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Giving a Two Week Notice

Russell1981's picture

I thought I would propose this question to StepTalk because I am seeing a shift in it since I entered the workforce over 20 years ago or maybe there was never a shift and I just never knew it.

(Full Disclosure I run my own business and do not have employees so I have been out of the loop for a few years.)

I was always taught to give an employer a two-week notice when leaving the company. That is what my dad always taught me and it is something I have taught all of my children. It gives you the opportunity to tie up loose ends and your employer a chance to fill your position.

Now this is always subject to whatever industry you are in. Some vocations will let you go the second you give your notice and in my experience, it was usually a sales position.

My nephew is 17 and told me that he has never seen anyone give a notice. If they quit their job, then they just tell the manager they are done or do not show up for work. I called up a few friends that are store managers and supervisors and asked them how often an employee gives notice they told me they rarely do, and even if they do they often just let them go.

Usually, if you leave somewhere you want to try to leave on good terms so that you can use them for a reference, but what is the point of giving notice when companies let you go anyways?

LOL, sorry this is an oddball question and may not be appropriate for StepTalk but I have 2 boys getting close to work age and I am asking as many people as I can this question because I am baffled. 

So are you supposed to give a Two Week Notice when you leave your employer?

2Tired4Drama's picture

And the whole pandemic/work from home issue has compounded changes in the workplace. 

Bottom line: Workplace standards and expected etiquette are virtually flying out the window. Particularly for the younger generation. Job-hopping and giving no-notice is commonplace. The days of being loyal to an employer dissipated when many bad-actor corporations began dumping long-term employees without notice, without benefits, and often losing their entire retirement accounts. 

Kids saw what that did to their parents and didn't forget when they entered the workplace. Not to mention societal changes have many adult "children" well into their 20s still being supported by their families if they decide to quit without notice. 

Of course, that doesn't mean that all employees jump ship without a word. If there is a logical reason for departure and if the employee knows they won't immediately be shown the door (losing 2 weeks pay) then they will probably give notice. Another factor is if they are offered a job and are told they must start immediately, perhaps at a higher salary, they make cut loose. 


Merry's picture

Agree. In 35+ years of working in a professional job, I didn't experience quitting without notice until after Covid. Happened three times. All employees cited "toxic environment," meaning we expected them to work 40 hours, show up on time, attend trainings (during those 40 hours) and actually do their jobs. It's tough out there for managers right now too. 

Elea's picture

Agree, I saw my own grandmother be fired by a giant corporation after she was a loyal, dedicated and punctual employee, a few weeks before becoming eligible for retirement. It broke her heart and no, I have not forgotten but I am generation X. 
The younger generation quits easily and often. In some ways it is good because employers are offering more incentives but as someone that was raised to have a strong work ethic it seems lame to quit without giving notice unless you have a really good reason to do so. 

Winterglow's picture

I'm in Europe. Every job has a contract. Every contract includes the notice required.

If you just walk out of a job without giving notice, it will come back to bite you sooner or later. Future employers call past employers for information about you. Who wants to invest in someone unreliable?

Thumper's picture

I would be appalled to learn my kids pulled the quit and dash routine.  We taught them to give a 2 week. 

It IS the right thing to do.



ndc's picture

My parents taught me to give a two week notice, and they told DH when he was leaving his employer that he should do the same.  We've done so, and it's never backfired on me - meaning I wasn't asked to leave early and was treated well until I left. Edit to add:  Actually, DH had no issue on his last job, but when he left his job previous to that he gave two weeks notice, the employer got mad, fought with him, fired him on the spot and called the police.  It worked out because his new employer let him start the next day. I'm not sure how I forgot all that drama!

However, I think things have changed, and I don't totally blame people for not giving 2 weeks notice (although I think just not showing up isn't right).  So many employers these days fire employees with no notice (and for some jobs they just cut hours as a de facto firing without saying a word).  So many employers kick an employee out immediately when they give a two week notice, leaving them in the lurch if they can't start the new job for a couple weeks.  As for a reference, so many employers won't even give one - all they'll do is verify dates of employment because they're all afraid of being sued.  So it really doesn't matter if you leave on good terms, because they're not saying anything about you, good or bad.

Winterglow's picture

Actually, though they might not give a reference, they WILL answer any and all questions from a prospective future employer over the phone because it's off the record and leaves no trace...

ndc's picture

I guess it depends on the employer and their level of legal sophistication. What is said on the phone isn't off the record, it's just a little harder to prove.  My dad works for a large law firm. He is not allowed to say a word about an employee; he has to refer any inquiries to HR. Their clients are advised to do the same. He complains that it is impossible to get info from other firms about prospective employees they're trying to hire, too.  But probably things are different at smaller businesses that aren't as legally aware. I'm sure the idiot that tried to fight with my DH when he gave his 2 week notice wouldn't hesitate to bad mouth him. 

