This topic has come up quite a few times for me in the last few weeks – Several of my friends are looking to quit their jobs in order to take on more profitable roles elsewhere. The question is: When do you tell your current employer that you are taking up employment elsewhere?
Most people are aware of the courtesy “2 week notice”. It’s a widely accepted practice that if you are quitting a job, you give your employer at least 2 weeks in which you remain on the work schedule while they attempt to hire someone to replace you and/or find a way to rework the schedule so that your shift is covered by someone else. However, the question remains: When do you tell them?
Personally, I believe that no matter how much you care about a business or your employer, you have to look after yourself first. It’s just common sense to me that you do not tell your current employer that you are taking on a different job until you actually have the job. I’ve seen too many scenarios where someone made the mistake of disturbing the waters, announcing their intent to take on a different job only to find out that they haven’t gotten the new position after all. It’s awkward and it creates a tension between yourself and management. In fact, it can create a toxic work environment.
Take this scenario as an example…
Jane has made it to her second interview at a great new restaurant in town. She’s feeling confident that she has the job. She really likes the restaurant she works at now – her bosses are nice and her coworkers are great. Her problem is that she isn’t getting the hours that will work best with her school schedule and this new place is much closer to home. Since she cares so much about this place she’s currently working at, she decides to tell everyone including management that she has a second interview elsewhere and is likely leaving to go work there.
Jane goes to her second interview and is confident that things have gone well. She’s “sure” that she got the job although it hasn’t yet been confirmed. Excited, she assures her current employer that she’ll be leaving and gives her official 2 weeks notice.
Her boss has established a friendly relationship with her and she’s feeling a little slighted and maybe taking the loss of this employee a little more personally than she should. She very suddenly cuts back the hours of Jane immediately figuring there’s no sense in scheduling someone who is leaving to work elsewhere anyways. Taking Jane off of the schedule now before she can quit makes it easier for management to handle filling in the schedule with other employees later.
Jane gets a phone call a week later and finds out that another applicant has filled the position and that she has no new job after all. She’s already put in notice that she’s leaving and her hours have been given away to various employees in order to prepare for her departure. Mortified, she has to go tell her boss that she hasn’t gotten the new job and that she’ll need her hours back.
While Jane had the best intentions at heart, she’s created a bad work environment for herself. Her boss has lost a little bit of faith in her as an employee and now knows that it’s only a matter of time before Jane leaves when she finds another job. It makes it difficult for her employer to care about her in the same way. Is that fair at a business level? No, not really. But humans are flawed and such is life.
Jane could have avoided all of the drama and stress by keeping her intentions to herself – waiting until it was confirmed that she had a new job and a start date lined up before telling her current employer.
Of course, that example isn’t perfect and sometimes managers aren’t very good at conducting business. I have personally heard of employees being completely cut from the schedule granting them a “2 week, un-paid vacation” or in some cases, employees being fired before they could quit.
If you are seeking employment elsewhere, here are a few tips and ideas for making the transition smoother for both you, your current and soon to be employers.
- Give a two week notice only once you are sure you have a new job lined up.
- Before giving your official resignation letter, talk things out with your boss and explain the whats and the whys. It’ll be more readily accepted if it doesn’t feel like it’s being sprung on them.
- When asked when you can officially start your new job, request a date 2 weeks in the future and explain to your new employer that you wish to do the respectful thing by giving a 2 week notice. Trust that they will be okay with this and that you will earn some big respect points.
- Once you have given your notice, do anything you can to make your leaving a little easier on your bosses – especially if you work for a very small company where there aren’t a lot of other employees to pick up on your slack.
- Know a friend who is looking for a job? Help them and your old employment out by getting them together. Pay it forward!
- If you should need to start working at the new job as soon as possible, continue working at your old job if you can. It’ll be extra work for a couple of weeks, but it’ll mean a little extra money in your pocket and you’ll feel good in the end that you did the best for everyone.
- Don’t slack off during your last two weeks. I know it’s super tempting, but remember that this person gave you a job when you needed one and provided the stepping stone to better things. Also remember that this person may be called upon later as a reference. You need them.
- Give your fellow co-workers a heads up – especially if you’ve been working with the same people for years. Maybe you aren’t friends outside of your cubical, but you’ve established a relationship with people worth respecting. And besides… you may need to call on them later for references also.
Have you ever quit a job? How did it go? Got any tips for others? Share in the comments because I’d love to hear them!