Many ask me the reason for giving two weeks’ notice, and why it’s important in leaving a job. This subject often comes up when someone I know or a client feels like they were mistreated and either want to “get back” at the employer by just leaving, or don’t feel it is warranted based on their perceived or true maltreatment in the workplace. Certainly anyone can justify merely not showing up one day and “sticking it to the man,” but I am here to argue that is not the way to end your employment at any company.
First, you don’t know what a past employer might say when called for a reference. Some are told by lawyers not to say anything but dates of employment for any past employee, however they can say anything they like – there is no law against it. Leaving in the best way, by giving that two weeks’ notice may be just the thing that gets you a great reference, or at least keeps them from saying anything negative about you.
Second, you know that you did the right thing and that is important. Young people are especially bad about quitting jobs on a whim, but later in life they regret that decision as they mature in workplace ethics and career management. We regret enough of what we have done and not done in our life, so let’s not add to the list by just quitting without notification.
Three, and maybe most importantly, many companies will allow you to return to their organization years later, with all of your tenure, vacation time, etc., if you just give two weeks’ notice and then actually show up and work through that two weeks. You leave in what they call “good stead” which means for all intents and purposes you have done the mature thing. You may say, I would never go back, but don’t be so sure, 10 years down the road and things could be very different at that organization and in your life.
Make a good decision when leaving an organization. Whether they let you stay the two weeks or tell you to clean out your desk leave immediately, you have used proper career management etiquette and just may get a positive review from doing so or another job when you need one down the road. To your career success!