharing it with your new employer will go a long way in smoothing over their concern at the delay in your starting the new job.
  • You feel unsafe in your current position. If you are a victim of physical abuse, sexual harassment, an unsafe work environment or your mental health is threatened by job stresses, then leaving your current job without notice is certainly advisable.
  • Your firm is going through layoffs and in clear financial difficulty. Your current firm may be happy to have you leave immediately saving the two week’s pay they would have given you for the transition. Just make sure you are prepared to cover your expenses if you can’t start immediately with the new firm.
  • You are asked to do something unethical or illegal. Leave this firm as quickly as you can.
  • Historically your firm asks those who resign to leave immediately. Many positions, like senior management or sales, are roles with “insider” knowledge that firms want to cut off your contact with as soon as you resign. Often these firms have a policy of immediately escorting you from the building when you resign. It isn’t personal, it is just policy. Be prepared for that to happen by cleaning out/cleaning up all of your personal information or items before you resign.
  • You are going to work for a competitor. Your current firm should want you to leave immediately upon resignation.
  • You have only been in the current job for a month or two. This isn’t long enough for you to have the negative impact that walking away immediately would cause.

Work transitions have to be handled with care, but are a necessary part of any career. Learn to do this well and it will burnish your reputation and add to your long term career success.

Interested in starting a job search? Contact the Recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates.

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