banner james carlini - Carlini's CornerBy James Carlini

When it comes to leaving companies, employees should re-think their exit strategy. As I have said in previous articles, two-week notices went out with nickel beers. Unless you have mutually signed an agreement which specifies that either party must give the other one sufficient notice (30-days, 90-days) before terminating their association, giving notice is an option – not a mandatory requirement.

Recently, I had the opportunity to observe this first-hand. Instead of a two-week notice, the executive assembled a Summary of Tasks and turned that in with a letter of resignation.


Some people think that if they give a two-week notice, it will reflect greatly on them after they leave. The reality is – it doesn’t. When you give two-weeks notice, your employer could say, “Fine, this is your last day.”

You don’t get any “credit” for the two weeks you offered up as a notice. Some people think that if they offer a two-week notice, this locks in two-weeks pay, regardless if the company gets rid of you that day or not. It doesn’t.

Some Human Resource (HR) professionals will tell you “don’t burn your bridges”. They are only covering the company so that the transition is less abrupt, they are not concerned about your career.

Do you really think that if you were not recognized for the work you did for the organization for the last three, five, ten years (pick a length), that you will be given some platinum recommendation after you leave?

If you were recognized for the work you did, chances are, you would not be leaving. If an employer did not recognize you when you were there working diligently, do you really think you are going to get a glowing reference of recognition when you are gone for a year. Or, ten years? Wake up.

In a very recent departure of an executive from a large organization, the intention was that the executive was going to give some notice, but some issues changed and she gave a one-day notice instead.

Her performance appraisal was very high, yet when it came time for the annual bonus, the amount was severely decimated. This was over a year ago.

She went through proper procedures and talked to her boss about it. He never answered her question and did not really do anything in the next bonus cycle to rectify the shorting of the amount.

Anyone who is expecting a bonus and gets a significantly lesser amount should at least get an explanation of why it was cut back.
In this case, that never happened. So the question of giving notice was tied back to meeting with the boss about the loss of compensation.

Not taking action on this type of employee issue is a clear sign of lack of leadership. I challenge any HR “professional”, before commenting about the “inappropriate action of the employee of not giving two-week notice”, to be as quick and as judgmental about the lack of leadership in the manager who did not follow up with any type of action or even an explanation of the cut in bonus for fourteen months.

In my perspective, the company did not earn any “special” consideration like a two-week notice, when it failed to address a reason for a reduced bonus, let alone rectify a bad bonus situation.


Most Human Resource professionals will tell you to write a short Letter of Resignation in order to formalize your departure. That’s old news.

What you should also be turning in, is a Summary of Tasks for Transition or a list of responsibilities that you have which have to be taken over.

In order to have a smooth and orderly departure, you should give your supervisor a list of the job responsibilities that you have in order to make sure someone picks up all the tasks.

In essence, the Summary of Tasks for Transition should be a summary of all the responsibilities that you have on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis for someone to assume responsibility for after you leave.

It could be a list of things ranging from daily review of orders coming in to developing and summarizing the weekly sales report to coordinating the monthly regional report. Anything that you do, review, compile, design or assemble, should be in this Summary of Tasks. This gives your boss, as well as anyone else, a clear road-map to assume your responsibilities. You should meet with your boss to discuss the Summary of Tasks and any supporting information that goes along with each line item. That’s wrapping up your tenure there professionally.

If you are the boss of the person leaving, you should be asking for this Summary of Tasks for Transition document because the job description that you have for that person is probably out-of-date and does not reflect the full scope of responsibilities that they have. Chances are, you don’t know all the tasks that the person is performing and you’re better off getting a list of responsibilities from them, than trying to think you know what they are doing on an everyday basis.

The document should be complete and reviewed by the supervisor and the person leaving before they depart. Then, the supervisor needs to assign those tasks to those who are remaining.

Sounds simple, yet most companies are more worried about two-week notices. One-day notices are becoming more common as people do not feel they should be giving two-week notices to companies that are not giving two-week (or more) notices to people when they have a force reduction, layoff or any other “euphemism” for cutting back on the organization’s headcount.

Those HR professionals who warn not to leave without “proper” notice because you are leaving your co-workers in a lurch have no insight on real world office culture. Chances are, if you are leaving because the organization is bad, your co-workers probably have one foot out the door as well. They might be mad that you beat them to the punch as to getting out of the bad situation.

Usually, they are more concerned if you can find them a new job in the company that you are going to.

CARLINI-ISM: When it comes to leaving a company, you’re mind is made up and you should leave quickly in good graces by writing a short and concise Letter of Resignation and attaching a Summary of Tasks for Transition so that your job responsibilities can be easily picked up and re-assigned.

COPYRIGHT 2014 – James Carlini



  1. Thank you for this article. I feel no obligation to any company these days since they never give you any lead time when they lay people off and that happens all too often. I have a job I totally dislike, and after spending 2 years cleaning up the mess, I have it in order, but I have received no credit. After all this time, I have no backup, so I take this as a major flaw in management. It will be their problem to solve.

    • Thank you for your comment and good luck in your quest for a better opportunity. You are doing the right thing. No recognition for coming in and straightening things out scream “Leave to a better place”. I have heard this time and time again where people have come in and given it their all, only to be ignored when it comes time to reward the work. Keep the right attitude and do well at the next job. It is frustrating to be unrecognized and it can turn a good worker into a poor one. Don’t worry about “burning a bridge”. If they didn’t recognize your efforts while you worked there for two years, do you really think they are going to all-of-a-sudden give you a glowing recommendation after you leave? Chances are, you will be given the standard reference – which MOST companies give- time worked (2 years) and title (VP, Director or whatever).

      Don’t lose the positive work ethic, just go to a place that fosters a positive work environment that recognizes and rewards you.

  2. Thank you so much for this post, I really wish I had read this a few months ago, because I had a website that I worked on so hard for some time to get it ranking good.

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