I work for Staffing Firm A as a Contractor, currently working at Company A as my assignment. The contract is slated to last a year — June 2015 to June 2016.

I have been freelancing for Company B in my nights and weekends, and now Company B would like to bring me on board as a full-time employee. This comes with a MASSIVE increase in salary, title, and responsibilities.

I live in North Carolina, and the contract I have with Staffing Firm A mandates I must leave the standard two-weeks notice or else I will be in breach of contract. However, I would really prefer to begin working at Company B ASAP. Professional demeanor aside, I really do not care to return to either Staffing Firm A or Company A.

  • Is it possible to ask, in a professional manner, if Company A would be open to letting me go early even if it breaches the contract?
  • If so, what is the most professional way to phrase this?

Thank you!

  • 10
    Simply put, leaving without giving your mandated two weeks is not professional, so you cannot achieve what you are asking.
    – David K
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 21:25
  • The only option is to ask if there's any way around what is stated in the contract. I've never done contract work, so Idk if companies are allowed to alter the contract or if you have to stick to what it says.
    – New-To-IT
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 21:27
  • Thanks for pointing out my clarity issue. I have revised the question to include the aforementioned points, and have hopefully worded it in a way that is not confusing and/or contradictory.
    – loremipsum
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 21:41
  • You have actually read your contract, right? While notice periods in the US are not legally required, having an actual contract changes all that. If they're specifically mentioning "breach of contract" then your first step is to contact a lawyer if you can't figure out the implications and validity of the agreement.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 10:01
  • "if Company A would be open to letting me go early even if it breaches the contract" - If both parties agree to change the terms of a contract, then that would be one way. You obviously would agree, but would they? You have to ask. Be prepared to negotiate. For example, if you don't want to give a full two weeks, you could at least offer to work for the rest of the week.
    – Brandin
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 14:41

4 Answers 4


The most professional way is to give the 2 weeks notice, as required. You may tell them that if they wish to let you go immediately, that you will not object, and in fact would prefer it. If the work is such that leaving without notice does not leave them in a bind, your relationship with you boss is good, and the contract allows it, then asking to leave early may work. But you have to leave that decision up to them.

You can't be professional and break both a contract and part of the standard definition of 'professional'.

  • I appreciate the thought. I understand how my initial wording came across confusing — breaking a contract is the opposite of "professionalism" — but I s'pose I was merely asking for the pros/cons of either situation. I particularly like your point about mentioning I am open to being let go immediately if they deem necessary. That way I can let my wishes be known, without sounding like I'd rather just jump ship.
    – loremipsum
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 21:39
  • @loremipsum - hmm...with your changes, I'm not sure I have a great answer. Because you need to talk to Company A to ask them to let you go early, and then Staffing Firm A also has to be willing to let you go. The contract is probably with Staffing Firm A, and negotiating both of those together is something I have no experience with. Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 21:47
  • @thursdaysgeek Probably best to check with staffing firm first to check if they have a replacement available immediately. Ideally you go to company A with "Here is my two weeks notice, however it may be in both of our best interests if my replacement were to start sooner. My staffing firm does have a qualified candidate available immediately."
    – Myles
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 22:22
  • I defend a dissenting opinion below. Take a broad look at the situation and meet everyone's needs and interests in an honest and straight-forward way. How else would you define professional?
    – jimm101
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 22:32

I'd like to start by mentioning that you should always keep your own interests foremost in mind.

Companies will certainly do the same, and they will not hesitate to make a decision that potentially harms you if it is in their interest.

If you have a good working relationship with your employer, then simply be honest with them. Maybe offer to work evening on their project while they get someone else on board, and help brief whomever they hire next about your work so that the transition will be as smooth as possible.

However make no mistake that by leaving early you are screwing your employer over. There's no way that you won't come across as jumping ship - that's exactly what you're doing. That amicable relationship may sour very quickly when you express your desire to do so.

Face the fact that you might simply have to stick to the terms of your contract if you don't want to burn your bridges, or unless you're prepared to deal with the consequences of breaching it.

You don't mention what those consequences might be, but if they are severe you may want to seek legal counsel before you initiate the conversation just in case it doesn't go over well.

One Advantage: Some companies don't feel comfortable having someone work on their project whom they know is not fully committed. When you have one foot out the door they may prefer to simply let you go right away, especially if it's a sensitive matter (revoke access, etc.). This will depend on how much they need you, and how niche your knowledge is, however.


Yes, it is possible the break a contract in a professional manner, if you otherwise act professionally. Leaving is (let's assume) a pain for them, and saying "I stuck to my 2 weeks notice" without alleviating that pain isn't necessarily professional, and won't earn you bonus points with anyone. Finding a creative solution to help them transition, and give them a fair shot at a successful transition--that's professional.

(And don't be dismissive of the relationship--you never know where those people are going to wind up, or where you and all these companies will be in a few years.)

The existence of the two week clause demonstrates that it was always possible that you would leave prior to one year, and to minimize disruption if you leave. So offer them something to meet that need. Since you have been moonlighting at Company B, have you considered moonlighting at Company A a while? Meeting with a new employee over the weekend to transition? As a tactical move I might offer to stay two weeks but to highlight how much better an alternative would be--such as giving them some time to find someone, and then pair programming with that person a few evenings to transition.

Situations change. It does them no good to have you sitting there for two weeks plowing ahead, they just want a smooth transition. Ensure that and you are a professional.


I ditched a contract a week in, for a job I really wanted. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made in my life.

The agency let me know that they were ending the relationship and that I could no longer use them as a resource in the future. I said, " that's fine ."

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