Coming out of college (graduated in the winter), I had relocated six months ago to take a position as a software developer doing iOS app development; it's an area I was excited about and had experience in. The day I started, the manager told me I was going to be a web developer instead, threw me on a massive project on my own, and breathed down my neck every three days to let me know that I wasn't doing things "fast enough" and was essentially hinting at replacing me.

I wasn't a web developer, I didn't want to be a web developer, and no where in the interview process had being a web developer been something mentioned. Because I had relocated, I couldn't exactly quit on the spot, nor did I have the income post-college to float during a job search after having spent thousands of dollars in moving costs and initial apartment deposits.

I told myself I'd stick it out for six months, pick up some new skills (I didn't know a line of JS and barely any HTML/CSS), and just take this as a challenge before applying elsewhere. During that time, it's been a pretty toxic environment with the manager throwing me under the bus from time to time. For example, he told the CEO that I had clearly said in the interview process that I was a web developer, despite the fact that the job position and details of said position that I applied for were clearly the duties of a software developer in iOS. I haven't really defended myself because the CEO and manager have been very close friends for about a decade.

When I had completed a pretty noticable milestone for a client, the CEO openly expressed that he was impressed with my work (it's utilizing a cutting edge framework to do some neat stuff). The manager, being present, slapped down the CEO's enthusiasm with, "Meh, another company could have hired a guy who would have done a better job in half the time".

I won't go any further but hopefully this presents an idea of the kind of environment this has been, which has caused me many sleepless nights and my first ever panic attack. I have, and have accepted, an offer from another company that has a great environment and management that has been nothing but professional and courteous. They'd like me to start ASAP.

Do I owe it to the company I'm with now to still give them a two-week notice? I'm the sole front-end developer... which means that since I've been here, I've had no one to go to for assistance or guidance in web development, jQuery, etc. This also means that the company would be royally screwed for a bit if I up and left with no notice. But the other company wants me to start immediately and, to be honest, I want to get the hell out of where I'm currently at. I feel like I owe them nothing for the way they've treated me but a part of me feels guilty regardless.

  • 26
    Is two weeks notice your contractual requirement?
    – jwg
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 10:28
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    "I haven't really defended myself because the CEO and manager have been very close friends for about a decade." That was your mistake. You have no recourse now. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 10:50
  • 35
    You should offer two weeks notice, but given your description of your current employer you shouldn't be shocked if they walk you to the door and toss you to the curb. It would be a good idea to remove all personal belongings from your office space before turning in your notice just in case something like this happens. Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 15:55
  • 40
    Side note, if the company you're jumping to considers "ASAP" to mean without notice, that's a red flag about that company: it means they are willing to hire people who don't give any notice when they leave, so you'll be working with people who might do the same at any time!!
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 18:22
  • 7
    Funny.. do you get a 2 weeks noticed when being fired? Why do people care so much when from your question you were treated like shit.
    – Insane
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 20:02

11 Answers 11


Serve the two weeks notice.

Your new employer will likely respect this decision, as they will want the same courtesy someday.*

For your former company, leaving without notice gives the perception that you are unprofessional. You likely don't care about the former company's perception (sounds like it's not great already), but you SHOULD care about how your former coworkers perceive you. You never know when you'll run into one of them at another company, and you want a favorable first impression at every new job. Would you rather be remembered as the developer who was treated poorly and resigned gracefully? Or the former coworker who left in a huff?

As pointed out by Michael Kohne's comment below, some companies will decide to walk you to the door immediately, even if you give two weeks notice. If your employer happens to fall under this category. You may be able to tell your future employer you are available earlier than expected. Also, this is a good reason to sneakily remove any valuables from your desk before giving notice. You don't want to have difficulties getting your stuff.

*If you already told your new employer you could start immediately, you may be best served by leaving your old employer without notice. You will burn bridges with your former coworkers, but you also don't want to start your new job on the wrong foot. First and last impressions are both important. If this is the case, favor the new employer's first impressions and try to avoid cases like this in the future.

