when to give notice
December 7, 2021 9:47 AM   Subscribe

This isn't rocket science, but there is a complication...

My current company is giving us the week between Xmas and New Years' off, paid.

My new job starts January 3.

I would like to be professional and give two weeks notice as per the standard notice period in the US. I don't think Current Company is gonna be inclined to pay me for that week off between Xmas and New Years' once they know I am leaving. Ergo, I thought I should give notice this Friday, which gives two full weeks before this Xmas holiday.

My SO disagrees. He is afraid that Current Company might get petty/angry that I am leaving so soon and walk me when I give notice, which would result in me losing two weeks' pay. He thinks I should wait to give notice next Friday. That means that technically I am giving two weeks' notice, but one of those weeks is this holiday week that Current Company is giving us. To my mind, that's not really two weeks' notice - it's one week.

My manager is literally the only person I'm going to miss at this place, and I don't think she's petty enough to walk me when I give notice. But it might not be up to her - once she lets HR know, they may compel that I be walked. I just don't have a great read on this place.

For those who think I am paranoid about the prospect of being walked, please bear in mind that I have been walked upon giving notice three times in the course of my 15 years in the working world, and two of those occasions were very recent. A friend of mine who gave notice at his job a couple of weeks ago was immediately walked. The fact that it is a job seekers market seems to be making employers a bit touchy, maybe?

At any rate, the being walked is not really my concern. It's this week off between Xmas and New Years' that is mucking me up in terms of the timing of my giving notice. I feel that to say I'm giving two weeks' notice NEXT when in reality I'll only be working one of those weeks is problematic and unprofessional. But if I give notice this week and am walked... well...

So. Should I give notice this Friday, or next?
posted by nayantara to Work & Money (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Give notice next Friday.
posted by phunniemee at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2021 [10 favorites]

I don't think it's paranoid to be worried about that. It happens (clearly). Give notice next Friday, it doesn't make you unprofessional. If the situation were reversed, they would be looking out for their needs first, not yours.
posted by amycup at 10:04 AM on December 7, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: I think you should give notice next Friday. Think of it this way: if your company was not giving you that last week off, would you be working, or did you have vacation days you were planning to use? If you'd be working, then it counts towards your notice period. And worse case scenario, if there's work you or your employer feel you need to do before you leave, you can still do it in that last week. You're getting paid anyway; is there a rule that says you MUST NOT do any work?
posted by yawper at 10:04 AM on December 7, 2021 [5 favorites]

That means that technically I am giving two weeks' notice, but one of those weeks is this holiday week that Current Company is giving us. To my mind, that's not really two weeks' notice - it's one week.

I think most people - especially those in management roles - would agree with that.

Unless dire financial challenges would arise by not getting a week of pay, I'd give notice this Friday. Worst case you're out a week of pay. Best case you look very professional in the eyes of your current organization, which can pay dividends over time.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:10 AM on December 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

If you are truly concerned with being walked, then I would give notice Dec 31, or the last open business day before starting your new job. Fuck 'em. If you're enough of an at-will employee that they can just drop you, then they are an at-will employer and you can just drop them too.
posted by greta simone at 10:17 AM on December 7, 2021 [6 favorites]

I think there's a chance you'll miss out on that week of holiday pay regardless if you start the new job on the third - lots of places have rules that if your last day is a holiday, you don't get paid for that day. Like, one time I left a job and I think I ended up having my last day on Sunday because otherwise they wouldn't have paid me for the holiday that fell on my normal, rational, preferred last day.
posted by mskyle at 10:20 AM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: During my last job transition, I was in a perfect storm situation of waiting for an annual bonus payout at the old job and needing to start at the new place in time to be eligible for a standard annual cost of living raise (it’s a state job). So I ending up quitting with 2 days’ notice. I felt terrible and unprofessional etc etc etc but I did it because it was what I had to do to protect my interests and in the end nobody cared. I was a good employee when I worked there and they still think of me fondly. So: do what you think is best for you. There are almost certainly not going to be any long term consequences.
posted by something something at 10:33 AM on December 7, 2021 [7 favorites]

Unless you work in the sort of industry where

* You might well want to cycle back to CurrentJob inside of ten years
* Managers move around enough that there's some realistic worry that an overlord at CurrentJob might become your boss at NewJob
* It's a small enough world that the BigBoss at NewJob is the cousin of CurrentJob's BigBoss

Then you should look at your contract, employee handbook, or similar governing document and do the bare minimum that that document requires of you.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:35 AM on December 7, 2021 [3 favorites]

If you need and/or want the pay, wait. It's a courtesy, not a requirement.
Apologize to the manager when you do it; tell her you couldn't afford the risk.
posted by stormyteal at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2021 [5 favorites]

I am assuming from your concern with being walked out without severance that your employer is One Of Those, which I think makes considerations of “professionalism” moot.

