How to give two week's notice?
June 15, 2006 1:13 PM   Subscribe

What's the "right" way to to give two week's (or in my case, one week's) notice to an employer?

I'm planning to start a new job in just over a week, and I'd like to give some notice to my current employer, but I haven't the slightest clue about who or how.

I've managed to gather that the "proper" way to give notice is to do it in writing. What should the letter/note say? The advice I found recommended keeping it quite simple, just mentioning the intent to leave and the date, though I couldn't find any examples. Is it as simple as "Effective such-and-such a date, I will resign from my position.", signed and dated?

I'm also not sure who I should be giving notice to. Partly, this is because it's not exactly clear which of two people is my "boss", the (small-ish) company's president, who's generally referred to as "the boss", or the leader of the software development team I'm on. Should I also copy HR?

I've never had to quit from a "real" job before; my others were primarily internships for a set period of time.
posted by Godbert to Work & Money (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Tell the leader of your team about it and ask him if you should submit your letter (print it, don't e-mail it), to him or to the boss. Don't worry about HR, your leader or boss will him them.
posted by k8t at 1:18 PM on June 15, 2006

PS, try to give 2 weeks... seriously...
posted by k8t at 1:18 PM on June 15, 2006

My Template:




It is with deep regret that I must at this time tender my resignation and give X weeks notice.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity I have been given to learn and develop. The time I have spent at COMPANY NAME has been most rewarding and helpful in my career, and I hope that my contributions to the company have been constructive.

Thank you for your time and consideration and I wish you all the best in the future.

If I may be of any assistance in the hiring process or training of my replacement, please know that I will gladly make myself available to this effort during the next two weeks.



posted by jimmy0x52 at 1:19 PM on June 15, 2006 [3 favorites]

The letter should say, "I resign my position effective this date." that's all. As simple as possible is best. If they ask, then you can choose to answer or not.

And yeah, in your case, a team leader isn't significant enough. It's usually the person who would do all the legwork to hire your successor, so I'd do it to the CO president.

Oh, but for a good reference, you should've given them two weeks. It's a courtesy.
posted by SpecialK at 1:19 PM on June 15, 2006

jimmy0x52's letter is perfect, it's pretty much exactly the one I use.

But do it in person, and give them the letter at the end of the conversation. The conversation should go pretty much along the same lines as the letter.

I'd speak to your team leader first, if they're the person who allocates and manages your work on a daily basis. If you want to speak to the "boss" as well, do so, but your day-to-day boss should be the one you tell first.

And as SpecialK and k8t say, you really want to give 2 weeks' notice. Even if that means speaking to your new employer and explaining that you need to give 2 weeks' notice so that your current employer can find a replacement and you can finish off your work. They want you, so they should be happy to wait a week. One extra week to wait should be nothing in the grand scheme of things. It also signals to your new employer that you're a loyal employee who is committed to seeing things through.

Good luck! Telling a good boss that you're leaving is always tough - and if they're really a good boss, they'll wish you well.
posted by bella.bellona at 1:33 PM on June 15, 2006

I made five copies of my resignation letter at my last job, gave everyone a copy that could possibly be construed as my boss and gave a copy to HR.

I addressed the letter to HR and put all the other bosses in a CC: (This was paper. I just used the traditional memo format to make sure everyone knew that everyone got a copy.)


I will be resigning my position as [job title] effective [date], two weeks from today.

Thank you,


All the "thanks" and "warm wishes" and similar were done in person. For a letter in my HR file of a major corporation, the fewer words, the better, was my logic.
posted by Gucky at 1:36 PM on June 15, 2006

You may be confusing the "proper" way to give notice somewhat. You absolutely want to make it official writing, but if you have a good relationship with the boss, the "proper" way to resign is in person. I've generally sat down with my boss, explained that I'm leaving, answered whatever questions they had, maybe had a little chat, then handed over the letter. Really it's just a formality, and it can be elaborate if you like, or as simple as SpecialK's.

If you do it this way, remember that talking it over with your boss does not mean being persuaded or browbeaten to stay / extend your leaving date / what have you.

Also - third the give 'em two weeks. If at all possible. I've never had a new employer give me any trouble about my firmly-held policy of two weeks' notice.

On preview: bella.bellona said it pertier
posted by pocams at 1:38 PM on June 15, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions/advice so far. At the new company, they're trying to get me in ASAP, but I'll see if I can push my start date back a week to be able to give two weeks at my current job.
posted by Godbert at 1:50 PM on June 15, 2006

There you go - the keener they are to get you in ASAP, the more they want you, and hence (counterintuitively), the more likely they are to agree to you pushing the start date back by a week.
posted by bella.bellona at 1:53 PM on June 15, 2006

As an employer, I'd be leery of anyone that didn't say, "Well, I appreciate that this is crunch time for you, but I really do want to give XYZ company enough notice for an effective transition." It shows that you're responsible and committed to an employer, even on the way out (even if you're not) which is what I'd want to see in someone that I was bringing into my startup. I'm sure they'd be willing to work with you on this. In my current job, it was an ASAP thing and they were actually willing to give me three weeks when I asked for (at least) two!
posted by ml98tu at 2:00 PM on June 15, 2006

Sorry to derail, but why do so many people here feel its important to notify HR or others in writing? Is there some reason to do this that I'm overlooking? Are you afraid that the company will claim that you left sooner than you actually did in order to pay you less or end your benefits early?
posted by mullacc at 2:10 PM on June 15, 2006

HR wants the letter so that you don't come back in a week and say what do you mean I said I was quitting. You guys fired me and now I want unemployment or I want to sue you or whatever. It's just so that they can cover their behinds and have official proof that you quit.

But yeah, tell your boss in person and follow it up with a letter.
posted by willnot at 2:17 PM on June 15, 2006

mullacc: Yes, exactly. It's called "CYA" - cover your ass. In some jobs I've had, I didn't go to the bathroom without documenting it.

You would also want something in writing to be on file, should references call to check.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:18 PM on June 15, 2006

I've always used this as my model for resignation letters and delivered them to my boss in person. But whatever you do, no parting shots.
posted by sexymofo at 2:29 PM on June 15, 2006

I'm with Mullac. No need to put it in writing. What is the upside of doing so? Just tell your software engineer boss, then walk out and tell the President.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:29 PM on June 15, 2006

You put it in writing so that, just in case later they try to claim that you quit without following protocol and in some way screw you over, you can prove them wrong with your dated letter.
posted by cubby at 2:33 PM on June 15, 2006

Sorry to derail, but why do so many people here feel its important to notify HR or others in writing?

HR wants that letter so they have a written record that you terminated your employment. You also want them to have that letter so there is a record that YOU (rather than they) terminated your employment.
posted by jca at 2:42 PM on June 15, 2006

You could do what I did at my last job. You can ask the team leader, "do I give my notice letter to you, or the President"

that get the conversation out of the way and doesn't give then a chance to "argue you out of it"
posted by Megafly at 3:50 PM on June 15, 2006

Just don't do what I had somebody do to me - call and say "I've accepted a new job and am not coming back in ever."
posted by Lucinda at 6:34 PM on June 15, 2006

If they are going to screw you over, they will deny ever haven gotten the letter. If they say they fired you, collect unemployment. There is no rational reason to screw you and if they are irrational, a letter ain't gonna help for bupkiss.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:34 PM on June 15, 2006

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