Do You Need to Give a Full Two Week Notice When Quitting a Job?

I am quitting my job, hopefully today. But my boss hasn’t been here for the past couple of days. She might come in today, she might not. My job is pretty straightforward, so unless one of us needs something from the other, we can go days without seeing or talking to each other, and she isn’t always good about letting me know when she goes on vacation. My questions are as follows:

1) Do I print the letter today and date it, and if she doesn’t appear, put it in her office? Give it to her boss? Wait until I see her in person?

2) How important is the two weeks notice? I do like my boss and don’t want to make her life more complicated than strictly necessary, but I’m quitting to move to another state (I’m moving with my boyfriend for his new job, the details of which were just finalized today, so even though I’ve known for a while that I would be quitting, I didn’t want to put in notice before all the final details were set in stone), and would like to have more packing/getting things figured out time. However, I would like to use my boss as a reference in the future, so I don’t want the last impression to be a bad one. What about a week and a half notice? — L.

Every job I’ve ever left I notified my boss in-person. This isn’t something you want to do over email or by leaving a letter for her to find in her office. Set up a meeting as soon as you can and tell her that you’re quitting your job to move to another state, and then hand her your resignation letter in-person.

Giving two weeks notice is standard, and it’s pretty important to provide your boss with that timeframe given that your boss will need some time to find a replacement for you and have you wrap up whatever things you’re working on. There’s never a good time to quit a company, and leaving too suddenly after resigning could leave a bad impression, so try to give your boss the full two weeks if you can. Of course, this can be part of the conversation you have with your boss when you tell her you’re quitting. At one of my previous jobs, when I met with my boss to tell him I was leaving, we talked about what I needed to finish working on before leaving, and we agreed that one week would be sufficient for me to wrap things up and go. I also agreed to be available by phone for a week after I left in case the company needed my help for whatever reason.

Start the conversation as soon as you can, and good luck with the move!



16 Comments / Post A Comment

katethegreat (#2,545)

I would email the boss and tell her you need to speak with her and ask when she’ll be in. If it’s more than another couple of days, I would set up a time to talk by phone and quit that way. I think it’s better to give 2 weeks notice than to wait for the pleasantry of quitting in person. That said, Mike’s suggestion of a week in the office and a week available remotely might work too.

tussock (#1,296)

@katethegreat Yes, definitely. Send an e-mail or leave a voicemail saying you need to talk as soon as possible–no need to wait until you happen to overlap in the office again.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@katethegreat Agreed.

stephstern (#4,149)

Depending on what your job entails, you could also offer that you can set an end date further into the future and work remotely if need be to transfer your work to someone else. I think exactly two weeks notice is less important than making sure you have a comfortable transition that leaves them with enough support.

rhinoceranita (#5,858)

I gave 4 weeks notice at my last job and should’ve only given two weeks, given my level of productivity in weeks 3 and 4.

Meaghano (#529)

@rhinoceranita SAME. It ended up just being kind of awkward — your opinion no longer really matters, it’s hard to maintain enthusiasm and contribute to stuff without getting a say anything/YOLO attitude (ha, at least in my experience), and people look at you all sad all the time. I think I gave a month out of guilt, but it didn’t do anyone any favors. Well, one more paycheck! But not sure it was worth it.

cmcm (#267)

@Meaghano I love those last couple of weeks at a job after you’ve resigned… I basically just sit on Facebook cheerfully all day because I no longer give any shits at all.

jennknee (#3,899)

yeah. i recommend two weeks notice. it also depends on your relationship with your boss — would she be understanding that you were unable to give more notice?

when i quit my last job i gave two weeks notice — however i was already on a vacation and got the call to start in two weeks that was not very flexible, with one week of vacation left. i tried to call my boss but she wasn’t in. turns out her father in law had died suddenly. :( she was understanding though, everyone was very nice.

i did good work and worked hard during my time there, and i don’t think i burned any bridges…

cmcm (#267)

In the UK a month’s notice is standard, but I’ve generally ended up leaving after about 2 weeks because I still have a couple of weeks of annual leave left that I have to take. I know, I know, it’s tough.

Apollo Banks (#2,521)

This thread has blown me away – I have to give 3 MONTHS notice! I feel cheated.
However, I think just speak to your boss when they get back and explain that you’ve already been wrapping things up in preparation for your end date. If you’re really concerned and your boss isn’t showing up, I’d start the conversation with the next line up.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@Apollo Banks Three months is crazy! What kind of field/where geographically?? I’ve always regretted it when I’ve given more than three weeks.

Apollo Banks (#2,521)

@Lily Rowan I’m in the UK so I don’t think many places here would do less than a month, and I work in knowledge management but I’m not sure the 3 months is related to that either….I think this company is just wild.

andnowlights (#2,902)

I think it’s more professional to give two weeks notice and there’s no reason to burn unnecessary bridges! HOWEVER, a blog I read recommends that you don’t give two weeks notice if your company has a habit of forcing people out and you can’t afford to miss those two weeks of pay. I think this is bad form, though, so I’m just parroting that information just so you know.

I actually was in the same position you’re in- my boss was NEVER in- and I think I made the one day she was in kinda… stressful since she and I both knew that she wasn’t going to be allowed to find a replacement. I told her in person and gave her my letter, which she didn’t open until the next day.

GivingNotice (#6,205)

Hi everyone! Thanks for all the comments, I feel a little silly about having written in, but I was freaking out and antsy and frustrated that I didn’t know where my boss was and when she’d be in. She didn’t show up yesterday, but she was here today! I gave her the letter I printed up yesterday with the two weeks dated from yesterday, which might be slightly questionable, but I told her I was moving and was apologetic, and all in all, I think it went well. Big sigh of relief, and thanks for the suggestions. (And for those of you who were wondering if work from home would be an option- I work in a lab, so my physical presence is required for this particular job!) Again, thanks!

muggles (#1,525)

Ha! I was in a similar situation a few years back, EXCEPT I hated my boss/the job, didn’t plan to ever use him as a reference ever ever ever, and had arranged a new job that needed me to start in a little over a week. My boss didn’t show up for a few days (even after my, “Hey… are you coming in today jw”) so I finally just emailed him my notice. He emailed back “ok.” I had already started wrapping out my work and finding a replacement by the time he finally came in the next week, so at least I had everything pretty much ready to go. I had only been there for about two months though, and from what I understood, his assistant turnover was quite high so the process didn’t seem to phase him much.

Susan Tidebeck (#5,691)

My advice in this type of situation is to make sure there is some way to ensure that you get paid before you leave. Unfortunately, there are many employers that can’t be trusted and if you put together some type of signed contract or agreement you will have a much easier time in small claims court.

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