In that case, I am on team fuck ‘em. They’d fire you with no severance if it were to their benefit, or, as I like to put it, “if you were between them and the ash tray, they’d put a cigar out in your eye.” Resign the day your new job starts.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 11:06 AM on December 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Two weeks is a courtesy in an "employment at will" world. That being said, the only real concern is the burning bridges issue, as noted by prior posters. Next Friday is a decent compromise. But regardless, even giving two weeks notice, company is not required to give you two weeks.
posted by rich at 11:36 AM on December 7, 2021

Another vote for giving notice next Friday. If you really like your manager, and feel that only working 1 of those 2 weeks would put her in a tough spot, you can always offer to do some kind of documentation/knowledge transfer to make the transition to a new employee easier on your manager during the holiday week.
posted by mezzanayne at 11:50 AM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

But if I give notice this week and am walked... well...

I agree with everyone who says giving a week's notice is fine. However, the real answer to what you should do depends on how you'd finish that sentence. If you're walked, then what? If you found yourself minus a week's worth of salary and plus a week's worth of time for yourself, how would you feel?
posted by trig at 12:16 PM on December 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Maybe try thinking of it in terms of which option would cause you less anxiety - less money or more time in a workplace you really hate? The way you've described this workplace, there is no choice you can make that won't be perceived as unprofessional or problematic. Make the choice that feels best for you.
posted by sm1tten at 12:23 PM on December 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Give your notice next Friday - you don't owe them more than that and they'd likely have no qualms about it anyway and may not even notice, depending on how sharp the HR people are. Check your employment contract/award/whatever first to make sure you don't trip yourself up, but it's likely nobody will care enough to worry about it too much.
posted by dg at 1:27 PM on December 7, 2021

Do you trust your manager enough to give them a heads up this Friday and make it official with HR next Friday?
posted by yeahlikethat at 3:17 PM on December 7, 2021

Response by poster: There's no protocol or policy in the handbook on how much notice to give (I checked). The only reason why I would like to do this somewhat respectfully is because I like my manager. I don't know if she'd give me a good reference for leaving after only six months, though.

I am also wondering if I should tell her that the behavior of the other women in the office is what motivated me to look for an exit. I definitely don't want her to think it's because of her. But maybe that's stupid. Thoughts?

Looks like giving notice next week is the way to go, though to be honest having to spend three more weeks with these other women might drive me to a breaking point. Their behavior is getting worse. The manager leaves at 3:30 usually and that last 90 minutes in the office without her there causes me so much dread that it's making my stomach upset. Today they all left at 4:55 without saying a word to me. (I said "have a good night!" I always do.)

The idea of giving notice on December 31 is soooooo tempting, even though I think that would end up inadvertently being a fuck you to my manager.

Though my boyfriend did just point out that my manager actually isn't that good if she isn't aware of how awful her other staff has been to me.

K. I think I have my answer: next Friday.
posted by nayantara at 3:35 PM on December 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Document anything that needs it. Leave your work in good shape. Write a nice note to nice manager. That's enough. Employers routinely treat staff as a commodity; you should treat them the same way.
posted by theora55 at 4:27 PM on December 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: From what you described previously, your manager would have to be totally, utterly, insanely oblivious to not know what's going on. I think giving any notice whatsoever is very considerate, under those circumstances. Your manager is part of the problem, not the solution.

If you feel like it rings authentically for your experience you can express how much you enjoyed working with her, etc. I think calling out the behavior of the other workers will probably make your manager react defensively.
posted by sm1tten at 4:42 PM on December 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

You can start writing handover notes now! If you’ve got sick days, call in sick on Thurs to give yourself a breather. Hand your letter in on Friday, formulate a plan collaboratively with your nice boss, to be finished by the following Friday, and don’t do a damn thing on your vacation: that is part of your pay, and you should get to enjoy it.

I don’t imagine I know the full context of your situation, but spent last year in a toxic work situation that finally pushed me into some illegal unpaid time off and then let me go with no explanation at a time when they needed staff and I was one of their top performers. I spent a whole lot of time researching whether to talk to HR or reach out to someone, reading a lot of employment law blogs and wise folks like Alison Green.

My takeaway, which was really hard to swallow, was that it was not likely to help, and could hurt. The question I found really useful to answer was: what would I get out of making an official complaint? Is it likely that anything would change, either inside of me OR in the working conditions at my office?

In my case, it would not. The big boss and two managers who treated me in toxic ways were well-liked by many other people - while I personally think it’s toxic for a workplace to have any of that kind of behavior, my colleagues wouldn’t have believed me if I’d told them what was happening, and I would have lost credibility in their eyes. I doubt that HR would have treated my concerns seriously - when I was eventually let go, without any explanation or communication, HR treated me brusquely. They aren’t there to make the workplace better: they are there to protect the workplace from lawsuits.

Most importantly, **I** would not have felt any better. For sure I had wishes for punishment/justice, for the big boss and managers who treated me like shit to feel ashamed and to change their toxic ways, for the company to pay me the thousands of dollars they illegally didn’t pay me. But I also wanted to tell SOMEONE so that I was not the only person in the org who understood what was happening.

My industry is very small, and these bosses were very important - those needs will never get met. But my most important needs could be met: to be seen and heard and validated in processing the whole experience with a therapist. If that’s an option for you, I can’t recommend it enough.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 10:42 PM on December 7, 2021

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