Giving Notice at Work – 5 Tips

At first glance, you may say “what’s the big deal?  Isn’t giving notice at work as simple as telling your boss you quit?” Well, while it does accomplish the task, I recommend a lot more finesse when you give notice at work.  It is in your interest to quit your job gracefully and not burn any bridges.  You just never know who you will work for in the future and whether that person used to be your boss at a different company or knows any of your previous bosses or ex-colleagues.  It’s a small world and in the interest of your own career success, it’s always smarter to leave a job on good terms.

A person on average will have about 5 careers in their life time.  That’s at least 5 job changes, some of which will be you quitting the job.   So learning how to give notice at work is a key soft skill in maintaining a good reputation that supports your career success.  Here are 5 tips to giving notice at work

  1. Give notice at least 2 weeks in advance – At a minimum every company expects a 2 week notice.  Anything less can be perceived as too abrupt and can jeopardize your reputation.   There is never a good time to quit your job and you are undoubtedly always going to be in the middle of working on something that need to be transitioned if you quit.   So when you find a new job, be sure to negotiate the start date so that you have at least 2 weeks to give to your old company.  The new company should understand and respect it, as they also would not want to hire someone that will just quit and not care about transitioning their work.
  2. Give notice in person – Unless you absolutely hate your boss or your job has completely been unfair to you, it is best to give notice in person to your boss.  It shows respect.  Just like it’s rude to break up with someone by phone, text, email, or post it note, the same rule applies at work.  Schedule a meeting if you can, but if your boss is too busy anytime soon, then just stop by his or her office to ask for 5 minutes.  Once he hears the news, he will make time.
  3. Don’t just say you quit – Also communicate the following: a) tell him what you may have appreciate it about your current job including thanking your boss for his support if it makes sense. b) let your boss know that you will develop and implement a transition plan so that someone can take over your work.  c) Ask who he would like you to transition your work to  d) Answer any questions if your boss had any concerns.
  4. Transition your work – Everyone would appreciate your efforts even though you are leaving.  It shows that you are a professional and cares that the company is left in good standing.  That goes a long way in reinforcing your reputation as a top notch professional.  The best reaction you want to achieve is that your boss and team are bummed that you are leaving but totally understand and support you.  That would be ideal.  If you don’t have such a good boss or team, well, at least do everything in your power to leave on good terms and make sure someone takes over your work.   It never hurt to behave like a professional.
  5. Keep in touch – Connect with key people on Linkedin and ask for Linkedin recommendations if it makes sense.  Even though you found the next job already, you may still need someone from this job to recommend you for any future job search.

Every job is a chance to build your network.  Just like first impression matters at work, last impression matters as well.   The last impression is how you leave a job and give notice.  Relationships matter in your career success.  The more people you know and thinks highly of you, the more it helps as you progress upwards.   Best wishes to your career success.

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Your comments: Do you agree with these tips? Did I miss any?   I look forward to your comments below.  Thanks.  I am always in your corner.


2 thoughts on “Giving Notice at Work – 5 Tips

  1. Marty Pollard

    It not just about quitting your company. You may be quitting a job to take another job in the same company. In this case it is especially important to leave gracefully and with a good reputation. As a hiring manager I asked questions about the terms a candidate left their last job on. It told me something about their character. In our organization, professionals i.e. engineers, generally got 3 months notice before termination and so it is not unreasonable to give 3 months notice before you quit. Anything less than 30 days was unheard of. However, you definitely need to evaluate your own particular situation.

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