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    +1 Well said, the notice serves the employee more than the employer. Two weeks is professional, but it will still "punish" the old employer because they won't be able to replace you that quickly. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:02
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    Also, some companies (foolish ones in my mind) will decide to have you leave immediately. Give notice and see what happens. Oh - and take as many of your personal belongings out of the building as you can BEFORE giving notice. You never know how they'll react and it's possible (though VERY unlikely) that you'll have trouble getting your stuff. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:32
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    you SHOULD care about how your former coworkers perceive you if they know his situation they won't blame him.
    – Jim
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:19
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Jane S
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 22:12
  • 1
    Agreed, but breaking a promise to a new employer probably more so. Hence the advice to avoid that situation in the future.
    – djohnson10
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 15:33

This is a very subjective area. You already have another job, so this company's ability to "get back" at you is pretty low.

However, the CEO publicly commended you, so I'm believing that this is not a company problem, but a manager problem.

Here's a draft that you may want to use to get started:

Dear Mr. CEO

Thank you for your recognition of my work for Big Pants Industries. I appreciated your taking the time to notice my work.

As you are aware, I am an iOS developer, and while I was hired to do iOS development, I was assigned this web development project instead. I have enjoyed the work, but it is not what I was hired to do, and is not the path I am trying to take in my career.

I have taken a position with another firm in order to pursue this goal, and will be leaving ThisCo, LLC on M/D/YYYY.

I really do want to thank you for the individual recognition you showed for my work. It means a great deal to me.

Thank you,

iOS Guy

By turning in your notice to the CEO, rather than the hostile manager, you are sending every message that you need to about your working environment, and you're not burning any bridges.

However, this is entirely your call. Taking the high road, though, will feel much better 5 years from now than rage-quitting will.

  • 35
    @PeterM - You can't fight that one. You don't want to be in a he said / I said argument, especially when it means nothing to the CEO at that point. They lost the employee. What he should have been assigned is no longer important. This is the "polite" equivalent of the mic drop. "I'm iOS. Curious out! [mic drop]" You've said what happened, and there's no more discussion. Whether they believe it or not is irrelevant, now. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:15
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    @PeterM - I understand what you're saying. My point is that the employee is the only one who knows the reason he changed jobs. If they can't accept what an employee says when told why the employee is leaving, no amount of argument is going to make a difference. Make your case. Make it politely. Thank them for the opportunity, and walk out with your dignity intact. You can only control you. You can't control them. You can only be honest. The rest is not up to you. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:23
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    I think that email would be a good way to offer a counterpoint to the manager's BS before heading out. I like it.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:42
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    One little quibble. Never say "As you are aware", or "As you know". The CEO may actually not be aware of that, and it can ruffle feathers you don't need to ruffle. Say "I'm an iOS developer, not a web developer, and, while I interviewed for and was hired to do iOS development, I was assigned to this web development project instead." Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 22:03
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    I agree with that draft. The CEO might think you are lying and the manager is right. But he will for sure remember that letter. And if in the future, something similar happens, he will still remember it. While for you it doesn't make any difference, for the next guy that get hired it could change the world if the CEO remembers that this other guy that quit also said he wasn't hired as web developer.
    – Josef
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 8:19

Golden rule is to never burn bridges, no matter how badly you were treated. The sad fact about this world is that a workplace has more control over you than you do of them. Reputation means everything but never forget how you were treated.

With that said, I know you're upset but try to be the bigger person here. Put in your two weeks, say goodbye, leave your contact information, and then leave heading on to bigger things. You're going to be a professional and I highly recommend being one even in the worst situations.

It's a small world, and it would be a shame if you met anyone there again. And trust me there are plenty of cases of that being true, even when moving or in large tech areas.

