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Two Weeks Notice Not Enough?

Two Weeks Notice Not Enough?

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

August 24, 2010

A reader writes:

I have been working at the same company (my first post-school job) for about 2 years now, and I’ve been moderately to very unhappy for most of my time here for a variety of factors (different working style from my boss which has lead to clashes in the past, public belittlement if something goes wrong, a team that is perennially understaffed, a boss who “passes the buck” and doesn’t stick up for her employees with management, underpaid, very long hours — 55+ per week is typical, etc.).

I have been offered another job with very similar duties and a modest pay raise at a firm similar to mine, but who isn’t a direct competitor. The benefits are better, as are the hours and the commute, and when I met with my future manager, I had that intangible feeling of connection — we have similar styles, and I believe will work together harmoniously.

I’ve decided to take the new job, and yesterday I gave my manager my two weeks notice. She did not take it well, and she and the head of the office came through with quite a large counteroffer (which is almost an insult — if they are able offer me a 40% pay raise now, then clearly I’ve been very underpaid for quite a while now.) I’ve turned it down — my moving companies was never about the money — and she did not take it well.

Now the management is angry with me and wants me to give more than my standard two weeks notice. They have basically threatened that I’ll “burn bridges” in my entire industry if I don’t give them at least a month (my team is quite understaffed and has been for about four months now, but my manager hasn’t hired anyone to help out with the workload). I am fairly junior, not an executive or a manager, and as I understand it, two weeks is the standard notice for someone at my level.

What is the proper protocol here? I want to make the transition as smooth as possible, which I’ve said, and I would like to leave without any acrimony, but now I no longer think this is possible, as my boss takes people leaving quite personally. Should I have given more than two weeks notice, and am I at all obligated to do so?

Hold firm, remain professional, work out your remaining two weeks cheerfully no matter how unpleasant they are, leave behind as much documentation for your replacement as you have time to create in those two weeks, and then go start your new job without any regrets.

It’s true that in some offices, more than two weeks notice is expected. But because that expectation differs from the wider norm, it’s only reasonable if it’s an office where employees are treated well. By asking for more notice than the cultural norm, an employer is essentially asking you to do them a favor. And guess what — you don’t get to poop all over your employees and then ask them for a favor.

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