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Do I have to give a two-weeks’ notice to my employer?

This is a topic that has been debated for years by many career coaches, HR professionals, and management professionals and most agree… Yes, you have to give two weeks’ notice, but that is not MY answer.

Based on my experience from both sides (supervisor and employee), my answer is… it depends.

First of all, I always tell my clients… you don’t HAVE to do anything. You are not obligated or bound to any position (ok, ok, ok… if you’re a President, CEO of a major corporation, or have an essential public service job… that is a different story). This article is for the everyday 9 to 5 worker who wants to know, “do I have to give a two-week notice.”

What you should consider

First, you have to consider a few things;

  1. Do you live in an at-will state?
  2. Are you in a contract?
  3. What does your handbook say?
  4. What type of work environment are you in?
  5. Will you need to use them as a reference later?
  6. Are you prepared to potentially damage the business relationship?

How a two-week notice will benefit you (and your employer)

Providing a two-week notice is a courtesy. It is a sign of respect, consideration, and a way to try to leave your employer in a decent position. Two weeks gives you time to tie up loose ends (or the ones you can!) and say your goodbyes. Most of the time, your boss will be open to providing you with a good reference later down the line. Here’s a word of advice, ask if you can get it in writing! Reference letter!

However, if you are in an at-will state, not tied to a contract, and absolutely fed up with your role, then by all means leave sooner. Self-preservation and your health should always be top priority. If you are in an environment that is toxic and harmful to your mental, emotional, and physical well-being, then leave as soon as possible! There is no reason to stick around any longer if you have something to fall back on.

Things to keep in mind

Just remember, you may potentially burn a bridge, but if you’re ok with that, then by all means necessary… move on! Another thing to keep in mind, are you leaving to work in the same industry? Will you run into this person frequently? Are you prepared to handle that interaction? If someone asks you why you left so quickly, do you have your answer prepared? These are questions that you have to think about before making a quick decision.

Also, most employers will not pay out your PTO and sick leave upon departure if you do not provide a two week-notice. Are you in a position to lose that extra money?

So you see my answer is, “it depends” because every situation is different. Ask yourself these questions and make a decision after taking time to think about and reflect on these. I always suggest talking to a trusted friend or family member when making life changing decisions. For an unbiased opinion, seek out a career coach! How do you feel about the standard notice? Have you always given a two week-notice?  Have you left before two weeks? I’d love to hear your story, experience, and opinion in the comment below!

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Hey there!

Chelsea Jay Resume Writer & Career Coach

I'm Chelsea Jay

As your coach, I'm here to remind you that you can redefine your career at any point in time & for any reason.

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