Instead of tossing everything off your desk and dashing out exclaiming about your newfound freedom, resigning etiquette requires providing two weeks’ notice.
It’s not always that simple.
Two weeks is usually plenty to wrap up, prepare, and say farewell. Two weeks prolongs uneasiness and may even feel comically short to settle your affairs, adding extra week or so can be a smart idea—not just to keep you in good graces with your colleagues, but also for your personal peace of mind.
Here are a few reasons to offer more than two weeks’ notice—and get those LinkedIn recommendations after you depart.
1. Your contract demands more notice.
This reason is not optional, unlike the others. Check your employee handbook and any documents you signed before you began employment (like a contract or offer letter). Any regulations concerning providing more than two weeks’ notice? If so, you may have to complete your notice period.
2. Your 10-day to-do list is unrealistic.
How many unanswered emails do you have? I’m not saying you need to react to every email before you go, but the quantity of emails, requests in your queue, or alerts on your team’s project management software is a good indicator of how much wrapping up you’ll need to accomplish.
Check your duties before resigning. Calculate how long it would take to resolve each request or appropriately delegate it. If the task will take more than a week, add a few days to your two weeks because resigning will likely take up at least a week of your remaining time with this organization.
3. Your two-week departure will harm vital initiatives and connections.
Consider your larger projects and how your departure could affect them. If you’re assisting with a significant deal-clinching presentation in three weeks or a conference next month that’s been in the works for a year, pulling out in two weeks would likely delay those projects and ruin your company’s image and relationships with colleagues.
Your organization will have vital professional ties no matter what you do. Before quitting, be sure those connections are in good shape. Leaving on good terms involves not abandoning others.
Start collecting project temperatures as soon as you think you may leave. Try to predict how your leave will affect them and their coworkers, and make sure your exit date offers you and them a buffer.
4. Your sudden departure will upset your team.
Whether you lead a team or are part of one, your departure will most affect those who rely on you to execute their tasks. Even if you’ve passed the two-week check, consider how your team would feel if you left in 10 business days.
If you have direct reports, review their files and note their career progression plans, objectives, and special initiatives. If an employee is taking an essential certification test in a month, departing in two weeks may disrupt their study plans and confidence. Same for teams. Consider your job duties—how long will it take to teach a colleague (or numerous coworkers) to cover you?
Leaving too soon risks losing your respect. Give your squad enough time to get into position, but not too much.
5. Finding or hiring a successor might assist.
If your work needs specific expertise or experience and it may take a long to find a replacement—temporary or permanent—you may want to volunteer to assist your company start the process. Ask yourself whether you can assist them employ someone for your position by developing a job description, reaching out to your network for prospects, conducting early interviews, or anything else. If you have additional time and can assist for more than two weeks, consider providing more notice.
How to give notice beyond two weeks
Giving more than two weeks’ notice follows the same procedure.
Discuss your final day with your manager beforehand. Face-to-face notice is best. Your manager should know your end date, but you should also discuss flexibility. They may extend your stay beyond three weeks. However, don’t overstay your welcome.
Include your final day of employment in a proper resignation letter.
Tell close colleagues and direct reports individually. Tell your coworkers about your leave intentions. Do this before they find out, so they don’t worry.
List your work tasks and who you propose to take them over until your successor is recruited. Share any unfamiliar procedures or information with anyone affected by your leave.
Remember the reasons you stayed longer? Address them now. Keep your promise to speed up the search for your successor. Train your replacements and finish your to-do list!
Before choosing, consider these factors to keep your excellent reputation for future employment.
When finding a new job, not only do you have the nerves of resigning, but you are also in the process of finding a new job. Read more on Easing the Interview Nerves for some extra tips.