You’ve accepted a new job, and you’re filled with anticipation. This new opportunity offers you a significant bump in pay, better benefits, a work-life balance and more room for growth. However, one task looms over your head like a dark rain cloud. You’ve cleared the background check for your new employer, and now has come the time to give your current boss your two weeks’ notice.
When leaving a company, it’s imperative to handle it with class. Giving your employer at least two weeks’ notice before leaving is common practice. You don’t want to abruptly quit or spend your remaining time quietly quitting or acting your wage as a way to get revenge against a toxic boss. Instead, take the high road.
During your notice period, you should hand off your workload to colleagues, let your clients know that you’re moving on and get personal phone numbers and email addresses to keep in touch with your soon-to-be former co-workers to maintain your network. When you have your exit review, don’t burn all the bridges behind you; you never know if your paths will cross again.
Two Weeks’ Notice Is Standard Practice
Giving two weeks’ notice is a professional courtesy that gives your employer time to find a replacement and transition any ongoing projects or responsibilities. As a general practice in many workplaces, it may be company policy and a stipulation included in your employment contract.
Providing two weeks’ notice allows your employer enough time to plan for your departure and minimize any negative impact on the business. It also shows that you respect the company and your colleagues and are willing to assist in ensuring a smooth transition.
How you handle your departure may benefit you in the long run. It may help you maintain a positive relationship with your employer and could lead to a glowing reference or future opportunities. It also demonstrates your professionalism and commitment to the job, which can be important in your future job search.
How To Give Notice
Although it may seem daunting, request a meeting with your manager or human resources personnel. It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, but don’t beat around the bush. Get right to the point before you lose your nerve. Begin by telling your boss, “It has been such a pleasure working with you. I’ve learned so much and I appreciate everything that you’ve done to help me learn and grow.” Now, let them know you are leaving by stating, “I’ve accepted an offer for a new opportunity that perfectly fits my background. It offers more money and the chance to fast-track my career.”
To demonstrate that you’re a team player, you can extend a helping hand, “Since I will be leaving in two weeks, in the interim period, I can help facilitate the transition with my team in handing off the workload. If you need me to stay longer, I can try to make that happen. After my departure, please feel free to contact me if you need anything, and I’ll be happy to help.”
To avoid any unpleasantries, you can let them know that you were not sneaking behind their backs looking for a new role, and the opportunity just fell into your lap. “A recruiter contacted me and shared the prospective position. Although I was happy in my current role, I hesitantly agreed to an introductory interview just to get a sense of the market. As it turns out, the job, people, company and pay were too good to pass up. It felt like the obvious next step in my career progression. I hope you understand.” This may be a little white lie; however, it’s made to appease your boss and HR, and help keep the peace.
Be Prepared For A Counteroffer—And Some Pressure
Once the news sinks in, if you are an A-player, your boss will be sad to see a valued team member go. Your supervisor will also start worrying about the workload. If it’s dumped on the remaining workers, this could cause tension among the staff.
Your manager might likely pressure you to stay. They’ll prod and probe about the new position to find weak spots and use it to their advantage to convince you to stay. A senior-level person may be brought into the picture. Once again, the pressure will be ramped up to persuade you to remain at the organization.
The topic of a counteroffer will emerge. Initially, you might be resolute in your decision to leave. However, after some pressure, gaslighting and being made to feel guilty, you’ll relent and say, “Okay, I’ll look at a counter, but I’m still inclined to move forward with the job offer.”
Some people will cave under stress and stay. It’s the path of least resistance to take the money offered at the counter rather than confront the unknown of a new job. After all, better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.
However, more often than not, a counteroffer does not end up well. You accepted a new offer for a reason, and it’s not going away just because you chose to stay. The extra money is great, but it comes at a hefty price.
Within a month, the boss will look at you differently. They’ll see you as a mercenary who held the firm over a barrel to get more money. When you come into the office late, leave early or can’t be immediately reached when working at home, they’ll contend that you are interviewing again.
The same bad behaviors will continue, and you’ll be made to feel like an outcast. You’ll start your search again and take the first reasonable offer to get out of there. The problem is that the role might be beneath your level. Instead of growing your career, you’ll take a step backward. It will haunt you in every interview moving forward. Interviewers will be skeptical as to why you made the move, and question if there is something else going on that you’re not sharing.
You Might Be Pushed Out
Some companies are not keen on having an employee hanging around for the remaining two weeks. Now that you’re leaving, the firm needs to worry about any information, important documents or files that could be leaving with you. Managers will—sometimes out of bitterness—immediately relieve a departing worker of their duties and escort them out the door. This could unexpectedly cause you to lose pay for those two weeks.
What Happens To Your Paid Time Off?
Some companies allow employees to use their paid time off during their notice period, while others prohibit this. To ensure that you follow company policy, reviewing your employment contract for guidance is important. If the details are still ambiguous, reach out to HR to determine what your options are.
Remember that using PTO in your last two weeks may impact the time you have left to wrap up projects and facilitate your transition. Again, you don’t want to leave a bad taste in the mouths of your employer and co-workers.
The Exit Interview
When you are called into HR for the exit interview, you have to play the game—only say good things: “My boss was wonderful. I enjoyed every minute of working here. I learned and grew as a professional.”
Again, the mission is to leave on good terms and not to make waves, so you’ll get a glowing report when future companies ask HR about your tenure at the organization.