When announcing resignation, is it unprofessional for me to ask my boss if it would cause an inconvenience for me to work only another 5 to 8 days instead of a full two weeks? I am able to work for two more full weeks if my boss deems it helpful to the team or necessary for out-processing. However, it would be useful to me personally to be able to move more quickly to my new job.

I do not think there will be a need for me to perform a lengthy hand-off, since my skillset in my current job is not so much an in-depth knowledge of the product (I have only worked on my current team for four months) but an acuity for software design and knowledge of C++. I also suspect that the out-processing will leave me with very little to do my last several days of work if I stay a full two weeks. I have vacation time I could use to fill in final days if this caused any sort of legal hassle with the contract, provided my boss didn't have a problem with it.

The importance of not committing a faux pas here lies not only in not burning bridges with my current boss but with not giving the wrong impression to the company that is hiring me.

  • Your employment contract is everything. Make sure you take documented proof if your employer allows you to put in less than mentioned in the contract notice period. Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 14:33
  • @happybuddha if they agree with him having a shorter period, what's written in the contract is likely irrelevant. Of course, as long as he gets this amendment in writing, just to be sure.
    – o0'.
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 12:32

4 Answers 4


I don't think there is any faux pas in at least asking.

If your situation is, as you say, such that there's unlikely to be any need for a lengthy handover, and if you don't have a lot of work in progress that they'll want you to finish before you leave, then they might actually be glad to have you leave a little earlier so they save a few days of pay. I've certainly seen that situation happen with co-workers who hadn't been with an organization very long.

Just present it to your boss in such a way that makes it very clear that you're asking if this would be OK, that you know you're committed to two weeks notice, and that of course you will work the two weeks if it would cause any problems at all for you to leave earlier.

  • 5
    You could go even further, and tell the old/current boss, "I can leave earlier if you prefer. It would be useful to me". Offering to do someone a mutually beneficial favour (and implicitly giving them the chance to do you a favour if it's all the same to them) is about the softest possible negotiating stance. It's reasonably difficult to feel hard-done-by ;-) Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 22:55

"I have vacation time I could use to fill in final days". I don't know how it is in the US, but here (The Netherlands) these days subtract from the resignation period. If that period is 14 weekdays and you have 10 vacation days (workdays) left you could leave now ;-) [assuming you work 5 days/week]

Technically you are still employed for the 14 days but practically you just take your vacation days.

  • 2
    Here it is just the opposite, you are generally not allowed to take vacation days after putting in notice, even ones you already had scheduled.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 14:45
  • Even in the US it is OK to use up all of your vacation before you leave. Use it or lose it.
    – Xenson
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 16:05
  • 2
    Just asking: So if you have 14 days notice period in the USA, and one week holiday, you have to work for 14 days, take your holidays, and get paid for 3 weeks? Or would you lose your holiday, so you better take your holiday first, then put in your notice?
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 19, 2014 at 0:17
  • @gnasher729 - I think that may depend on the specific company's policy rather than U.S. laws (although I wouldn't mine being proven wrong) Commented Aug 15, 2014 at 15:37
  • In the US, it depends on how your company accounts for the vacation days. If it is an "earned" benefit, I believe they are obligated to pay you for the days you have earned so far.
    – cdkMoose
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 14:17

You can always ask. In fact sometime they are happy to be able to stop paying you early. They can bring in somebody on the bench sooner.

If they don't jump at the offer be prepared to offer them something:

  • Make an offer to return for part of a day after being away for a few weeks. or
  • Provide some other level of support after the new person starts.
  • If the transfer is within the same company, then offer to be available part time for longer. This will have to be worked out with your new manager.

Keep in mind they may have a contractual obligation to a customer and can get penalized if the position is not filled. Sometimes they can make more money having you sit at a desk those last few days because they can charge the customer.


I think the key here is in discussion with the new employer. They're not going to look favorable on you not giving enough notice. Both parties need to know that you will give 2 weeks if it is beneficial, but it is your "preference" to start earlier.

It's up to you, but making an informal offer to allow your former employer to call if they have a question later on, is a sign of good faith. Of course you want to make sure they don't abuse this.

  • 1
    I think that depends on the company culture. For example, many startups are very selfish, and will look at your willingness to go over and above for them favorably and not even think about what you're doing to the other company. Commented Apr 10, 2013 at 21:27

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