UPDATED ON JUNE 29, 2017: Original article published on May 8, 2015.
We love celebrating new opportunities!
We also understand that there are a few steps in between your current situation and your new opportunity that aren't always easy. For example, what happens when you stop loving your new job? Transitioning from one opportunity from the next can be graceful if you keep calm and consider the do's and don't's of providing your two-week's notice.
When It's Time For Your Two-Weeks Notice
Is there ever a good reason to quit your job? Of course, but there are still consequences especially if you don't have another job lined up. The hazards of quitting prior to accepting another job offer include a halt in paychecks, no unemployment benefits, and often a more challenging and stressful job search. An employer is more likely to hire a candidate who is currently employed than one who isn't.
There are definitely some situations when quitting your job would be considered unnecessary:
- When your job is interfering with family responsibilities
- When your commute is causing you financial or emotional stress
- When you can't keep the peace with your co-workers
- When you get a negative performance review
- When policies change in a way that negatively impacts you
There are some situations when you can work around termination. In most cases, you can make arrangements with your employer to change your schedule and maybe telecommute if your work schedule is causing stress and issues at home. When workplace issues become personal, it may be time for a mediator whether it be your supervisor or Human Resource Manager.
But when should you quit your job?
- When your job is physically making you sick
- When your boss starts reallocating your responsibilities
- When you are no longer being challenged or offered opportunities to advance
- When you are offered a new and better opportunity
When work stress has taken over your life and affects your health and wellness, you need to make a change. There is no job worth getting sick over. On the flip-side, work can become mundane when your strengths are not being utilized. Know when to move on, especially when you're offered a chance to maximize your potential.
When You Quit...
Do: TELL YOUR SUPERVISOR AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
DON'T: TELL YOUR CO-WORKERS FIRST
This is a cardinal rule of giving your two-week's notice. While two weeks is typically your legal obligation and a sign of respect to your employers, the more notice you give the better. A four-week's notice is more appropriate for professional careers especially when you are responsible for projects or accounts.
Make sure than your employer or direct supervisor is the first to know. Sharing this information with others can backfire in so many ways, and your employer will find it disrespectful. Don't burn bridges! If you're not sure how to put your two-week's notice in writing, you can download this Two Weeks Notice Template for free.
DO: FINISH WHAT YOU'VE STARTED
DON'T: SLACK OFF
As stated before, finish what you started especially when you're in charge of projects or accounts. When you work one-on-one with clients, you should never leave them hanging during your last days. Make sure you tie up loose ends or pass off the work appropriately so you don't burn bridges (noticing a pattern?).
DO: KEEP IT CIVIL
DON'T: HASH IT OUT
With the light at the end of the tunnel, it should be easy to keep positive. More often than not, employees think they need to leave with nothing to hide. Rather than a dramatic show of brutal (and usually unnecessary) honesty about how you feel about co-workers, supervisors, or policies, it's best to stay civil and move forward without (that's right!) burning bridges.
DO: STAY IN TOUCH
DON'T: DISAPPEAR UNTIL YOU NEED A REFERENCE
Supervisors are less likely to provide a positive reference or offer your job back should you rise from the ashes years later. Keep in touch by connecting on LinkedIn, dropping an email every couple of months to check in, or even dropping by to say hi.
Staying in touch shows a level of professionalism that will keep you from burning bridges.
DO: MOVE FORWARD
Let's say you left on bad terms. Let's say you quit because of changes in the workplace, personal conflicts with colleagues, or for your health and wellness. The best thing you could do is move on. Don't trash talk your employer or former co-workers in an interview. Don't damage or steal your employer's property.
Focus on your future, create a career plan, boost your LinkedIn profile, actively network with target employers, and move on.
When To Quit Without Notice
Professionalism should never come before your health or safety. There are situations where it is perfectly acceptable to quit without notice. These situations include:
- When you have been physically abused by a co-worker or supervisor
- When you have been sexually assaulted by a co-worker or supervisor
- When the work environment becomes unsafe
- When you mental health is endangered by stress
- When you have been asked to do something illegal
- When a crisis has happened and you can't continue working