There’s never a good time to put in your notice to leave, even as a temporary contractor hired in to do a specific project, but you should always operate with integrity when it’s your time to go. It’s the least they can do as well, because being laid off is not a fun thing for your identity. Let’s chat about this idea at length.
Retaliation is the big reason why technology professionals are not given advance notice that they’ll be terminated. If there’s even a 10% chance, then they’ll typically assume the worst. This is a shame because that assumes the employee is willing to completely forgo their reputation in the field just for some quick revenge.
I have to maintain my livelihood. I have bills and a life to lead. Why would I sacrifice that to do something malicious? Why would anyone do that?
My biggest suspicion toward this is that most people get comfortable in their roles at a company. They stop job searching, which is not a bad thing for companies because that means they’re keeping their skills sharp, and they’re “only in it for the paycheck.” Skills stagnate. Work takes longer to accomplish. Corners are cut. Employees should, therefore, always be massaged and rewarded into stepping outside their comfort zone.
So when an employee that hates his or her job is about to be cut, that might be a natural reaction. Most of my work has peripherally involved handling entering and exiting employees, and for one job those duties included maintaining the badge printer, server, and parking passes, so when a suddenly laid-off employee threw their parking pass out as they drove off – yeah, people get mad.
For one job, I offered an eight week notice to leave the company. “I don’t have a plan right now on what I want to do next, I just know I need to make this first step toward getting there.” I’ll offer a healthy amount of notice in situations where if I were to suddenly leave, it could be negatively impactful toward my friends: colleagues, customers, and management. If I don’t care too much, a two week notice will do.
Never give less than a two week notice unless you fully intend to burn that bridge.
By that I mean, remember your LinkedIn profile and resume. Remember that you may run into former colleagues or customers again – I’ve worked extensively with an old team as a contractor at one company and had a high profile customer at two jobs.
In my polite three week notice I sent yesterday, I explained that I would provide my best effort in the next few weeks. I will, too, and not just because I’d like a letter of recommendation before walking out of those doors. It’s just the right thing to do.
The reasons are not vindictive. I don’t hate the place. I just need time off to reassess where I want to go with my career. My side projects might succeed.