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The Art of the Two Weeks' Notice

The Art of Two Weeks’ Notice

The Betts Team
August 6, 2015

 “Burning bridges is the No. 1 way to damage your career – worse than not performing at your job. If you quit in a distasteful way, leave people high and dry or steal clients and head to a competitor, you will spoil your professional references.” – Carolyn Betts –

Congrats! You’ve found your next job. Now you have to figure out how to quit your old one. Do you give two weeks? How should you tell your boss? Should you let your co-workers know, or slip out quietly? These can be tough questions, and if done incorrectly, can burn relationships and seriously hurt your professional career.

Here are some tips to leaving on a high note and making those last two weeks at your old company a smooth hand off, and not a “lame duck session.”

Be Honest

It’s tempting to put off the conversation and tiptoe around the truth about your upcoming departure. The best thing to do in this situation is treat the conversation like a Band-Aid, and just do it quickly. Depending on the company and the industry, you typically want to be honest with your employer about where you’re going and why. Are you leaving for more career growth, more money, or shorter commute? Tell them.

Use the words “transition” as often as possible

The key to a successful departure is transitioning all of your work to the appropriate people so that it’s like you never left. We always recommend people volunteer to put together a transition plan, and document everything (processes, passwords, log-ins, etc.). Knowing that all of your work isn’t just going to fall on their lap can help relieve some of the sudden stress placed on your old employer.

Don’t burn bridges

Try and leave emotions out of your last two weeks. Sometimes it’s tempting to steal all the pens, and log a full 80 hours on Facebook during your last two weeks, but don’t do it! Your old employer probably works in the same field as your new company and you don’t want them spreading bad rumors about you all over town. You owe it to yourself to leave on a high note.

Offer, offer, offer

It’s your last two weeks. Put in that little extra effort to make people know how awesome you were after you’re gone. Leave a legacy, not a hole.

  • Offer to teach people how you did your job.
  • Offer to write out clear instructions people can read if they forget how you did something.
  • Offer your phone number and personal email to help them find or fix anything after you’re gone Don’t worry. If you did a good job transitioning your job, they wont need it).

Say Thank You

Even if you hate your old employer with a passion, they helped you gain experience, put you in the right place at the right time, or in some way helped you get this new job. Try to remember that (and any of the happy moments) when you speak with your old employer. Leave them with a positive impression of you and most of all, genuinely thank them for the opportunity.

Greener pastures might be down the road, but don’t burn the bridges behind you. Using these tips and gracefully transitioning from your old job to the new will ensure you have a solid list of glowing references and not a pile of skeletons in your closet.

If you’re interested in moving on from your old career and would like to speak with a recruiter to get the ball rolling, click here to connect with a Betts Recruiter today!