How to Quit Your Job

When it comes to how to quit your job, there is definitely a right way to do it. It is important that you have a strong understanding of the specific reasons you want to leave before you do anything you might regret later. A job that does not seem right for you just now may turn into a very satisfying and well-paying career down the road. Make sure you are taking the long view of the situation. If you only need to struggle through another year or two before things will improve, it may be worthwhile to stick it out.

Is it You or the Job?

Consider that you might be the problem, not the job. How many times have you seen someone with good skills do poorly because of a bad attitude? That same employee is often the one who takes a job elsewhere, hates it, and tries to come back only for the position to be already filled. Before you go running to another employer, check your own attitude. If you put in a reasonable effort at work and always try to make the best of things and you are still miserable, then it might be time to find a tactful way to step down.

Nobody likes to give bad news, even when it is being given to bad people. Confrontation is uncomfortable and it is difficult to refrain from blurting out all the negative emotions that have been bottled up inside you over the past few months. However, burning bridges can really bite you in the behind. Do whatever you can to remain professional and courteous at all times. You do not want to lose a potential reference when the perfect job comes your way.

Be very careful about resigning because of another offer of employment. It is difficult to determine what a new job will really be like until you are in it. Make sure you tour the offices where you have been offered work. Pay close attention to the workers there. Are work areas neat and clean? Do the workers behave like professionals? Carefully consider if this is a place you want to spend 40 hours every week. Make sure the benefits, salary and flexibility for work hours are at least as good as your current job. If at all possible, talk to someone who has worked for your potential employer to be sure it is all that it seems.

Two Weeks Notice


While notice of two weeks is considered proper, it is not always possible to give this much time. Give as much notice as you can. If your employer asks you to stay longer, you are under no legal obligation to do so, barring a contract. Still, you should try to accommodate the request whenever possible. The easier you make your leaving on your current employer, the better your chances for a good reference later.

When you put in your notice, your employer will want to know why you are leaving. This is the most difficult part of quitting. Do everything you can to minimize the negative reasons you are leaving. Make sure you have tried to resolve these problems at your current employer before you go off to work elsewhere. This way, your reasons for leaving will not be a big surprise and you will encounter less resistance. It is also a good idea to ask for a letter of recommendation while you are resigning, rather than trying to chase one down at a later date.

If your employer tries to get you to stay by offering a raise, use caution. Rescinding a resignation for better pay will just mean you continue to be unhappy but you have a few more dollars in your pocket. There is always the possibility that your boss will remember this incident in a negative light, and you could pay for that later when it is time for a promotion.

The Resignation Letter

A resignation letter should be written, even when you resign verbally. Keep your letter straight and to the point. You do not need to reference your reason for leaving in the letter and you do not need to apologize.

Anything that needs to be said can be done verbally. This letter simply puts on record that you are resigning. Do not use company letterhead for this letter. Just put your name and address in the header of a plain document. Do not forget to keep a copy for your own records. You should turn the letter in to your Human Resources Department since it is merely a formality associated with resigning from your job. Make sure there is at least two weeks between the date of your letter and you final day of work.

After the Resignation

Some companies will walk you out the door the moment you resign. If the employer walks you out the door, consider it a free vacation. Most employers will pay you during the notice period even though you are not working.

If your employer keeps you on during your notice period, do everything you can to make the transition easier for your employer while you are working down your caseload. Prepare your desk for the next occupant and continue to work hard. On your last day, do not forget to return all company property. Remember to thank your boss for all the guidance you have received while employed there.

The Exit Interview

Many companies perform an exit interview as a way to address problems within the company and find solutions to them. Be careful not to bad mouth anyone in your exit interview. Still, it is only right that you explain the reasons you are leaving and the steps you took to try to resolve them. These criticisms should only be about company policies and how they relate to you. Do not criticize your boss’s management style or any other workers. Stress the reasons why the new opportunity is better rather than why the job you are leaving is bad. Do not forget to thank the employer for the opportunities and training you received there.

Be Gone but not Forgotten

After you have left your job, it is a good idea to stay in touch from time to time, just to let people know you are doing well. If possible, recommend business to your former employer and make sure they are told the business came from you. If you ever need to go back to work for that company, they will remember you in a positive light.