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Giving your two weeks notice: How to do it and leave on a good note

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

If you're like me, a young professional, then giving a two week notice is relatively new to you. Or maybe you're not young and it's just been awhile since you had to tell a boss that you're choosing to leave the company. Either way, these tips might help refine your approach when you do step up and share your big news.


The saying "two week notice" isn't a law or but it is a best practice. Two weeks is a ubiquitously accepted amount of time to transition your work and duties onto colleagues and to let your employer begin planning how things will rollout once you're gone. That may be working with HR to get a job posted online or just rejiggering responsibilities among the team or department. Up and quitting on a dime, as you can imagine, can leave your employer in a very tricky position. If you're leaving because you feel underpaid or undervalued, then this might be hard to believe, but you are indeed needed at your company – otherwise they wouldn't be paying you, measly as your paycheck may seem. Be sure to give them enough time to digest and work around your impending absence, and work with them to outline what it is you handle and any information they'll need to transition.


Tact will make this whole process much smoother. Hopefully you have a good working relationship with your manager and feel comfortable enough to have an in-person, or now virtual, conversation. While they may be disappointed to lose you, many understand that career advancement, relocation and other reasons you might be leaving are unpredictable and most importantly, understandable. If an employer expects you to stay in the same position forever then it's probably a good thing that you're getting out. Plan what you want to say before the conversation happens. Emphasize your gratitude for what you've learned and the opportunities you've had. Reaffirm your confidence in the mature and open relationship you have with your manager. Explain why you've made the decision to leave and where you'll be going. Always end by saying thank you again. Be sure to clearly articulate when your last day in the office will be and confirm your willingness to help make the transition as smooth as possible.


This doesn't always happen, but your manager may initiate a last-ditch effort to convince HR to give you a counter offer in the hopes of convincing you to stay. Namely, they'll be trying to match the salary offer your new position has offered. This is something you should consider before you let your boss know about your new job offer. Would you actually stay if your current employer gives you a competitive offer? It's also important to remember that money isn't the only type of compensation. Some companies may be too systemized, rigid or uncool for creative negotiating, but perhaps you can negotiate on things like tuition reimbursement, title, flexible scheduling or telecommuting, all of which can be significant enough perks to entice you to stay. Don't be shy when negotiating. Definitely do your research and be well educated on competitive salaries and benefits, but you'll never know how much the company is willing to give you if you never ask. And if at the end, you still decide you want to leave and take your new job offer, at least you'll know you exhausted all options with your current employer.


Like I said before, use your last two weeks to pull together the projects and repetitive tasks that you'll be handing off to a colleague. Making the transition after you're gone as easy and seamless as possible speaks volumes to your professionalism and the respect you have for your team. If appropriate, make a process document outlining what needs to be done, timing and key contacts.

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