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Question: Is it unprofessional to give my 2 weeks today and just not come in ever again, essentially working the remaining 2 weeks from home?


Reasons For Quitting:

  1. Workload is too much (nights & weekends) and they won't hire more coders.
  2. Stress is mounting and causing me emotional and physical distress.
  3. Project schedule is unrealistic and never-ending.
  4. Culture seems to be centered around meanness, aggression, and hazing.
  5. Co-workers are lazy and don't do anything when boss is not around.
  6. Boss adds features on the fly and constantly changes the features.
  7. Being there every day kills my soul and makes me feel like s**t.

The Facts about the situation:

Company hired me 5 months ago, relocated me from NYC to Seattle to help their small team code software. Only 5 people on the team. All men. They paid around $3,000 in relocation but there is no payback obligation in the contract. I am in the middle of working on a large of a project (75% done??....). Got another offer waiting. Want to give my 2 weeks notice today.

  • What's your current work-from-home schedule? – Adam V Nov 18 '13 at 22:15
  • @Adam V My work-from-home 'schedule' is that I work from home on Saturdays, Sundays, and weeknights! This is due to the workload however and there's no real 'formal' work-at-home agreement. – BrettG Nov 18 '13 at 22:16
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    I answered below. The fact that you're not currently working from home during any weekdays weighed into my answer because it makes it a much bigger schedule shift to me. If you were already working from home an entire week each month, or for 2+ days each week, then I think it would have been less troublesome, but the fact that you wanted to change from being in the office 5 days a week to 0 is too large a shift. – Adam V Nov 18 '13 at 22:47
  • I think you are entitled to some paid leaves per month apart from sat and sun so calculate your leave balance you can at least adjust them from your notice period – amar Nov 19 '13 at 8:49
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Short version - yes, I believe people will consider it unprofessional.

Inability to properly transition

Historically, the primary reason for a two-week notice period is so that you can meet with a company-designated representative to explain your current status, how far you've gotten on your current tasks, what's left, etc. In some cases, you may be asked to show exactly how you do certain parts of your job if you've been the primary person responsible for them. Being out of the office impedes the company's ability to do that.

Future job prospects

You'd be making a very large change to your schedule in your final two weeks of work. This is one of the last things the company will remember about you. If this company survives and gets a phone call asking about you during a future job search, this may be something they mention and something the next company weighs into their decision. Alternately, the boss or your coworkers could end up at other companies that you apply to in the future, and may be asked about you.

Giving notice should reduce the immediacy of your issues

Finally, one would hope that giving your two weeks' notice would remove a large weight from your shoulders - of your listed issues, I would hope that #3 is gone altogether (no longer your problem), and that #5 and #7 wouldn't affect you as much. I would also like to think that most of the other issues would lessen at least slightly due to your being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As a result, I would suggest that you simply go in and put up with the remaining two weeks, knowing that it shouldn't affect you beyond that time.


Personal anecdote:

I left my last job under somewhat similar circumstances - my coworker and I had been working several weekends, stayed late on several nights, and were heavily loaded. Once I gave my two-weeks' notice, however, I felt comfortable working regular hours again, leaving on time, and not working weekends unless I chose to do so. In the end, not all the work they had assigned to me got done, but I felt I could make a strong case that it was because they'd loaded us so heavily that we had no choice but to overwork to hit unrealistic deadlines, and the company couldn't say that I hadn't given a good-faith effort in my final two weeks.


Bottom line - it's probably best if you go ahead and go into the office, as tough as the next two weeks may be.

Caveat to the above

One major caveat is if things actually get worse as a result of your giving notice. If your coworkers' hazing turns into harassment, or your boss steps across the line in his treatment of you during your notice period, you should inform your boss (or HR, but you mention it's a small company) that you're willing to work through your notice only if you're treated properly throughout the remainder of your time with the company, giving exact references as to what happened and that you don't find it acceptable. If he cannot assure you that the problems will cease, then follow through and tell them that it's your last day. If you have to do this, write down exactly what happened, what you told your manager, and your manager's reaction. You'll want to be able to refer back to that in the future and you don't want to rely on your memory. Any notes about other times you attempted to talk to your boss about similar issues would also be helpful.

Best of luck to you, and good luck with the new position!

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    Or simply say that while you're obliged to work the two weeks, you're not obliged to do overtime at all. You're willing to do some overtime as a goodwill gesture, but if there's no goodwill from there side that's not going to happen. – Móż Nov 19 '13 at 1:16
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    All of this may be true, but the purpose of 2 weeks notice at all is so that you don't burn the bridge and can come back to this company on good terms. He clearly doesn't want to come back. Burn the bridge. Don't give notice. Just leave this craphole. – deltree Nov 19 '13 at 13:40
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    @deltree - note my comments about future job prospects. Burning the bridge can come back to bite you when you have to explain to future employers "if you call company X for a reference, don't be surprised when they mention that I stopped showing up". (Your other option is to leave a 5-month gap on your resume and hope they don't find out where you were working.) – Adam V Nov 19 '13 at 14:53
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    @AdamV I stand by my statement. I would want potential employers to be aware that I will not respond well to being treated badly. This guy is a programmer. His job involves creativity, trust, and principles. Do not work at a place that discourages any of the three. – deltree Nov 19 '13 at 15:43
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    @deltree, it is unprofessional to behave the way you suggest and you may encounter others, who worked there when you did this, in the future at other places and they will not be willing to work with you again. It is a small world out there. We had a guy who did this and he ended up on the do not hire list at a bunch of companies (everyone here has friends at other places) becasue of his behavior in leaving without notice and dumping everything on other people with no transition. Part of the purpose of the notice is to transition workload and someone who blows that off is unprofessional. – HLGEM Nov 19 '13 at 16:24
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Question: Is it unprofessional to give my 2 weeks today and just not come in ever again, essentially working the remaining 2 weeks from home?

