Recently, I moved to a new city and got a new job. Knowing that I was leaving, I had a choice to make; I could give more than the standard two weeks notice, and risk losing my job and pay immediately, or I could give my employer more than the standard amount of notice and hope that this would allow me to transition smoothly.
As I considered how much notice to give, I scoured the internet and asked trusted loved ones for advice. Although it seemed to be a hotly contested topic in business, I decided to give more than two weeks notice for three reasons.
1. Financial discipline gave me freedom. I have been carefully disciplined with my finances. Because I had money saved up, I was able to make what I felt was the right choice. Financial discipline is important because you never want to be torn between deciding to do what is right, or keeping food on the table. By giving a lot of notice, I risked going months without a job. My financial discipline gave me the ability to do what I thought was right, regardless of the consequences – it gave me freedom to follow my gut. Luckily, it worked out in my favor and I was able to continue working, but I had to be financially prepared for the worst-case scenario.
2. I believe in leading from the bottom. I was, at first, torn about what to do, but I felt like giving advance notice to facilitate a smooth transition was the right thing to do. Ultimately, I chose to talk to my manager about leaving in advance because I decided that it was important to lead from the bottom. The type of leader I want to be is straightforward and honest. If it didn’t work out, and I ended up unemployed for a few months (which I thought was a very realistic possibility), I would be able to sleep easy knowing all I had done was be honest.
3. Most of all, I felt like it was the right thing to do. I started being asked to make commitments I could not keep and starting projects I knew I would not see through. I wanted to be a good team player, giving extra notice so that I could be honest about my ability to support these initiatives. I knew I was taking a risk, and many trusted confidantes reminded me that I would likely be let go as soon as I gave notice, but in my gut it felt like the right thing to do.
Leaving a role will be different for everyone. For the record, I am not trying to tell you what to do in this situation, but instead explain to you how I made a difficult decision in the hope that the way I thought through it can make your decision easier. I am ultimately very satisfied with the choice I made, and feel that by being honest I left a lasting positive impression on my employer.
How much notice have you given for leaving a job? Do you feel like you should have given more or less?