Do You Have to Give 2 Weeks Notice When You Quit a Job?

The choice to quit a job is one of the toughest you’ll make, and doing so without giving two weeks notice is a controversial choice. Deciding it’s time to move on is a turning point for your life and career, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. But what if you just can’t stand to spend one minute longer in the office?

For tech pros, the decision may be much more difficult, given all it took to land your job in the first place. The interview process for jobs in tech is arduous, and the prospect of going through those steps again can be daunting. But if you’ve resolved to leave your current role, you’ll have to jump through those hoops all over again.

While giving two weeks notice is standard, it’s usually not mandatory. Here are some considerations to make before quitting your job in haste.

What Does Your Contract Say?

Remember: Any agreement to employ you is a contract. There are laws that allow employers and employees to terminate such agreements immediately, but a contract can still feature disclaimers and qualifiers that make quitting your job abruptly more difficult.

Sometimes these contractual add-ons can affect your stock vesting or continued benefits. In other words, you’re incentivized to provide a longer exist strategy. Giving four weeks notice may provide you with company-paid healthcare for six months after you quit, as an example.

Read the fine print before storming out. Not only does it give you time to reflect on your job satisfaction, it helps you make a less-hasty (and more profitable) decision.

Think of the Repercussions

You might feel really cool giving your boss the business in their office and strutting out the door with a box full of your personal items, but once you’re out the door, you’re on your own.

And when you’re on your own, it’s an uphill climb. You might still be in “screw that job” mode, but your next employer is going to want to know why you left. Moreover, if they give your now-former employer a call, your old boss may let it slip that you quit abruptly. While many states mandate a reference may only discuss how long you worked there, there’s nothing keeping your boss from saying something like “and they quit without notice on (day and time).”

Your reasons for leaving are subjective, but your new employer is taking an objective look at you. Quitting in haste may not go over well.

Consider Your Team

You may be miserable, but what would leaving abruptly do to your team?

It’s likely you’re responsible for a corner of your tech stack, and your team depends on you to make sure it’s running smoothly. Leaving suddenly might feel great, but it could also have dire effects on your team once you exit the building.

While this advice transcends quitting your job, it’s relevant: Make sure whoever’s next can easily pick up where you left off.

That may mean commenting your code, leaving behind a document laying out where a project is heading or what your roadmap was, and/or simply tidying up your codebase to make it easier to read.

It’s always best to give two weeks, and your team might be the best reason you have for sticking it out. Easing their transition is the best policy, even if you hate your manager or company.

Let Your Manager Give You 2 Weeks Notice

If you want to quit abruptly, it’s always best to do so face-to-face. And when you have that talk, approach it as though you’re willing to stay two weeks; even if you want to leave immediately, be willing to stick around.

Explain why you want to leave, but give your manager the freedom to allow you to leave immediately. Chances are good your boss will ask you to wrap things up over the course of a few weeks instead of walking out right there, and you get the opportunity to bond with your team and build up your network.

15 Responses to “Do You Have to Give 2 Weeks Notice When You Quit a Job?”

  1. Most companies pay out remaining vacation time which you will not get unless you give 2 weeks notice. In any company of a reasonable size, your former manager is not going to say anything about you; those inquiries are sent to HR. I hated my former job but stuck out the 2 weeks because I was sitting on a lot of vacation time. It’s best to leave on good terms with any employer; it’s the professional thing to do.

    • In California paying out PTO is not optional. Giving notice should be bidirectional. Not something only for the employee. If you work for an organization that does not provide a two week notice, they do not deserve to receive a two week notice.

  2. It is supposed to be done to maintain good relations with the company you are leaving. The way companies regard employees, I don’t think it is necessary or relevant anymore. If you have the right connections, you might be rehired.

  3. Few companies even ask employees to serve longer than 2 weeks notice. I once had a job for years. My employer wanted to throw me out of that job.

    When I decided to quit myself, I was asked 2 months notice time. It was weird because 2 months is too long and not acceptable by my new employer since no new employers can wait for any new hires that long. Secondly, it was my ex-employer that wanted me out.

    I could not comprehend the meaning of notice period. I believe its just one of the HR tactics to mentally abuse employees.

  4. if your employment term is “AT WILL”, you can leave company in the same day when you notice company, anyway, many people here in the bay area notice decision in Tuesday or Wednesday and leave company in the coming Friday afternoon.