  • 5
    There is a time and a place to burn bridges (EG being physically threatened), but I don't see this as the case here.
    – Peter M
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:07
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    @PeterM I think your right about a time and place to burn bridges, but I disagree that this isn't the case. Imagine being a fresh college grad, relocated for a job that you told you'd be doing iOS dev work for, and then being told on day one, "Hey, you're a web dev now and there's no one here to train you". The op said the manager gets on him every few days with threats of termination. That's pretty messed up shit, threatening to fire a new kid who's trying to learn/do a job in tech that s/he didn't sign up for and you're not willing to help him/her.
    – 8protons
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:50
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    @PeterM And then when the OP hits a milestone, the manager disrespects her/his work to the CEO? Nah, no thanks, I'd be out of there immediately and never look back.
    – 8protons
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:53
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    @8protons The OP has been sucking it up for 6 months already, so another 2 weeks is nothing in comparison. The time and the place to quit on the spot is when it hits the fan, not some time down the track when its all water under the bridge. IMHO doing a mike drop now is the wrong thing and would seem childish to do so now.
    – Peter M
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:57
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    @PeterM I feel you but sometimes after you've suffered for 6 months, each day is progressively worse than the one before. The OP said he/she had a panic attack; that kind of stress is nothing to shrug off.
    – 8protons
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 18:52

I'm going to argue the unpopular point:

Follow your own interests.

If they were getting rid of you, you'd have to clean out your desk on the spot, with someone standing over you.

Yes, generally it's good form to give notice. However:

  • this is your first job after college
  • you've only been there for 6 months
  • you already have another job secured

What this means is that you no longer depend on these people for a reference. In fact, in just a year or two you won't even need to include that experience in your resume if you so wish, and no one will expect references from that long ago anyway.

My opinion is to do whatever you feel is appropriate. Stop stressing yourself out, tell them you quit, take a few days to relax, and then start your new job with a fresh smile on your face.

  • 3
    Decency aside, there is a better chance than you think of a future employer knowing someone you worked with at this company, and having them say "abitcurious? Yeah, he was the guy who quit without notice." Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 16:59
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    I feel like this is the only answer here that is grounded in reality. I understand the "uber professional with honor" route of giving a two weeks notice despite being treated like a POS- yeah, burning bridges can rarely help. But if the OP already landed a job, who stated they want her/him as soon as possible, it would seem in the OP's best interest to get the hell out of there and move on with their life. It may suck for other employees but that's not the OP's problem if everyone is well aware that management is scum.
    – 8protons
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 20:22
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    @8protons - oh good, I'm not crazy, lol. I was starting to think I'm some kind of monster for thinking I'd just leave.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 20:24
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    @AndreiROM Seeing this answer as the only one of its kind made me think that we're monsters for holding this perspective haha. I Googled some queries like "quitting w/out notice" and most professional blogs/articles say that it's completely acceptable if you're in a toxic environment. I admire that The Workplace has so many "do the professional thing" kind of answers but at the same time it's easier said than done to be a miserable employee to keep eating s!#@ for another two weeks. "take a few days to relax, and then start your new job with a fresh smile on your face." is key here.
    – 8protons
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 20:38
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    This is the best answer. The notice period is a courtesy that should normally be given and sometimes even lengthened. HOWEVER if you you're ready to go, and staying won't actually help your career or wellbeing, make some minimal preparations and give a week or shorter notice... Just say you've prepared ahead of time and there's nothing else to do. Definitely take a MINIMUM of a week off between jobs to decompress and recharge.
    – teego1967
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 23:13

A company is required to look after its own interests. You are the only one who will look after yours.

But what is in your best interests. I have always taken the high road, always given notice, and always made myself available to questions from my replacement. Why? Because long-term it was in my own best interest.

I have seen cases where I left company A to work for Company B and within a couple of years we acquired company A. Now I either work for people from my former company, or they work for me, etc.

And people you worked for could leave that company and join your new company. Or you could be consulting one day and run across these people.

You will never know. But one thing is certain: it's a very small world.

