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Two week notice. Why you don’t have to quit the job you hate.

two week notice

Turning in your two-week notice without a conversation is a short-sighted move

Why quitting your job should be the last resort

If you are thinking about turning in your two-week notice for any of the following reasons, I encourage you to have an honest conversation with yourself. Below are the more common reasons and employees will turn in their two week’s notice and quit:

  • Lack of management recognition of work
  • Bored and unchallenged
  • Didn’t receive the opportunity that was expected
  • Relationship with manager/boss
  • Relationship with co-workers
  • Opportunity to use a skill that is considered a strength

Look in the mirror

If you are thinking about turning in your two-week notice, then I would ask you to look in the mirror and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I talk with my manager about the potential disconnect between my needs and what the company is providing?
  • Did I pro-actively set up a time to talk with my manager and make it crystal clear that I am looking for something specific?

As an HR person, it is very common for me to talk with employees both before and after they turn in their two week’s notice to their direct manager.

Typical two-week notice conversation:

  • Employee: HRNasty, I am sorry, I am going to have to turn in my two-week notice. I found a new job with Acme Publishing.
  • HRNasty: Congratulations. Just out of curiosity, can I ask what inspired you to take this job?
  • Employee: My manager only meets with me once a quarter. I prefer we meet once a week. I don’t see eye to eye with my manager. My manager doesn’t seem to be interested in what I am doing.
  • HRNasty: I am sorry about that. I know that your manager meets with other employees monthly and has a pretty good track record for promoting folks on his team.
  • Employee: Yeah, that is just it. He does meet with others more often, but I am left with just meeting quarterly. I feel like I could get more done if I met more often.
  • HRNasty: This is odd and I agree with you, it doesn’t sound fair on the surface. Just out of curiosity, have you talked with your manager? Did you ask for a monthly or weekly meeting?
  • Employee: No, I didn’t ask. Most of the employees meet quarterly and there are two that meet monthly and it just doesn’t seem fair.
  • HRNasty: Hmmm, well, I am really sorry about this. My gut tells me that your manager doesn’t want to meet with folks more than they want to meet so he starts with a quarterly cadence and adjusts on an individual basis. But I am confident that he would accommodate anyone that is interested in furthering their career, meeting with your manager usually facilitate this.
  • HRNasty: I wish you would have asked for additional meetings, your manager isn’t a mind reader. 

75% of the time

The employee gets fed up with their co-workers, lack of opportunity, management style, etc, but doesn’t say anything to their manager.

My message is this: Speaking up about what you are willing to quit over is a mature move. Having a conversation about how to fix something that is potentially broken or misunderstood is a good thing.

Managers are not mind-readers and if we don’t tell them what we want, it is hard to deliver what you are looking for.

In most cases, the employee just assumes that what they are asking for is too much, too large, or impossible. In many cases, the employee assumes the manager should know about the disconnect. (Based on the tone of most conversations, the assumption is that it should be obvious to everyone that the manager missed the boat.) This is not the case. Most of the time had I known what the employee wanted, I could have coached the employee to have the conversation and the employee would have been happy with the outcome.

I need feedback

Trust me, I have heard all the reasons employees leave. Employees want:

  • More feedback
  • Less feedback
  • More opportunity
  • Don’t want to manage
  • Wants to manage
  • Johnny got the big client and I didn’t
  • Susie got the promotion and I didn’t

All of the above situations can be addressed. These are situations that HR and your manager feel they can fix. In the least, your manager wants the opportunity to explain the company’s side of the miscommunication. Employees are being short-sighted when they quit without giving their manager a heads up.

Diplomacy vs demands

Trust me, you are doing your manager a favor as long as you have a diplomatic conversation. They REALLY want to have this conversation when you have a solution. Managers want to know how you feel and think about the workplace. Managers don’t want to be blamed for the situation, they want to know how they can help the situation.   

Quitting without this conversation can look like an immature move. Quitting with the assumption that your disconnect is impossible to fix is a short-sighted assumption. Without a conversation, the fault will lie at the employee’s feet. With this conversation, your manager has no one but themselves to blame if you turn in your two weeks. You gave them a heads up. Isn’t this the way you want to exit the building?

See you at the after party,


nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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