Resignation Letter: What Notice Period Is Reasonable?

When you decide to leave your job, you probably want to do it as soon as possible. Sometimes reasons are subjective, like, for example, conflicts or misunderstandings with colleagues. Sometimes, you may be forced to quit your job due to your family issues or other critical circumstances. Though your employer may agree to meet you halfway and let you go pretty quickly, remember that he/she has to find someone to replace you.

This is what a notice period is used for. It's a period between your announcement of resignation and the last working day in this company. Typically, a notice period is equal to two weeks, but often it can vary. Some contractors may require a month of work from you – to have enough time for finding a replacement. Especially if your position is high, finding a new worker might be a challenge.

Two Weeks: Why Do I Have to Wait for So Long?

When the HR department accepts your resignation letter, there are several stages of recruiting a new person. First, the Human Resource managers create a new job description for it may have changed since you were hired. Then they need to get the budget for the payroll and various job board services approved. Once this is done, they need to create a long list of candidates and arrange interviews with each of them. Later they will need to deliver a shortlist of candidates and then arrange interviews with managers. 

If this is a middle or high-level position, then closing it will require more time. That's the employer's perspective. And often state regulates the notice period. No matter how hard your situation is, it's always better to say goodbye to each other in a positive way. If you need to leave as soon as possible, discuss the options with your manager or director. Once you both want to do your best, the issue is solvable.

What Your Notice Period Depend On

There may be many factors that influence your notice period. However, we shall give you some ideas that will help you estimate this period for you before you know it officially.

  • Look at your contract. If you signed a contract, there must be a paragraph or section about your notice period. Often it is stated in the clause named 'Termination,' and there, you may find different terms for different situations. For example, if you initiate termination, the employer may require a month to find a replacement. If your manager decides to stop cooperation, he/she may give you only two weeks. However, standard practice is to make these periods equal.
  • Are you on probation period? Your probation period may not be over yet if you have worked for less than three or six months. This sometimes means that you can leave the company the same day, but it needs to be checked with your manager.
  • Leaving after vacation. Consider telling your employer about your decision before your holiday starts, as he/she may use it as an additional time to manoeuvre. Moreover, if it's a vacation period, your colleagues can also have their two weeks off, which may cause further issues to your company. Also, try to avoid leaving the company during the vacation period or if someone is taking parental leave, for example.
  • Try to finish your projects. If your work is project-based, then completing your current project may even be more important than working the obligatory term. If you have another week or two, try to discuss with your project manager what plan will be better for him/her. The last thing you would love to do is to shift deadlines for your contractor. 
  • Avoid resigning at the year-end. This is equally true for the calendar year and the fiscal year, for sometimes, these dates differ, especially if you work as an accountant or closely related to the financial department. Every year-end is quite a tense time for your finance department and CFO, so losing a pair of hands at this period can be crucial. 
  • Consider a break. If you decided to leave not because of another job you already contracted, consider a little break for yourself. Yes, this totally depends on your situation, but sometimes having rest will bring better results than facing new responsibilities.

How Should I Inform My Boss About My Resignation?

You should communicate your decision to resign personally with your direct manager. You should never try to talk to someone behind his/her back. Don't discuss your intention with your colleagues as then your boss or even CEO can hear the rumours before you actually notify him/her. Even if you are in a good relationship with your direct manager, you need to ask for a brief meeting and bring a paper copy of your resignation letter. This way, you both will be able to document the intent, and it would not sound like a spontaneous decision.

Be persistent and don't let the manager change your mind if your decision is final and your resignation is inevitable. And you need to know that your team lead will definitely try to persuade you to stay. Do not mention any negative reasons for your leaving, and thank your employer for the experience you gained in this position.

Ask for a written confirmation that your letter is accepted and negotiate your last working day. Be open to offer your cooperation in training a newcomer, but limit it to the agreed period. You might not be happy to receive calls from your successor when completing your new employer’s tasks or sitting in a cafe during a week-off. 

To Sum It Up

Check official employment documents how long your notice period will be. Then ask your manager to meet you and prepare the letter of resignation. Discuss possible options concerning the transition period and training process. Try to think from your employer's perspective and stay optimistic about his/her requests to make the process as smooth as possible.


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