I have run across this situation before, where the new company wants me in there without delay. If it's just a preference, then I kept to my two week notice. But I have had a situation where I was needed for a strategic play right away. In that case, I worked it out with my former employer that I kept to my two week notice, but with a few of those days working for the new employer.

Usually, once the new employer has made the decision of whom to hire, they won't be put off if you ask them to wait the normal two weeks. In fact, it will probably just show you to be an ethical player. However, it might be wise to call them, state that you think it's the right thing to do, and ask if that is something they can support.

Here's another thought. Generally poor managers are known by their uppers to be so. But if they get things done, it's somewhat overlooked. And there are often timing issues with replacing them even if they wanted to. I can be somewhat friends with one of my managers, but that doesn't mean I'm blind. It wouldn't surprise me if this CEO knows what a poor manager this guy is. But I'm not sure you even need to point it out. When you leave, the CEO will probably guess correctly. But don't be surprised if he comes to you and asks. So be prepared with what you will or will not say.

I feel for you. I know how awful it is to stick it out when you want to bolt out of there.


You have to make your own decision here, but it seems there isn't really a bridge to burn. I would accept the new opportunity. Tell your manager that you are leaving and good luck.

Don't bad mouth him, but be frank. I have found a better opportunity and am moving on immediately.

If you feel compelled, you could write a letter to the CEO and indicate that you are sorry to leave on such short notice, but you immediate manager made things toxic for you and a new opportunity has arisen where timing does not permit finishing out a notice period. Give him a few details like that you were hired to develop iOS, had no experience in Web and never indicated during the hiring process you did. You are sorry your manager misled him in this area, but you wanted to clear the air as you left.

  • Bear in mind if you are in the US, slandering you publicly or to another company is illegal and you would have good grounds to sue them should they do so. Don't threaten this or anything, but rest assured that if they 'come after you' they will pay for it. Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 17:26

If you have a contract consult it for any mention of notice period. Norms in the US would be that you wouldn't have an employment contract and that your employment would be "At will" (although this can vary some state to state). If you are employed at will and there is no specification of notice period in any contract you've signed with them you are legally free to quit on zero notice.

It's not a good idea and it isn't how a professional behaves but if that's how you want to go, nothing is stopping you. Good luck.

  • 1
    It also may be worth consulting the contract to see if it explicitly mentions your job role and job description. Not that I'm up with legalities of employment law, but I would wonder if getting you to do a different job to the one stated in the contract is a contract violation on their behalf.
    – Phill
    Commented Jul 29, 2016 at 8:58

This question has been asked before.

I am in the no-notice camp. If the company had laid you off or fired you, you would get 0 days notice. You owe them nothing.

That being said, do not be rude about it. Just be straightforward: "I am taking a new job with a different company starting tomorrow (or the day after tomorrow or whenever), is there anything you would like me to finish up before I go? Make sure you have your personal belongings already removed because small employers sometimes go bananas when somebody quits on them, so you don't want to lose stuff in the course of the exit.

Employment at will is just that: employment at WILL. You can leave whenever you want and you have every right, both legally and morally to do so. If they wanted to engage you permanently, then they should have agreed to a CONTRACT with fixed dates, which they did not do which means they consider you disposable. It works both ways.

  • 1
    This sort of thing comes back. Later on, other ex-employees will say, 'Oh I remember him. He's the one that quit without notice.' and the OP loses the job competition on tie-breaks.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 14:42
  • 2
    @TonyEnnis I have seen numerous employees working either for me, or for companies I work at quit without notice. One guy I remember quit to go work for JP Morgan and another to Google and a couple others to Twitter. I can tell you: I seriously doubt that JP Morgan, Google or Twitter either know or could care less that they quit their former job without notice.
    – Socrates
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 17:49
  • If you quit w/o notice for ethical reasons, this is perfectly fine. That is, if the company is forcing you to do something unethical or illegal (like load pirated software, fudge data, etc), then quit w/o notice - be sure to let them know if you get anything but a shiny review, you'll press charges (or sue). Make sure to have all the evidence before making your announcement. Don't worry about future employers, most companies won't give a reference at all (just acknowledgement) for fear of legal repercussion.
    – MC9000
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 0:14

