When asked why she didn’t give a two-week notice she says she gave a two-year notice:
For the past two years she repeatedly asked her boss for an assistant and complained about her workload. She had told him if her work load didn’t improve she was going to quit. She felt it wasn’t her fault he hadn’t taken her seriously. After a particularly grueling Friday she went home, sent an email to her boss telling him she quit and never went back.
She spent the summer relaxing and spending time with her family. She had recently gotten a part-time retail job for the holiday season and is searching for permanent employment with a placement agency. She wasn’t looking for career advice from me. Instead she wanted to vent about her former employer and receive reassurance she had done the right thing.
She isn’t the first person I’ve met who has complained about this company. I had talked to another employee around the holidays who had been furious when this company announced a surprise weekly shut down over Christmas. If employees didn’t have PTO time available they had to take four days off without pay. Since they received holiday pay for Christmas day, they would not be eligible for unemployment. So much for a holiday bonus.
This woman confirmed the shut-down story and also told me she had also received a pay-cut.
I told her many companies, including my own, had to institute these types of cost-cutting procedures to stay in business. I also think the business economy is more competitive than ever. Companies that don’t get scrappy don’t survive.
She did not like my answer, so I moved on. If our conversation had continued I would have told her the following:
There were two employees that left my company last year. Both had been with our company for several years. One had worked for me. This employee had also been stressed for years and had asked repeatedly for an assistant. Her requests were denied because I and the managers above me thought she was inefficient and resistant to more efficient procedures. After a particularly grueling year-end she resigned to work at her son’s company. She gave a three-week notice and agreed to work part-time for several additional weeks to train her replacement. Since leaving, our company has utilized her son’s company a few times giving his business thousands of dollars of revenue. Also, my boss came to the conclusion my former employee was right – her job was too much work for one person and we have hired an additional part-time employee. We talk fondly about this employee and reminisce about her accuracy and knowledge.
Contrast this story with the other employee who quit last year. His wife suffered from a debilitating decease that required him to go home every day at lunch to care for her. He was assigned a new manager who felt these lunch breaks were excessive and told him he had to make other arrangements. This employee came in the next Monday supposedly to give his notice. When he discovered his boss was scheduled to be out of the office the entire week he sent the following email to all employees:
“It has been nice working with everyone. I quit.”
He gave another manager his keys and phone, left and never came back.
To this day when someone talks about being stressed at work they laugh and say, but I’m not going to pull a “Jerry.” This employee whose excessive lunches most likely were protected through FMLA, after 20 years of employment was now a company joke.
In hindsight, when the above woman realized her boss wasn't going to improve her situation she should have started to plan her exit; getting her finances in order, updating her resume, and taking much needed time off. When the time was right, she could then resign with a two-week notice.
So is it ever okay to quit without giving a two-week notice?
I think unless your employment is severely effecting your mental or physical health it is in your best interest long-term to give a two-week notice. Who knows they might escort you out the door regardless, but at least you are giving them the opportunity to ask you a question or two and are giving your co-workers time to wish you well. As Michelle Obama says, “When they go low, you go high.”
What do you think – is it ever okay to quit without giving a two-week notice?