Notice Period as Relationship Management
Am I really expected to give two weeks or more advance notice in this situation?
In the United States and under at-will employment, in most jobs you are not legally obligated to give notice. However, you should look at this as a relationship-management issue rather than a legal one.
Here are some things that resigning without notice will usually lose you:
- A good reference.
- The opportunity to list the job on your resume as a success story.
- The goodwill of your direct managers and coworkers.
- The confidence of your new employer (assuming you have one already lined up) that you won't do the same thing to them.
Of course, if you don't need those things, or will not receive them anyway, then there's nothing really stopping you from saying that today is your last day. That doesn't mean that it's generally a good idea, though. Even though there is generally a power imbalance in the employer/employee relationship, companies are made up of people. Leaving a job on the best terms possible can yield surprising dividends years later, especially if you're working in a relatively small field like I.T. or want to trade on your personal brand within your industry.
You'll need to decide for yourself whether it's in your own long-term interests to give notice or not. Usually it is, but occasionally it isn't. I'd certainly advise you to take the long view unless you have overriding considerations in play, and to treat your notice period as an exercise in relationship management. Preserving options for the future rarely has a downside, but your mileage may vary.