How to Give Two Weeks' Notice

career direction change communication taking action Aug 03, 2021

Giving notice can create feelings of fear, overwhelm, guilt, and anxiety.

These feelings can be so intense that they stop us from actually giving two weeks' notice. We may even end up continuing a job we plan on leaving, coming up with excuses as to why we are there (ex., "I don't want to leave them in a lurch" "I'll wait until after things settle down" "Let me just finish these projects first..."). Sometimes we don't even realize we're doing it - we believe our own excuses, unaware of the fact that the real reason we haven't left is we are avoiding the discomfort that we imagine comes with giving notice.

This hesitancy to give notice is not unusual, but this doesn't mean we can't move past it. Before thinking about how (format, what to say, when to say it, etc.) you need to get yourself in a more supportive energetic space. This may sound woo - and it is - but it will help.
Below is a process to give your notice. And it starts with a reality check. 

1 - Realize the company will be fine without you.

This seems harsh, but we need to acknowledge this so you can drop your stories of self importance and instead pursue the next phase of your life. Because if you want to leave, then your company doesn't want you to stay. They want someone who wants to be there. They will be better off with someone who truly desires the role. You are unique and incredible, yes, but they will move on.
Delaying the two weeks' notice is like delaying a break up.
Stop dragging them along and set the company (and yourself!) free. Start by knowing they'll be okay. You'll be okay. It's not a harsh breakup. It's simply the mark of a relationship that is now complete. You're not quitting, you're marking the completion of your time at that company.
Realize this is the truth, and it frees you (and them!) to pursue the next phase of your career and life.

2 - Get grounded in your energy.

Before saying or sending any notice out, you want to be centered in your intention. You don't want to reactively send your notice from a place of anger or fear. Sometimes we do this because we think we have to in order to light a fire under ourselves that is strong enough to compel us to action. And while this gets the task done, it feels awful and is often followed up with more discomfort and regret for how we handled it.
There is a calmer way. And it requires that you slow down, get grounded in yourself, and are calm so you can clearly articulate your notice.
How do you do this?
First, clear the way. In a private place, write down or yell out (whichever resonates more with you) all your thoughts about giving notice. The good, the bad, the ugly. Get it all out so it's not in you. This releases some of the emotion and energy so you can be more clear.
Then, breathe deep, slow, exhales out. This gets you out of your mind drama and helps you access your intuition and inner wisdom. Don't let the mind lead, let the soul speak - and deep exhales help you drop into it so you can access your inner soul-guided wisdom. Now, you are likely feeling calm, centered, and serene.
From this energy ask yourself, "What is it I want to convey, and how do I want to convey it?"
Write your response down. This will draft your structure and approach so you're ready for the next step.

3 - Create Your Two Weeks' Notice

You've had a chance to check in with yourself about what you want to say and how you want to say it. Now it's time to officially craft it. Do this in writing so you can see it and react to it.
You'll be writing this to your direct boss, so have them in mind as you write. Now from your centered place, write what comes. As you structure this, you want to be direct. Share that you are leaving right away so that it doesn't get lost in your message. Then if you want to elaborate as to your reason, you can, but know this is not required and will depend on your specific relationship with your boss. You never have to give a reason, and you could simply state you're leaving, thank them for the time, and give your leave date.
Always be honest. Never feign anything in your message to try and soften the note. You want to write what is true to you, but from that place of calm serenity so that you don't have any regrets about what you write (remember - being honest doesn't mean you fill your note with complaints, frustrations, or insults either!). I also recommend you propose a next step to keep the process moving.
Here is an example:
[Manager's Name],
After much consideration, I have decided to leave [Company Name]. 
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in this role, and thank you and [other names as relevant] for the amazing memories together. I will look back on this time fondly in appreciation and gratitude.
Please consider this my official two weeks' notice, making [date] my last day of work. 
I will outline a transition plan and we can review it together at our next 1:1 to ensure the transition is as easy as possible for all.
Thank you again and let me know what else would be helpful to have from me,
[Your Name]
Here is another:
[Manager's Name],
I have decided [date] will be my last day. 
It is my goal to make this transition as seamless as possible for you, the company, and our clients. 
To help with this, let's set up a meeting to discuss next steps and how to delegate each project. I have some ideas on how this could work that I'll share with you when we meet. If this sounds like a good next step to you, then let me know some times that work well for your schedule.
[Your Name]

4 - It's time to give your notice.

You've crafted your note. Now it's time to communicate it. If you have a strong relationship with your boss and you're in frequent verbal communication with them, I recommend doing this first verbally before sending them an official note (in person if you meet with them regularly, over the phone if you aren't able to see them easily). This is more personal and lets you talk through some of the logistics.
Since you've already structured your letter, you'll already be clear on how you want to share your news and you can use that to guide your verbal conversation. Then once that is done, let them know you'll email them the official notice. This is important for HR purposes, so you'll want to be sure to have this in writing in addition to your verbal conversation. You can CC HR, or have your boss forward it to them with you CC'd.
I also recommend a follow-up meeting or email correspondence with HR to go over final details (things like when the final paycheck comes, how to get payouts for PTO, 401 next steps, whether you keep your work cell number, returning company equipment, etc). 
With this process, you'll be ready to give your two weeks in a way that is grounded, clear, and from a clean energy that will make the process as easy as possible for you and your company.

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