Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions


Exit Etiquette: When To Let Your Employer Know You’re Leaving

Consider these questions that I was recently asked:

I may be relocating within the next year for another job. But it might not happen. Am I being rude, for lack of a better word, by not telling my current employer? Please, let me know what you think. I need an outside opinion, not a friend’s.

I am going to leave my company, as I have been accepted into graduate school overseas. Classes don’t start for seven months. Should I tell my boss now?

Should you let your employer know that you are planning to leave the company in the distant future? As the job market is improving, many people are exploring their options and may face this career quandary.

I believe very strongly in being fair to your employer. I also believe that once you give your notice, you most likely will be marginalizing yourself within your company. You will be looked upon as the person who is “on the way out.”

The general guideline is to give your employer two weeks’ notice, and in many situations this is the appropriate time frame. But before you give your notice, consider the following:

1. Adapt the standard “two-week notice” option for your position. If replacing you will take your company more than two weeks, or if you need more than two weeks to train your replacement, you should provide your company sufficient time to accomplish those objectives.

2. No one knows what the future will hold. By giving your notice months in advance of your departure date, you could be missing out on a promotion, a raise or an exciting new project. These potential opportunities could change your plans.

The young man who was accepted to graduate school listened to my suggestions and decided not to tell his boss months ahead of time. A few weeks after making that decision, he unexpectedly received a very nice promotion and a raise. Consequently, he changed his plans. He decided to stay at his company and attend graduate school at night.

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Pachter & Associates provides seminars and coaching on business etiquette and communication for organizations worldwide. Contact Joyce Hoff at 856.751.6141 or for more information.


  1. Anonymous3/19/2013

    From A Reader:
    In out Dutch contract there is a phrase what time at the latest one should tell. It is mostly 1 month but can be 2. More then 2 months is not regarded as a fair period by courts so null and void. Telling too early could also bring the risk one will sack you so you can be replaced early. I think it depends a lot what kind of relation you have with your employer if you want to keep to the legal timeframe or want to give him a bit more time. But I would NEVER do it before my other plans were rocksolid.

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