5 Rules for When to Tell Your Employer You are Quitting?
If you are considering a career change that involves leaving your current employment, there will come a time when you must tell your employer. That conversation is no less important than any other step in changing your career. Choosing the right time to announce your resignation requires some planning and understanding.
Rule One: If you have a contract that defines how much notice is required, honor that contract. Violating your contract can put more than just your honor at risk. There can be legal and financial consequences of giving less notice than is required by your employment contract. All of the remaining rules assume that you are first abiding by any contractual agreements.
Rule Two: Don’t give notice of leaving your job until you have firm confirmation of what you will be doing next. If you are going to another job, wait until you’ve accepted a written offer. If you are starting your own business or retiring, don’t turn in your resignation until you have begun a clear plan and are ready to act.
Rule Three: Except in certain circumstances, don’t give more than one month’s notice. The problem with resigning too early is that both you and your employer can easily grow anxious about your departure. This anxiety will often interfere with your work and do damage to your relationship. If you believe your employer needs more advanced notice, carefully consider the possible consequences. I have personally made the mistake of giving notice to early only to have my supervisor respond by showing dissatisfaction in my work for the first time. And even thought I thought my employer would use the time to search for my replacement, they did not begin looking until my final week on the job.
Rule Four: Tell your employer before you tell co-workers and other business associates. You don’t want your employer to hear from someone else that you are leaving. Telling others first will put your reputation and relationship at risk. You don’t want to burn bridges with your current employer. Who knows, they may someday be your customer.
Rule Five: Except in extreme circumstances, never give less than two weeks notice. Even if problems at work make you want to leave on the spot, think first about what is best for you. Working just two more weeks shows your commitment to doing thing right. Give your notice, put in a few more days of excellent work, then move on to the next exciting stage in your career. By the way, the two weeks should not include using paid leave unless your employer recommends it and you agree.
When it’s time to move on, give careful thought to how you will make your resignation. Choose a time that is fair to your employer and allows for a friendly departure. Regardless of your plans for today, you never know how important that relationship may be in the future.
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