If you’re planning to quit your job, you should give two weeks’ notice. This is just a formal way of letting your supervisor know that you’ll be quitting your job in—you guessed it—two weeks from the date of your notice. In this article, we’ll explain why giving notice is important and how to go about doing it. 

Why should I give two weeks’ notice?

Giving notice is the professional way to leave a job. By giving notice, you avoid leaving your employer in the lurch; since they know you’re moving on, they can start hiring for and maybe even training your replacement before you’re gone. It also gives you the opportunity to tie up loose ends and make sure you finish strong. 

Two weeks is more or less the accepted standard for giving notice. Sometimes employees can’t give that much notice, and sometimes employers require more (we’ll get into both of those scenarios later), but generally speaking, two weeks is a safe assumption to make. 

How do I give notice? 

Whenever possible, give notice in writing. Include the current date and the date of your intended last day. Sometimes, writing might feel overly formal, but it’s still a good idea. If your supervisor forgets that you gave notice, or tries to claim that you didn’t give enough notice, you now have a record proving that you did. Concrete, written-down statements help ensure you and your employer are on the same page. 

You can give notice in person or in a professional email. If you work in a fast-paced environment where downtime is hard to come by, if your boss is too busy to meet with you in a timely manner, or if you work remotely, an email is probably your best bet. Otherwise, try to have a face-to-face conversation. You can bring a printed-out letter to this conversation, or follow it up with an email where you put your intention to quit in writing. 

Be polite and thank your supervisor for the opportunity to work for them, but don’t sugar-coat things. Be clear about your intention to quit and don’t spend a ton of time building up to it. Your notice should be professional, but it doesn’t need to be too fancy, and it’s best to keep it on the shorter side. You can explain why you’re quitting if you’d like, but you aren’t obligated to. If you do, keep your reasoning professional–now is not the time list everything you disliked about the job. 

You can check out these examples of two weeks’ notices, or the video below, to help you get started. 

When do I NOT need two weeks’ notice?

In some instances, you won’t be able, or won’t be required, to give notice formally. If you have a seasonal or temporary job with a specified end date, you don’t need to give notice–your employer already knows when the job will be over. Camp counselor jobs or jobs through the YES summer program are examples of this. In these instances, it’s still a good idea to communicate with your supervisor about end dates when you accept the job and as you approach your final week, just to ensure that you two are on the same page. 

If you find yourself in an unexpected situation where you have to leave your job suddenly, it’s understandable if you aren’t able to give two weeks’ notice. Explain the situation to your supervisor and give whatever notice you can (even if it’s just a day or two). Some notice is better than none! 

Another situation where you absolutely do not need to give notice is if you’re quitting due to harassment or discrimination on the job. If your workplace is unsafe, you don’t owe them those two weeks. Remember, you can report harassment and discrimination to your boss, someone higher up than your boss, or your workplace’s HR department. 

When do I need MORE than two weeks’ notice? 

While two weeks is the standard, some employers might expect more of a heads-up than that. This will mostly be the case at higher-level career jobs, not entry-level or part-time jobs teens tend to have. However, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with your workplace’s policy around giving notice–if they have one–just to be sure.