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Even winners quit. Most people who do well in a job leave it because they want to advance in their careers. The average worker will have around 12 jobs throughout their lifetime, most of which will be on their own terms. But, leaving gracefully can be very important to your career.

Two Weeks Notice

You can officially notify your current employer of your intention to leave by putting in two weeks’ notice. This means you will give your employer at least ten business days to find your replacement.

Why Bother with Notice?

Although there isn’t a specific rule that requires two weeks’ notice, it is widely accepted as a standard. Maintaining a positive relationship with your current employer while you’re leaving is important. In addition to helping your boss figure out what to do next, giving your employer a couple of weeks to prepare for the transition can also help maintain the goodwill you’ve built. You may meet them again in another job down the road, and it’s best to keep the relationship professional. 

The Best way to Say Goodbye

Before you leave:

  • Ensure you have a good synopsis of your reasons for leaving.
  • Review your contract and employee handbook to verify everything is orderly.
  • Prepare a statement explaining your departure and giving your boss a clear idea of what’s next.

Before you talk to your HR or manager about your plans to leave, check the company’s policies. If your contract says you’re an “at-will employee,” your employer may ask you to leave immediately. If you’re planning to work for a competitor, review any non-compete clauses.

If your manager may react negatively to your giving two weeks’ notice, be prepared to leave immediately. Put your affairs in order, as your email account, work computer, and other devices may suddenly disappear.

Tell Your Boss First

Since some of your colleagues may have known that you were interviewing, your boss should be the first person you inform of your plan to leave. Refrain from making any announcements about your plans on social media before you officially notify your employer.

Make a Plan

Although many factors go into deciding what to say when giving two weeks’ notice, it’s essential to be professional and straightforward.You might say something like this. “After working with you for a long time, I have decided it’s time to move on. I’m so grateful for all you’ve done for me, and I wish you the best in the future.”

What if They Ask Questions?

Your boss will likely ask for details about your plans once you give your notice, so be prepared to share them. Also, think about what you’d like to discuss during the meeting so that you don’t have to do it on the spot. For instance, if you’re interested in a counteroffer, you should decide before the meeting whether or not you’d like to negotiate.

What’s Next

Tell your boss your planned last day of work. Ask if you should speak to HR to find out all the details of leaving.

Your manager may want you to stay for a couple of weeks to help with the transition or to tie up loose ends. However, you’ll want to ensure that your contract clearly states whether you’re required to stay. The start date of your new opportunity may not allow you to stay longer than two weeks, so have all that information ready to share. 

Depending on your situation, you can schedule a meeting with your manager in person or over video. After the conversation, thank your manager for their time and guidance. Although it can be nerve-racking to talk to your manager in person, a direct approach is best.