While many states follow an employment-at-will policy — which means that either an employer or employee can terminate employment at any time for any reason –it usually isn’t a good idea to announce you’re quitting and immediately walk out the door. Write a formal resignation letter stating your last working date, keeping the tone professional and the message simple. Ending employment on a good note helps preserve connections that could be important in the future.
It’s important to check your company’s policies on termination of employment, usually found in the employee handbook. There are no legal penalties for leaving employment abruptly, but your company may have policies about paying out certain accrued benefits to departing employees. If you have vacation or sick time that you haven’t taken, some companies will pay you for that time when you quit, but only if you give them a certain amount of advance notice, such as two weeks.
Even if you aren’t working on a long-term project, you likely have daily or weekly tasks that will need wrapping up. Leaving without giving at least two weeks notice puts strain on your employer and co-workers who will have to take over your duties until a replacement is hired. This will not make them think kindly of you. If you are working on a lengthy project, consider giving more than two weeks notice if that’s what it will take to finish the project and earn your employer’s respect and gratitude.
How you leave a company says a lot about your professionalism. It’s easy to say nice things if you’ve enjoyed your job, but refrain from saying negative things if you can’t wait to leave. Don’t just take it easy because you’ll be leaving soon; handle your responsibilities promptly and professionally. You often need two weeks to tie up any loose ends, and to coordinate with management and co-workers to ensure tasks and resources are all reassigned properly.
Giving two weeks notice allows your company time to find a replacement. If the hiring process is expedited, you can even help with training the new person. Offer to help with the hiring and training process when you hand in your resignation. Your employer will often be grateful that you want to help make the transition process as smooth and as easy as possible. If a replacement isn’t found before your time is up, spend the two weeks creating a short manual or task list for your job.
The most important reason to give a formal, written notice of your intention to leave a company is that you may need to use the company as a future reference for employment. Don’t burn bridges by departing on bad terms and short notice. Keep in touch with former colleagues and keep them, and your former manager, in your business network.
There is some debate about the worth of an official two week notice. Some companies will automatically terminate the employee, and some employees believe it’s too much of a courtesy to the employer they are leaving. However, that’s exactly a reason to do it: it is a courtesy, and regardless of how the employer reacts, it speaks well of your professional standards. Find out the resignation policy of your company before you attempt to write any such letter. If the company does require or accept them, keep the letter short and concise.
Start with the date of the letter, followed by the name of the supervisor. In very direct terms, state the purpose of the letter in the first paragraph. For example:
Please accept this letter as my notice of resignation from (Company name), effective (insert the date two weeks from the previous date).
The rest of the letter must include information on how the company can contact you (so you can get your final check or other termination paperwork). It can include the reason you are leaving, an offer to help out with the transition, and a brief paragraph thanking the company for the opportunity. Do not make any negative comments. A potential employer could use this company as a reference.
Give the original letter or resignation to a direct supervisor and a copy to the Human Resources Department.
When working at a job, it’s usually requested that notice be given when leaving the job as opposed to walking out on the same day or a few days after quitting. The practice of informing your boss that you will be leaving your place of employment in two weeks is considered giving two weeks notice. In some companies, not only is giving notice requested, but it’s required especially if you signed a contract that has a clause stating so.
Depending on what business you work for, consider writing a letter of resignation stating that you are giving your two weeks notice. This letter is usually written in a formal manner and states the reasons for leaving your current position. When writing a letter of resignation, think about incorporating positive notes such as how enjoyable it was to work with the company. It may help to make the transition of leaving a bit friendlier. In some businesses, such as those that are less formal, a letter of resignation may not be required and a verbal notice may well be acceptable.
While it is usually considered proper to give two weeks notice, some consider it completely acceptable to leave with little to no warning. For example, if you’re leaving the company on bad terms or there is an extenuating circumstance such as a medical problem, there are those that consider giving two weeks notice unnecessary. However, if you do choose to leave without notice, there may be a greater risk of not getting a good recommendation letter in the future.
Giving two weeks notice is usually regarded as the more professional and responsible way to go about leaving a job. Giving advance notice could provide the boss with more of an opportunity to find a replacement for your position. Offering to help train your replacement may also bode well for your character. In addition, there is a chance for unfinished work to be completed and for you to be able to say a proper goodbye to coworkers. Should you need a letter of recommendation in the future, there may be more of a chance of getting one if you leave on positive terms.
When making the decision to leave your job, consider the pros and cons of giving two weeks notice. Think about how leaving without warning would affect not only yourself but your coworkers and the business as well. Whichever decision is made, make sure to be positive and confident that it is the best one for you.
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Today was the last day of my two weeks notice. Everything was total smooth sailing these last two weeks. My boss understood that I was not happy with the duties of the job (it would be great for someone else) and that I could not refuse taking a 100 percent telecommuting opportunity. I wrapped up my projects, left a list of file locations, and walked out of the door to freedom on a happy note. ZsaZsa56 June 11, 2012
I have never given two weeks notice. Most bosses don’t do me any favors, why should I do them any? And I know how most jobs go. They have people beating down the doors to get hired on, especially these days. I walk out and someone else walks right in, seamless almost. Two weeks notice is just a way for them to hold you over a barrel for a little longer. gravois June 11, 2012
I am planning on leaving my job sometime within the next year and it is the kind of job where I will need to craft a resignation letter. I am really unsure of what to say.
Where can I find sample resignation letters that express my desire to leave the company in the clearest and most polite way possible? Also with a resignation letter is two weeks notice the standard amount of time to turn it in before leaving the job? tigers88 June 10, 2012
I have had jobs where I gave my two weeks notice and I have had jobs where I did not. I know that it is the standard courtesy, but I have left jobs where that courtesy is completely undeserved. I think if you are in a bad situation and treated poorly or unfairly you have every right to walk out of a job without giving any thought to what kind of inconvenience it would be on your former employers.