I'd like to offer a longer term view on why you should put in your two weeks notice: employment background checks. As you advance in your career as a dev and land jobs with more thorough background checks, they will call your former employers and ask things such as:

Job start and end dates
Titles held
Job duties
The reason for termination (in some states) and rehire eligibility

As per http://www.hireright.com/blog/2015/03/employment-verification-a-crucial-check/

That way you do not have a situation where your previous employer reports you walking out on them without notice.

Now, there is a silver lining, put in your two weeks note, do the bare minimum, or slightly less, don't put in any effort to transfer your knowledge and politely tell your current employer contacting you is off limits post-employment, but remember that your co-workers will be collateral in this exchange, which is something to consider against it.

I would also follow Wesley's advice on resigning to the CEO instead of the manager & possibly putting something in there to warrant a discussion about your manager, such as questionable leadership and a lack of technical knowledge.

Lastly, consider references, if you want a reference from one of the folks mentioned above, it may be best to quietly put in your two weeks, and leave without doing anything extra.


First thing to notice: Your direct manager has already been outspoken about his disdain for you and your work. Do not expect that your leaving will change his tune suddenly, if someone calls for a reference.

Also, most every employment verification process consists of basic "name, rank, serial number" data: Dates of employment, job title, manner of separation. Most companies now have strict policies against giving out much more than this, as it opens them up to slander/libel lawsuits (whether justified or not).

So, do not worry about the reference.

The "what's good for the goose is good for the gander" principle does come into play, in that if you're willing to dump employer A on no notice, you're also likely to dump employer B in the same way.


I know the OP has since moved on to green pastures, but I want to add another perspective for "two weeks" notice.

If you leave immediately, you will miss an important part of leaving a job: closure. If it is possible close this chapter of your life on good terms, and prepare yourself emotionally for the next, new and exciting chapter, do so.

After you give notice about leaving a job, the last two weeks can be the best time of employment. You are not assigned new work, friendly co-workers will take you out to lunch and drinks, there is no need for overtime, and deadlines become meaningless. Any stress your boss may have given you disappears, as this manager ceases to have any power over you. (I gave 3 weeks notice once to extend this pleasant time)

The most important part of any job are the people you meet. Say goodbye to your coworkers, and share the horror stories of the evil manager together. During these two weeks, as the facades fall away, you will know which relationships will continue into the distant future, and which will be simple LinkedIn connections.

You may find that other peers at the same level as you, with whom you had conflict, will become very warm. For others, this is the chance to resolve any interpersonal conflicts and depart on good terms.

It is unfortunate that your first boss was an abusive, lying piece of &^%#&^#. If you are not careful, the toxins from this broken relationship can poison your future relationships with managers, and even subvert your career. For this reason, it is important to speak your mind when your boss asks you what your plans are. You should tell him frankly, and tell the CEO also, that they deceived you, they clearly broke a promise about what your work assignment would be. Tell them that their lies put you, a new professional, in financial hardship for no useful reason, when they could have simply hired somebody to do web development. Try say it without anger or malice, and make it clear that they did something wrong to you personally, and that they should refrain from behaving this way with other people, especially new professionals, in the future. The reason to tell them this is to let this angst out of your system; you do not want to carry this into your future relationships with new managers and coworkers. This is a difficult tasks, with a ton of emotional strain, but if you can do it, it will be liberating.

  • Is this normal? 3 down votes and not a comment? It obviously isn't spam, and not a trolling. I address the question honestly, with a slight frame shift. The question poses "Do I owe them?" but I think it would be better asked "Should I..." Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 13:19
  • Even more, my first job out of uni had a very similar situation. After 20 years perspective, I think what I write here is more than relevant. It is easy to let a horrible experience poison perspective. Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 13:27

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