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Ask the Headhunter: Why I’m sorry I gave my boss 2 weeks’ notice

Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community.

In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.

Question: I have a new job, so I gave my two weeks’ notice to my employer. But my boss let me go the day I gave him notice! He just said, “I accept your resignation now. And you’re gone.”

I needed at least another week of work, because I can’t afford the two weeks off between jobs. Now I’m screwed. They gave me three hours that day and told me to leave. I’ve always given at least two weeks’ notice to be fair to my employer. Is it right that they did this to me after I did the right thing for them?

Nick Corcodilos: Unfortunately, it’s not a question of right. For the employer, it’s a judgment call.

Here’s what your boss is probably thinking: Are you a liability or risk if you stay on another two weeks? In other words, will you be distracted and do lower-quality work? Are you likely to “poison the well” and encourage other employees to think about leaving?

Or is the manager just angry? Does he resent your “disloyalty,” because you quit? Quitting a job doesn’t make one disloyal, but your manager’s ego might have gotten the best of him and caused you trouble.

READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: When it’s OK to quit your job before finding a new one

You never know how an employer is going to react. For some tips from my PDF book, “Parting Company: How to leave your job,” check this article: “Protect Your Job – Don’t give notice when accepting a new job.”

I think an employer is a dope to not take advantage of the two weeks to help transition your work to another employee. But once you resign, your employer is not obligated to keep you on.

While it’s a good thing to consider your employer when you’re quitting, this is why I tell people to consider their own interests first when quitting a job. If you think it’s risky, don’t give notice. This is just one issue when leaving a job. There are other issues people never think about, including what you can take with you when you leave and what you can’t, nondisclosure agreements and noncompete agreements, legal liability and what to say and what not to say in a resignation letter or during an exit interview.

Two weeks’ notice used to be a standard courtesy. Now it’s a risk, unfortunately. People like you try to act ethically and with integrity, but leaving a job is a business and financial decision that nowadays is handled coldly by many companies. While I don’t advocate quitting without notice, I suggest that people get their ducks all in a row before they walk in to resign a job. Plan for the worst.

READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: After being fired for smoking pot, what do I tell potential employers?

This article may be helpful as you consider any new job offer: “Protect yourself from exploding job offers.”

Sorry to hear you got hurt in the process. But congratulations on landing a new job!

Dear Readers: Have you ever gotten burned for giving two weeks’ notice when quitting a job? If you’re a manager, would you walk an employee who quits out the door, or do you want the notice period?

Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

Copyright © 2016 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

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