JRI's picture

At the company I worked for, all I could say if someone called for a reference was to verify they had worked there and give dates of employment.

Here's another take on employers who tell people to leave once they give notice.  Our company was a niche lender.  There was a lot of competition for good clients.  The salesmen and analysts worked closely with them and had access to their financial info.  Once one of these folks gave notice, the company routinely let them go immediately and cut their computer access to company info, like the clients' financial info.  It was a security issue.

This policy didn't apply to other positions. 


StepUltimate's picture

I gave 2-week notice to my prior firm after accepting a position with a competitor. I declined to state where I was going (=said I'd announce that after I started working there) and per their policy, the big firm had me turn in my laptop & leave immediately... and they paid me through the two weeks in the final check they cut & overnighted.

So it pays to give 2-week notice!! Biggrin

Lifer33's picture

It's a month or you lose the pay for whatever you worked in that period. So most people wouldn't be stupid enough to throw away any pay unless they had a really good better offer. I don't know about kids these days those, maybe they don't mind that 

justmakingthebest's picture

2 weeks is proper, but most employees won't give you that anymore. 

If you are in a professional position, 4 weeks is standard. When I leave my company, DH is military so something I have talked about with the owners, they have requested 90 days notice so I can hire and train my replacement. 

My son worked for a grocery store this past year, he is taking a very intense course load and needed to stop working for focus on school. He gave notice and they actually left it up to him to work the 2 weeks or not. They agreed to finish the current posted schedule so they didn't need to fill any lapses (I think it was for another 5-6 days) and then stop working. 

So it really just depends, young kids just quitting isn't surprising at all thought. 

Cover1W's picture

Two weeks minimum is the standard - in my role we like a month if possible because there's so many things we work on that can take a month to rollup for the new person (and for us it's not really training but getting your stuff ready for whomever takes over because finding new employees is TOUGH right now).

I have left a couple jobs when I was younger with less than two weeks - one was a retail job and I found a much better job with a tight start date; the job I left told me if I left with less than two weeks I would never be hired by them again. I agreed.

The other I called and said I wouldn't be in any longer. They just started leaving me off the shift calendar.  The manager hated me for some unknown reason. Gave me no training, no ramp up time, nothing. And I didn't do well during my first month (gee, I wonder why) and I started getting no shifts. So I just called in one day and quit. 

CLove's picture

Even in our more labor-oriented (vs office) jobs, people will give a notice by writing us a letter.

Its mainly because you want a good review when the new employer calls! But also because what if you want to come back, new place doesnt work out the way you hoped...etc.

Noway2b1's picture

My own son has held several jobs in the last two years. Like 4. He's given two weeks notice on his own to every one of them before quitting. I only know this because he sends them to the printer in my office. We've never discussed that it's the "Right" thing to do but I certainly think it's never the wrong thing to do. He learned a good lesson with one that he quit that had a policy of having the employee leave the day of getting notice and still paying them for the two weeks. 

Shieldmaiden's picture

I've noticed too, that the younger generation, in general - doesn't give notice. They also think working 40 hours a week is cruel. They think having to show up for work on time is "too strict," and when they are at work they are on their phones or playing with toys they brought to work. Its  like they have never experienced hard times....oh wait, they HAVEN'T. They haven't had any wars during their lifetime. They live with their parents until they are 40. They don't have any social skills so asking them to talk to customers is cruelty to them. 

The problem? Kids shouldn't have been given cell phones or allowed access to social media  until they were 18. I think that is what caused this mess. Kids never learned social skills, social responsibility, or had any consequences for their actions. They think that protesting all rules is a valid way to get out of doing their share. 

IMHO, of course. I have 3 stepkids and I've seen the negative effect that no rules and full access to the internet can have on a child. 

Russell1981's picture

This was a point of contention with my SKs as opposed to my Biological kids. 

I am not opposed to Social Media, but they need to be much older before they have access to it. My two youngest SK were given phones by BD at a young age and I could do little about it. Their social development became stunted and they are unable to handle small things such as conflict resolution. If they have disagreements they are more likely to cut you off because that is the world they live in.

My biological kids are developing incredibly better socially than any of my SDs. They have friends, go to actual birthday parties, enjoy playing outside, etc. They have conflicts at school sometimes but I have never had to get involved as they resolve the conflict themselves. 

ESMOD's picture

I know employment laws may vary.. but whenever I have given my 2 weeks notice.. I have been paid through that 2 weeks.. and most everyone I have known.. has been paid for it.. even those who were asked to leave when giving notice.. because some companies and some positions will ask that.. liability reduction etc...

Giving notice is not just about making it "better" for the employer... but you also  want to factor in your coworkers because they will usually be the ones picking up the slack until someone new is brought on.. There is also the matter of leaving on good terms so you might be able to come back someday.  

Of course every situation could be different.. and there certainly may be reasons why you quit with no notice.  I have done it a couple of times.. both for very good personal reasons.. and doing it did not hinder my progress in my career.