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How Much Notice Should You Give Your Employer Before Quitting?

There may come a time when your current job is no longer the right job. Maybe you’re tired of the same old routine, for example. Or you feel like you’re going nowhere with your current company. Perhaps you’re even looking for a bit of a transition, taking time out to return to education or move into another line of work.

Whatever the reason, if you decide it’s time to resign, it’s important to follow proper procedure and give your employer a reasonable amount of notice. This helps you maintain a good relationship with them. But one thing is for sure, before you give any notice to quit, find a Denver resume writer to strengthen your resume just in case the employer terminates you on the spot.

man holding a box after quitting with the words "The Right Way To Quit"

This guide will explore how much notice is fair, while also digging deeper into the concept of giving notice.

How Much Notice Should You Give?

Let’s start by answering the titular question. In general, the unwritten rule of the workplace is that two weeks is the standard amount of notice to give. This is seen as a fair amount of time in most situations. It gives the employer a chance to come to terms with your departure and make the necessary adjustments, like hiring a replacement or delegating your tasks to other team members.

Situations Where You May Give More Than Two Weeks’ Notice

While the idea of “two weeks’ notice” has been considered standard practice for many decades, it’s not a fixed concept. Nor is it mandatory. There are many examples of people giving more or even less than two weeks' notice, leading some experts to call the idea

“outdated.” Let’s look at some examples where you may consider providing a longer notice period.

In the Middle of a Complex Project

Let’s say you’re a developer, working as part of a team to create a new web app for one of your clients. You’ve put a lot of work into the project so far and understand how it works and what the client wants. In that kind of situation, it may be reasonable to offer a longer period of notice, giving you time to finish your part of the project, without leaving your colleagues in a tricky situation.

Workers in Senior Roles or Positions of Authority

People in more senior, advanced, and authoritative roles are also encouraged to consider longer periods of notice. Examples include project managers, team leaders, or heads of human resources departments. Such roles demand specialist skills and extensive experience. It therefore takes longer to find people to fill them. By giving more notice, you give your company time to find a suitable replacement.

office chair next to fax machine and calendar, and on the chair the words "I Quit"

You’re Not in a Major Rush to Leave

You’ve decided you want to leave. That much is clear. Giving notice is therefore a good way to cement that idea and signal your departure. But you might not be in any particular rush to get out the door right away. You may still be weighing up your next move. In that case, a notice period of a month, for example, gives you a little extra thinking time to figure things out.

Situations Where You May Give Less Than Two Weeks’ Notice

Of course, just as there are situations for surpassing the two-week notice limit, there may also be times when it’s appropriate to give less than two weeks' notice. Indeed, a recent study showed that close to half of workers provide less than two weeks' notice. That may not always be wise, and it can burn bridges with former employers. But, in some situations, it’s appropriate.

An Unsafe or Hostile Work Environment

If you’re working in a space that is physically unsafe or emotionally damaging, you may just want to get out of there as soon as possible. Sticking around longer than necessary could put you at risk of harm. Indeed, concepts like “showing courtesy” tend to go out of the window when you’re dealing with employers who seem to have no respect for workers’ well-being.

Serious Personal Reasons

Life is unpredictable. We never know what’s around the corner. Sadly, family emergencies, sudden changes in health, and other unexpected situations can arise out of nowhere, without warning. Those kinds of issues – like the loss of a loved one or an unexpected medical diagnosis – may make it effectively impossible to continue working.

tips for preparing to leave after giving an employer notice you are quitting. Woman quitting job holding a box of her desk stuff

A Much Better Opportunity

Often, experts encourage workers to give fair notice and maintain good ties with former employers to enjoy certain benefits. But those benefits may not weigh up when compared to a great new opportunity that’s on the table in front of you. If you’ve already been offered a super job elsewhere – and it has a strict acceptance deadline – you may want to move on and get started immediately.

The Importance of Giving Notice

You might wonder why the concept of giving notice is so important in the first place, and why people shouldn’t simply quit and leave when they want. Here are some reasons:

Maintaining Relationships

As stated several times, giving notice is a way to stay on good terms with your former employer. In the future, if things don’t work out as expected, you may have to return to them for a job.

Honoring Contracts

It’s also worth noting that you may have a contractual obligation to give notice. Indeed, if you quit without giving the requisite notice stipulated in your contract, you could lose out on certain benefits – like compensation for unused vacation days.

Good References

A strong resume, written with the help of a top resume consultant is crucial for your job search. But you may also need to provide future employers with references, too. If you leave your current job on good terms, your former employer will be more likely to write a good quality reference for you.

Showing Respect

Many people also consider it a sign of respect to one’s current employer and colleagues to give a reasonable amount of notice. If you’re in a managerial position, this is especially important, as it gives your fellow workers time to adjust and manage your departure.

Decide on the Right Amount of Notice for Your Situation

To sum up, two weeks is still the general rule to follow for giving notice in a polite and fair way. But it’s not the only option. Giving more or less or even no notice at all are all alternatives that might suit your situation – weigh up the pros, cons, and factors involved to make the right call for your future.

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