Next month I'm quitting my job (my new job doesn't start until March 13). This is the first time I've really done this, the only other time the entire team was fleeing a sinking ship and I quit to a boss who was already on his notice (so he was like, "yeah"). Anyways, I planned to give two-weeks notice. I did some Googling and searching on Hacker News on this subject and found this article, Twelve Months Notice. Now I'm very concerned that two weeks is not enough and will lead to me being blacklisted or receiving a bad reference. While twelve months is obviously an exaggeration, do I need to give more notice here?

For details, it's a small software-only startup, I'm a solo Android developer, so the company will have no Android developers and no one that even knows Java when I quit - not that Java would be hard for the JS devs to learn, but the Android SDKs require a little more knowledge and studying.

  • 5
    The generally negative reaction on hackernews about that blog post indicates that even in startup land it's kinda crazy. news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1181166 Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 1:11
  • 9
    Ask yourself yow much notice you will get if your company decides they no longer need you. Stop feeling bad for looking after yourself.
    – brhans
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 16:01
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    That blog post reads like a blog giving advice to zebras written by lions. Disregard. Like it or not, the employer-employee relationship is fundamentally an adversarial one, albeit one in which there is room for mutual respect. They'll be looking out for their best interests, you need to do the same. That's how business works. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 16:15
  • NB the article mentions giving notice for starting a course, not for changing jobs. Still, giving more notice than necessary is considered flirting with career suicide by some.
    – rath
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 14:19
  • Do you really want a job recommendation from any of these people or just that they acknowledge you worked there?
    – user8365
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:24

4 Answers 4


Is two-weeks notice not standard at software startups?

Unless you are a high-level executive or unless your contract states otherwise, two weeks is indeed the standard notice period at US software startups.

The fact that no Android developers or people with Java experience will remain once you depart isn't your fault. Sometimes startups unwisely choose not to have backups sufficiently trained.

You should plan for how you will choose to react if your current employer asks for more time to find and train a replacement. But you are under no obligation to give them more time.

It's always possible that a bitter ex-employer will choose not to give you a good reference, but that can happen no matter how much notice you provide.

If you want to give more than the standard notice you can. But the standard is indeed two weeks.

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    The only thing I'd add is that giving more notice means resigning earlier and you run the risk of being fired immediately or being asked to work out the standard notice period instead of a longer one. You should only consider this if you can reasonably predict your management's reaction based on how they've previously treated people who resigned.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 9:11

In the USA, 2 weeks notice is absolutely standard. Check your contract. In most states of the USA you don't have to give notice at all. Twelve months notice is absolutely, absolutely nonsense. Two weeks, no company in the USA will care.

When you are leaving, your company is obviously free to hire someone else with the right qualifications. No need for someone else to learn Java; there are plenty of people out there who know Java and Android development.

And if it wasn't that easy because you did a job requiring some very specialised and niche knowledge, that's not your problem. They are always free to hire you back as a contractor for twice the money if they can't find anyone else.

  • 1
    "In most states of the USA you don't have to give notice at all" Well no, but OP isn't asking about the legal aspect here. And most US employees don't have a contract.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 9:13
  • Most employers consider a signed employee handbook and a signed original offer letter to indeed be a contract if no other formal contract was made. Most US locals are also some form of right to work or employment by mutual consent which gives the employee the right to leave with little or no notice. The two weeks is more of a courtesy and attempt to not burn bridges. Most positions I have had the company would not even accept notice due to security. Once notice was given, within minutes computer passwords were deactivated and desk cleaning began with a final check presented and escort out.
    – dlb
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 18:03
  • Wow, TIL! I had no idea employment is so informal in the US… Here in EU contracts are standard everywhere.
    – w00t
    Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 12:35

I liked Joe's answer, but would add a few things you need to be prepared for:

  • "Oh no, counter offer": Are you willing to stay for a compelling counter offer? There are some articles out there that say this backfires. I did it once and it worked out fine.
  • "Oh no, consulting": Are you willing to provide some consulting services after you leave? What is your rate? How much time can you give? Keep in mind this might not work out well with your new employer. Make this decision carefully and on your own terms.
  • "Get the hell out": Are you okay with going two weeks without pay? Also remove all personal belongings previous to giving notice.
    • "HR items": Make up your mind about health insurance, purchasing any stock options, know how to get your last paycheck, statement, w-2s, etc. There is a lot make sure you think all your options through.

And as Joe mentioned, know how to react if they ask for more time.


I think the twelve-month notice thing really only applies for people who are going to grad school, which is a different beast entirely. Grad school takes a lot of planning, and in the right circumstances, companies will pay for the education. But that is not what you're doing - you're leaving them.

What you should do is make sure they don't have a policy where they refuse to keep people who've accepted other job offers. A company I worked for would simply cut the leaving employee a check for the two weeks and walk them out the door. A co-worker of mine was not aware of this and ended up with an un-planned three week vacation, and I think it put a little strain on her budget too.

If your company does not have that policy, you should just go ahead and give notice now.* March 13th is still a few weeks out so you could give them more than two weeks and still have time for a vacation.

Yes, it may be tough for them to replace you, but they'll hire contractors and find other android developers, and if their business plan is solid, they'll be just fine. No one is as irreplaceable as they imagine.

*Do not resign until you have a signed offer letter, passed all required background checks, employment verification, and references.

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