I've recently started working a contract-to-hire position that is turning out to be not so hot. I have been speaking with a potential employer that I am very excited about, and I think they are going to make me an offer soon.

Once I am offered this new position, what would be the best way to leave my current gig? Should I give the standard two-week notice, or since I haven't been there that long and it is a contract position, am I not obligated to do that?

  • 2
    Why can't you just ask? – user8365 May 6 '13 at 21:36
  • This must be a duplicate... – Jim G. May 6 '13 at 22:56
  • 1
    @JeffO: How do you ask how much notice you should give without, in effect, giving notice? – Keith Thompson May 6 '13 at 23:57
  • 1
    Related posts: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/6393/… and workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/2366/…. These aren't clear whether the positions were contract-to-hire though, but the answers may still be helpful. – jmort253 May 7 '13 at 1:11
  • @KeithThompson - You indicate you are going to leave, you just don't say exactly when by offering a range. Depending on how deep a programmer was into a project, I'd cancel the contract immediately. – user8365 May 7 '13 at 12:56

I can think of very few situations where you shouldn't give notice and this is not one of them.

You definitely should give notice but there is a good chance you won't have to stay for the 2 weeks.

I would definitely not tell the employer why you don't like his workplace unless he directly asks and even then I would keep your personal comments to a minimum.

If you don't want to stay around for the 2 weeks after giving notice then you can always ask your employer if he has any more work for you and if you can transfer it to someone. If he doesn't have work then you can ask if you can leave earlier than 2 weeks.

As a side note, I would always make sure your other offer is solid before committing to it. Job jumping is not desirable.

  • Would just like to add that "Job jumping is not desirable" is true in this case, where you are still new to the job, but over the course of a career, I've found that job jumping within reason can be a way to advance yourself, and given the lack of interest by many managers in paying attention to career development, often the only way. – Bernard Dy May 7 '13 at 2:05

Once offered the other position, explain your situation to your current employer. Communicate why you dislike the job you are presently in. Since you have another avenue of employment, being honest and direct will only help your employer in the future and it may provide you with an unexpected opportunity.

IE. Please stay, we should and will change x and y. We really value your input.

Although this case is unlikely its not predestined. Think of everything even quitting as an opportunity.

The same goes with giving a notice. Just ask your current employer what they would consider fair and that wouldn't cause them hardship. Try to avoid burning bridges even if you never intend to cross them again...


This is one of the important aspects of being a contract-to-hire worker. The contractor and the hire-r both have an opportunity to evaluate each other without involving a gamut of other beneficial attachments. Nevertheless this 'contract' phase of your employment would have to be bound by a contract which usually specifies the notice period in case you want to leave before you are hired. AFAIK, this holds good for all 'at will' employments.
So your answer should be in your contract.
Of course, the decision to quit before you even get an offer from the other firm who you think will be hotter than the current firm, is yours to make.

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