7 vital tips for surviving your two weeks notice

Updated on September 4, 2023
how to survive your two weeks notice

Here is how to survive the last two weeks of a job you hate when you hand in your notice. You may feel tempted to call in sick or take some days off.

But to avoid harming your work reputation, it’s better to use the last days on your job to finish your assigned projects and ensure you are departing on good terms with everyone.

There are steps that you can take to make the next 2 weeks roll faster. Here are some two weeks' notice tips for surviving work and making the most of your remaining time at work.

Should you give your job two weeks' notice?

Giving two weeks' notice when leaving a job is customary in the US, but it’s not a legal requirement. Whether you choose to notify your employer in advance of your departure or not is up to you.

Most employees usually give notice out of courtesy and to secure a positive reference for the future.

In some cases, depending on your work contract, resigning without giving any notice may lead to repercussions, such as cut bonuses or lost vacation pay.

To avoid that, have a look at your employment agreement first.

If you are not legally bound by your contract to notify your employer ahead of time and you are still wondering whether you should give any notice or not, my advice would be to do so.

Unless you are prevented from letting your current employer know that you will be leaving in advance, it is always better to provide your company with enough time to arrange a replacement hire. Two weeks is the standard duration in such cases.

Following professional courtesy and telling your employer in advance of your departure will help you leave on good terms and will preserve your reputation in the job sector.

So you should do it if you want to quit your job with professionalism in mind.

The best way to give a 2 weeks notice

The best way to give a 2 weeks notice is through email.

Put “2 weeks notice” as the subject, state your wish to leave your job, and send the email to your HR department and your direct manager.

Expect a reply within a day or two with the next steps of the process.

7 tips on how to get through the last 2 weeks at a job

7 vital tips for surviving your two weeks notice

1. Inform your boss first

Proper two-week notice etiquette dictates that your boss/direct manager should be the first to learn about your decision.

If you want to leave your current company on good terms with everyone, talk to your manager/supervisor first and let them know of your decision to resign.

Office rumors travel fast, and you wouldn’t want your boss to hear the news of your resignation from somewhere else.

Taking control over the narrative will save you from having friction with the management.

2. Speak to your coworkers

After you have told your boss of your departure and officially handed in your resignation, tell your colleagues.

  • Informing your coworkers and remaining on good terms will help make the time fly by quicker.
  • Whether you’ve managed to form great friendships in the office or you've reached the point where you can’t stand your coworkers anymore, remain friendly and polite to everyone.
  • Don’t distance yourself from your team or start ignoring them all of a sudden.
  • There is a great chance that your coworkers will be happy for you and ask you questions about future career endeavors. You can take this opportunity to share your excitement about the future with them.
  • Don’t brag to your coworkers about finding a better job, as this might lead to some resentment and workplace jealousy.

3. Focus on work to speed up time

Two weeks might seem like a very long time when you are counting every working hour on a place you are now ready to leave.

Focus on your work and finish your tasks to speed up the time. You can check our complete guide on how to make time at work go faster.

  • Once you have tendered your notice, the chances of getting any new tasks will be pretty low.
  • If you have been working on a project before that, make sure you complete it or at least do as much as you can.
  • Don’t allow distractions to come your way and risk leaving a mess behind for your coworkers to fix later on.

4. Nurture your expertise

When you have finished your work, and you don’t have any newly assigned tasks, use your free time to work on yourself and your skill set.

  • This can be a great opportunity for you to fill up your schedule while doing something productive and beneficial for you.
  • If your current employer provides workshops or is signed up for online courses, take advantage of them now.

5. Put your files and workspace in order

If you don’t have any work to finish, take the time to clear up your desk and computer.

  • Throw away old papers and documents you don’t need.
  • Gather everything you've brought with you in the beginning.
  • Clear your browser history, cookies, and desktop icons.
  • Don’t leave any personal information on your computer.

Think of all projects you have done or will finish soon that can be somehow helpful to you in the future.

Download any important documents and emails you want to keep (of course, nothing that contains corporate or client information).

Whenever in doubt about what documents you can take, ask your employer for permission.

6. Visit the HR office

While you are still at the office, pay a visit to the HR staff and make sure that everything is settled about your resignation.

You wouldn’t want to waste time and have to return to the office once your notice is over, only for some paperwork that could have been done earlier.

Depending on state law, the day you receive your last paycheck may vary, so you can enquire about that. It can be on the regular date on which you receive payment or on the last day of work.

Check if you are also eligible for some employee benefits or whether your employer has to pay you for unused vacation time, sick leave, and paid time off.

7. Share your feedback

Now that you have handed in your notice, take the opportunity to give your honest feedback to your workplace, but leave that for the last day, if possible.

Talk to your boss, supervisor, or the HR staff and let them know what made you leave the company, as well as how they can do better.

Most employers would want to know the reason behind the resignation of an employee and would appreciate some feedback, as long as it is honest and constructive criticism.

When sharing what you really think, be careful not to let your emotions interfere – your employer won’t take you seriously, and you will probably regret it later.

What to expect when you give your two weeks' notice

What to expect when you give your two weeks notice

In most companies, when you give a two-week notice that you are leaving, an HR staff member will be in touch to process your request.

They will explain to you thoroughly all the steps that you need to go through in order to leave your current job.

Usually, the HR staff at decent companies are highly concerned when an employee says that they want to leave.

That is why they might ask you for some feedback. It’s up to you whether you tell them your reason or not.

Your boss/direct manager might want a word with you. The person who is in charge of you might be curious to find out why you are leaving as well.

In fact, they might try to persuade you to stay with promises of salary increases and added benefits.

HR might inform you that you can leave a lot sooner. Possibly even the very next day. Keep in mind that the notice period is the maximum time that the company can keep after you have expressed the desire to leave.

However, they can decide to shorten that period. This is important because this way you may miss out on 2 weeks' pay.

My advice on surviving your last 2 weeks

  • Giving a job notice of two weeks is a common practice in the US, but employees are not legally obligated to do so.
  • Keep yourself busy and productive to survive work after you’ve handed in your notice.
  • Make sure to properly unwind after work to avoid burnout.
  • When you are resigning, talk to your boss first, then share the news with your coworkers.
  • Don’t leave any projects you have been working on unfinished or at least do what you can on them.
  • Organize your desk, declutter your computer, and make sure you don’t leave any personal information behind.
  • Settle everything with HR before your last day and tell them your honest feedback.

Frequently asked questions

How can I handle office rumors after giving my notice?

Addressing the situation directly by informing your boss and coworkers about your departure can help control the narrative and prevent misinformation.

How can focusing on work help in the last two weeks?

By keeping engaged with tasks, employees can distract themselves from the countdown, ensuring a productive and swift end to their tenure.

What should I do if my employer offers a salary increase or added benefits to stay?

Evaluate the offer against the reasons for your initial decision to leave. Consider factors like job satisfaction, growth opportunities, and work-life balance before making a decision.

If the company decides to shorten the notice period, how can I prepare for an earlier departure?

Ensure all tasks are handed over, clear out personal belongings, and finalize any pending paperwork or discussions with HR as soon as possible.

Written by:
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co-founder / office worker
Alex has been an office worker for more than 10 years. He is dedicated to helping other office workers to achieve the perfect life-work balance through well-being, effective communication, and building productive habits.

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