Unless you ask and gain permission to work out your remaining days from home, then Yes, of course it's unprofessional. And I think you know that in your heart, or you probably wouldn't have raised the question here. I suspect you are looking for someone to provide a good reason to act unprofessionally in this case.

But it doesn't matter why you are quitting, nor how badly you misjudged the work situation. Being professional is all about you. It's all about how you act in the face of poor conditions.

Give your notice, then act like a professional for your final two weeks at this job. Do your best to make those final weeks the best two weeks you can give them. Then, you'll be able to move on with your head held high, knowing you did the right thing, even if this company didn't.

Software is a small world. Even in such a small company, you may very well end up working with some of these people again at some point in the future. You want them to remember you as the guy that went out with pride, rather than someone who just didn't bother to show up one day.

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    That being said, I once filled a job behind a woman who gave her two weeks' notice and then took the two weeks' vacation she was accrued. I'm pretty sure it didn't hurt her career. – Amy Blankenship Nov 19 '13 at 0:38
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    @AmyBlankenship - If she was given those two weeks vaction, and there was no policy to stop her, then the company would have been hard pressed to either pay her for those 2 weeks anyways or allow her to take them. – Ramhound Nov 19 '13 at 13:02
  • @Ramhound It was a government contract. She'd have gotten paid. Honestly, my coworkers were glad to see her go (since she didn't do very much anyway) and be replaced by someone who was green enough not to understand that a job description means you're not obliged to try to do literally everything necessary to get the project done. – Amy Blankenship Nov 19 '13 at 15:33
  • @JoeStrazzere That's not the story I was told. The company had paid to relocate her and once she got here she immediately got a new job. But the culture against "tattling" is pretty strong in government contracting circles, so I don't think her bad behavior hurt her. – Amy Blankenship Nov 19 '13 at 15:35
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    @AmyBlankenship - for the purposes of giving advice to users of the site, if enough people decided to burn the bridge, some would suffer negative consequences. – user8365 Nov 19 '13 at 17:28
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Note: I'm in the UK so I'm talking about the situation in this country. I hope the advice is somewhat transferable though (or useful to readers in the UK).

I would say just declaring that you're not coming in again is pretty unprofessional.

However, depending on how strong point 2 is ("causing me emotional and physical distress"), you could speak to your doctor about this. If they agree it's causing you harm right now then that would give you some weight for taking much/all of the remaining time to work at home or even off sick.

It may still have the repercussions others have mentioned regarding the rumour mill but it shouldn't come up in a formal reference (would you even ask for one from this company).

From the other side, as an employer faced with an employee who wanted to leave immediately rather than work his 6 week notice period, although it left us in a sticky situation we realised there was no point in trying to stop him (how?) and we'd never mention it in a reference (why? his work was otherwise fine). In the end I think he worked 1 week as a compromise, perhaps a similar compromise can be reached for you?

  • You bring up a vald point. At some point you have to decide is the "possible bad press" from simply leaving ( provide you have no legal obligation to do so although I can't think of a law that can FORCE somebody to work for somebody else ) worth it. If the situation is has bad as it sounds it might be worth just simply leaving. – Ramhound Nov 19 '13 at 13:05
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If the environment you're describing is real, it hardly matters what you do.

If the environment is half way civil it's a good idea to respond with civility. If it's abusive the best thing to do is focus on taking care of yourself.

In one situation where I walked out I gave two weeks notice and then left. In another I walked into HR and told them that the previous Friday was my last day, period. The former was triggered by an 'HR writeup' (although the company didn't have enough people to have an HR, it just came from my 'boss'), the latter by something closer to items 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7 listed above. In short, that atmosphere was cordial enough and my coworkers were overworked too, but the user departments there had no clue what they were piling on.

Seattle should have lots of work, you probably won't miss more than a day's pay.

If you're working around people that are making 'best efforts', two weeks onsite is fair. Once 'best efforts' aren't visible - walk. There's a song for it, '50 ways to leave your (employer)'.

  • Thank you Meredith Poor. Great perspective and food for thought. – BrettG Nov 18 '13 at 22:14
  • Another person's bad behavior is does not excuse your own bad behavior. It just means you are both jerks. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Nov 19 '13 at 20:36
  • @Chad - updated post - second paragraph would have been a comment. – Meredith Poor Nov 19 '13 at 21:31
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As part of your notice, you need to tell your boss about everyone's unprofessional behavior. We assume your duty is to help with the transition of your leaving, but it's difficult to be effective under this type of stress.

Suggest either the hazing stops or you could work from home if the zoo cannot be tamed. You could probably get a lot of documentation and finish some coding projects that are almost completed. It's up to your boss to decide what they want you to do.

Personal interactions are probably going to be unproductive. This company should be thankful there isn't a law suit and just give you the time off for their bad behavior.

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