2 Weeks Notice – When Honesty is Risky

man at the edge of cliff in yosemite

In today’s society, honesty doesn’t always pay off. At least, not in the ways we think it should. Some might say that it’s risky to be honest in the corporate world, where the company line is often “results results results.” So when it comes to leaving the company, should you give 2 weeks notice?

What’s the Worst that Could Happen?

If you give 2 weeks notice to your employer, they might fire you on the spot. It seems harsh, but it’s really more common than you might think. You see this most when someone is leaving their job  to go to a competing company. Your employer might see it as a risk to keep you around. This makes it a lot harder to give 2 weeks notice to your employer  because you have to worry about losing your job and having no income in the interim.

So What Can You Do?

There are a lot of things you can do when faced with a situation like this. Laws vary by state but in “at will” states, your employer can fire you for whatever reason they want (excepting reasons that are discriminatory). Likewise, you can quit with as little notice as you want. This law does have some variations throughout different states, and it can also be overridden by any contract you signed with your employer that agrees to give notice.

So in most cases, you don’t legally have to give notice to your employer when you leave. Not giving 2 weeks notice saves you from a lot of potential issues, like your boss getting mad and firing you on the spot, but is it the right thing to do?

Being Honest and Maintaining Your Integrity

Consider your reputation. You never want to burn bridges while moving on from a job, and neglecting to give notice will certainly reflect on you and your character.

Think of it this way. By not giving notice, you are ensuring that your company will be shorthanded during the time it takes to interview and hire a new person into your position. You are intentionally causing harm to the company. This is why neglecting to give notice is dishonest, even though it may be legal.

So What Should You Do?

First, don’t burn bridges. You never know when you might need or want to return to your company. If your new employer wants you to start immediately, be upfront and honest with your current employer about the situation. Give them as much heads up as you can so that they can start the transition process. While this might only be a few days rather than two weeks, that is ok. You are moving along in your career while also giving them as much heads up as possible in your situation.

This is the risky part. If you are honest with your employer and have every intent of doing the right thing, they may decide to just move on right away. Just because you value honesty and integrity, doesn’t guarantee your employer does too. That’s what makes honesty difficult, but that’s also why it’s so valuable.

2 Weeks Notice – It’s Up to You.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you. Each individual situation is different and has its own unique difficulties. Consider your circumstances and options, and remember that you are ultimately representing yourself and your character in the way you leave your job. The actions you take reflect on you. Will you stand by your decision? Can you be proud of who you represented yourself to be?

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Honestly Mag's staff is made up of all sorts of people; from Millennials to Gen Xers to Baby Boomers, we have all different kinds of perspective of life at work.