banner james carlini - Carlini's CornerBy James Carlini

Do you still use a rotary telephone (do you even know what that is?)?  Can you buy gas at 20 cents a gallon where you live?  Times have changed, companies have changed, and giving a two-week notice went out with nickel beers.

All the Human Resource “experts” who still tell you to give a two-week notice are hypocrites to the highest degree.  Where were their voices “of authority and expertise” when it came to companies laying off their workforces in the last two decades?  Oh I know, “it’s the right thing to do” when it comes to YOU giving notice, but the company doesn’t have to.

Many corporations would bring in a group of people to a conference room and say,

‘This is your last day.  You will be escorted out of the building.  Any personal property at your desks will be shipped to you.” 

They didn’t even say, “Thanks for your service.”  This decimated a lot of good employees who had ten to twenty years of service with those organizations.  The ones who didn’t get laid off that day always thought they might be the next to go.  Morale and loyalty plummeted.


Where were all the Human Resource consultants?  They actually approved of that approach for the corporations.  They definitely did not write any articles on how that would devastate the workforce or poison the morale of people left on the job.  They won’t even debate me on this topic because their actions are too hypocritical when it comes to “loyalty and doing the right thing.”

I know of one corporation who used to have a Chicago ambulance parked outside every Thursday they gave people notice like that because they were afraid some might have a heart attack from the shock of the surprise announcement.

I do not hold myself out as any “expert” on personnel matters, but I do understand good leadership, setting a positive example and leading by example.  This approach to layoffs shattered the idea of any company loyalty.

Recently, I received my 3,000+ response from my original 2005 article about not giving a two-week notice when leaving a company.

It has gotten so many hits as well as personal responses from people around the world (I actually got a phone call from someone in Greece to discuss their career dilemma).  It’s time for another article on this subject.


Mr. Carlini,

I just read several of your articles on the positives of immediate separation without the customary two-week notice.

I left my job in February for various reasons, but because I felt uncomfortable staying and believed I may have been the victim of unfair reprisal and dismissal, I left with immediate separation.

I recently applied for a job with the state police, and the trooper doing my background investigation seems concerned with my choice, despite my explanations, and believes this may indicate my inability to commit myself to the academy, despite the fact that I dedicated fifteen years to the company I left.

Should he choose to make this an issue, I planned on showing him your articles to articulate my position, as I thought of and agreed with everything in your writings.  I was curious if you can offer any further academic points to help to solidify my argument.  I don’t see my choice as an assailable position, but I thought I would look to you for help.

I realize that these writings are old, and it may be odd to receive an e-mail regarding them, but I found them very comforting and uplifting.  Any help is appreciated.

Thank you for your time.
John G.


Dear John,

“these writings are old”?  They are still VERY relevant.

You would be surprised on how many people have called or Emailed me on this topic.  It is not odd to still get an EMail on them as I have responded to literally several thousand people in various career situations just like yourself.  I wish I had a dollar for every response I have given.  WTN has tracked my initial articles and they remain the most hit upon in their whole data base of articles.

Why?  Because the business climate has changed.  When companies lay someone off, they do not give two-weeks notices.  They let you go that day.

Why?  For security reasons, especially if you have access to their computer systems.  So it is a “standard practice” across many corporations both large and small.  As they say, “nothing personal.”

Companies (and many HR experts) have to realize that loyalty is a two-way street.  So is a bridge.

Funny, how they never recommend a company to give two-week’s notice when they let people go.  “Nothing personal, it’s just the current business environment dictates that we have to let you go today.”  Can’t the same be used by the individual employee without any fear of reprisal or career stigma?

Over the years, people have seen how companies just let people go (with no notice) and now they have figured out – what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

“You’re burning a bridge” if you do the wrong thing?  What about the company burning its image?  No one seems to be worried about that, yet I know of people who got so mad, they won’t even buy their former employers’ products.  A friend of mine got laid off from Motorola back in 2001 and he still will not buy any of their products.  Multiply that by the 1000’s.

You hear all the Human Resource people still saying “don’t burn your bridges – give a two-week notice.”  Are some of them still living in the 1930s?

Courtesy?  Professionalism? The “right-thing-to-do”?  PLEASE!

Loyalty is a two-way street – so is a bridge.  So if you are “burning a bridge” by not giving notice, haven’t all these companies burned tens of 1000’s of bridges?

Why aren’t all the HR experts commenting on this improper management approach?  Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.  You cannot demand something from an employee that you yourself are unwilling to give.

PLUS, many companies replaced people with H-1B Visa workers (non-citizens).  When they leave, they LEAVE.  And when you ask them they know nothing about the “custom” of giving two weeks’ notice.  WHY?  That’s not part of their culture.

Companies made a huge mistake and then compounded it by hiring cheap, foreign workers who have no “loyalty”.  Two-week notices are not customary anymore.

And remember, just because you give a two-week notice, that does not mean you are guaranteed two-weeks’ pay.  They can let you go that day and all they need to do is pay you for any accrued vacation time you might have.  The two-weeks’ pay is NOT an automatic “gimme”.  Many people believe they are required to pay you for those two weeks, they aren’t.

Companies who want notices better write it in a termination clause (that is mutual).  Otherwise, it is completely voluntary and should not be demanded, expected, or looked upon negatively, if not given.

CARLINI-ISM :   Giving two-week notices went out with nickel beers.  Loyalty is a two-way street – just like a bridge.

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Copyright 2013 – James Carlini


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