Giving week...notice?
September 2, 2008 6:01 PM   Subscribe

I've been given an offer I should really not refuse. Problem: the project starts in one week.

I've been working in a small, privatized department of a local hospital, which consists of myself as patient advocate, a receptionist, a manager/biller/overseer and the physicians. I have worked there for five years, and have always seen this job as the way I pay my bills rather than a vocation or lifelong career. I am a student, and they are aware that I would not be staying indefinitely, and that I have science-y aspirations.

My goals right now are to finish my bachelor's, and start a graduate program in epidemiology either this summer or in the fall. To that end, I have been lucky enough to get a job as a research assistant in an epidemiology lab that will last me for the rest of my undergrad, is within walking distance, and generally is a good thing for me. The one caveat is that they need me to start in a week, because that is when the various lab samples will be coming in. I will not get the job if I can't be there in one week.

I seriously hate my current job, and would like nothing more than to walk in with a tiny little oompa band to blast an anthem of quitting, but no, I would like to maintain something of a positive reference from this place, since I've sunk in five years, been a good employee and so on.

So, yes: How bad would a one-week notice be if you had an employee quit with one week of notice? Does it matter that my job is not that hard? That many, many people in this state are looking for work? That I'd still have two days out of the week that I could come in to train my replacement if needed? Does this blow five years of good honest labor?

As a bonus, I think the physicians would be quite sympathetic to me, and understand more where I'm coming from. It's really the manager/biller who will be the most put-off. Would I be able to go over her head and use the physician staff as a reference for future jobs even though she is my direct supervisor?
posted by palindromic to Work & Money (10 answers total)
You can use whoever you want as a reference, so long as you're clear about whether or not they served a supervisory role over you or not. If it's your most recent job, most places will understand not wanting to use your immediate supervisor as a reference anyhow, because obviously if you're on the hunt you don't want to alert your boss to it... it's just kind of understood.

The fact that you're posting about this, being worried about 1 week not being enough, etc, has me convinced that you can be properly apologetic and honest about the fact that this opportunity has come to you, and you wish you could give a full two weeks but you must start immediately. Offering assistance, within reason, past that, is a nice gesture.

Remember: Two weeks is a courtesy, not a law or a rule, and your employer doesn't have to give you so much as two minutes notice... so long as you're forthright about why you can't give two weeks, and seem honest in being apologetic about it, I don't think you should have a problem.

Good luck!
posted by twiggy at 6:10 PM on September 2, 2008

Twiggy is exactly right.

You would if you could, but you can't, not if you want to take advantage of this opportunity. And though the manager/biller may be put out by it, even s/he should realize you're not doing it on purpose to upset them.

Go! Go get your new job!
posted by droplet at 6:21 PM on September 2, 2008

And really, if you're friendly with the people you'd want to use as references, you can warn them in advance about the ooma-loompa band and it'll be fine.
posted by rhizome at 6:28 PM on September 2, 2008

Would I be able to go over her head and use the physician staff as a reference for future jobs even though she is my direct supervisor?

Absolutely. Just be sure to discuss it with the physician staff.
Good luck.
posted by a3matrix at 6:35 PM on September 2, 2008

congrats! worse has happened to your soon-to-be-former employers. i'm sure all will be well and yay you for finding a dream job!
posted by citystalk at 6:52 PM on September 2, 2008

Do it! I don't know how many times I've provided references that employers have not even bothered to call. As long as you keep it professional and make it clear that you have no other choice, your current employers will be more likely to speak highly of you even if you do leave somewhat abruptly.
posted by joshrholloway at 7:16 PM on September 2, 2008

I'd go in, tell your boss that this lab job has been offered to you, but that you really care about your work at the hospital (even if that is not true), and that you want to manage your transition out as smoothly and professionally as possible. Then ask for his/her help doing that.

You will come off as responsible and loyal and won't leave on a sour note.
posted by yellowcandy at 7:48 PM on September 2, 2008

Your boss would have to be a cold-hearted fink to not be supportive of an opportunity if described the way you did to us. Two weeks is great if you can do it, but your extenuating circumstances are entirely legit.
posted by desuetude at 8:05 PM on September 2, 2008

I've done this twice before... leaving a job (with more than 2 years in) with one week notice.
most reasonable supervisors and upper management will be put off, but understand. With my own experience, I've found it more profitable and enjoyable to pursue new job opportunities. It's always a good idea to leave on a good personal basis, especially with only one week notice. But remember, most companies would NOT give you any notice before a layoff comes around, so dont feel to attached. Keep it to yourself until you're ready to give in your resignation (also a good idea to prepare before you tell "the boss"). Good luck!
posted by sharkhunt at 8:08 PM on September 2, 2008

I think you'll be fine. I would go speak to your direct supervisor and let her know the scoop.

Willingness to help train your replacement 2 days a week is a huge plus, I'd think.

Don't let on that you hate your current job at all. There is no need to. And feel free to use docs who know you as a reference. Physicians have needed so many letters of reference to get to where they are that they are quite familiar with the whole ordeal.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:20 PM on September 2, 2008

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