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Should You Give Two-Week’s Notice?

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You’re about to leave your current employer. Maybe you’ve been on the market for a while, attending interview after interview. Or maybe an opportunity recently appeared on your landscape without warning, and you decided to make a grab for that brass ring. But in either case, you’re ready to accept your new offer and say good bye to your old employer, and as far as you’re concerned, the sooner you make the switch, the better.

Should you simply say goodbye and walk out the door? Or should you give your employer a two-week period in which to adjust to the news and start searching for your replacement?

Two-week’s notice is considered a standard courtesy.

Unless the specific terms of your contract indicate otherwise, you’re probably not legally obligated to give notice. Most employment agreements are “at-will”, which means you’re technically free to leave at any time, for any reason. But just because you can walk out the door doesn’t mean you should. It’s considered polite and reasonable to give your employer a two week warning before you disappear. If you abide by this basic courtesy, you’re more likely to leave positive memories and a strong reputation behind.

Most employers expect a two-week transition period.

Your new employers certainly recognize this standard practice, so they’re not likely to give you a hard time if you can’t start your new job within this window. If your new employers seem confused or react with hostility to your scheduling request, you can consider this a red flag.

A two week period can increase the odds of a counter-offer.

If you’re leaving because your employers can’t or won’t provide the salary, promotion, or conditions that you need in order to stay onboard, a two week period can give them some time to come up with a counteroffer. Don’t be surprised if your boss approaches you during this time and tries to convince you to change your mind. This probably won’t happen if you simply walk out.

Don’t burn a bridge.

Many HR departments keep a permanent list of the departing employees who give notice versus those who don’t, and sometimes this can be the defining factor when they’re asked to provide a recommendation. In some cases, employees who leave without giving notice have their names placed on a “do not rehire” list; having your name on a list like this can permanently close the door if you ever hope to work for this company again. Two weeks may be a small price to pay in order to keep this from happening.
For more on how to stay on good terms with your past employers as you move forward, reach out to the Little Rock staffing experts at CSS.

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