Quitting your job can be a freeing experience and a way to start a path to a better career. But leaving a job isn’t as simple as packing up your belongings, screaming at your boss, and storming out of the building. Instead, you should leave your job with grace and respect in order to keep your options open and to leave on a good note. If you want to know how to quit your job in a way that minimizes damage and maintains a positive relationship with your company, just follow these steps.
EditQuit the Traditional Way
- Have a game plan for what to do after you quit. Once you’ve decided that you’re absolutely sure you’ll quit your job, you should make a bullet-proof game plan so you don’t get left in the lurch after you quit your job. Ideally, you should quit your job only after you’ve found another job because it’ll be harder to find another job as an unemployed candidate.
- Don’t assume that you can just “make it work” until you find another job. In today’s economy, you might be unemployed longer than you imagined. Don’t quit your job in the heat of the moment and just assume that you can figure it out after the fact.
- Line up another job before leaving. You should spend some time on the job market as you try to leave your current job. You shouldn’t be dishonest about the fact that you currently have a job when you speak to potential employers.
- If you don’t have another job lined up, make sure you have enough money to be unemployed. If you really can’t stand your job, tap into a savings account so that you can leave earlier. This means that you will have to budget until you can find another job. When saving up, plan for an extended period of being unemployed just to be safe.
- When you do leave your job, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Don’t just quit because you feel undervalued or underpaid before having a conversation with your employer about it first. If you don’t try to solve the problems at your current job to the best of your ability, then you may face the same problems at your new job.
- Give two weeks notice. This is the respectful thing to do. Remember that the company is relying on you and will have to fill a hole as soon as you leave. If the company has a policy for having to give notice earlier than two weeks, then respect that policy.
- And even if the company doesn’t have a policy of giving more than two weeks company, if you’re one of four employees at a company, use your judgment to determine how much time the company would need to fill your shoes.
- Don’t give notice too early. Again, you’ll have to use your judgment on this one. But if you know you’ll be quitting your job because you’ll be going abroad or moving across the country with your significant other in a few months, don’t mention it until the time is right or you may create an uncomfortable work atmosphere.
- Notify your boss. Unless there are extraordinary circumstances that prevent you from talking to your boss face to face, or if you work remotely, you’ll have to stay strong and deliver the news to your boss in person. Sending a letter or an email will make you look weak and like you’re too afraid to have a serious conversation, or like you don’t value your boss enough to take the time to have the talk in person. Here are some things to say when you talk to your boss:
- Make sure your boss is the first person in the company to know about your resignation. Don’t tell another coworker about it no matter how close you are, and don’t do something irrational like post about your new job on Facebook or add the new job to your LinkedIn profile before you quit your current job.
- Keep the conversation concise and positive. If you scheduled a meeting, you should cut to the chase. Tell your boss that you’re resigning from your position.
- Be polite about your reasons for leaving. Don’t tell your boss that you feel undervalued and overworked, and that you hate the company culture.
- If you’ve found a new position, just say, “I’ve found something that better aligns with my objectives,” or say that you’ve found a new job that helps you place more of an emphasis in one of your interests, such as teaching or mentoring. If you haven’t found another job, just say, “I look forward to a new opportunity” or “this is the best thing for me and my family.”
- Thank your boss. Tell your boss that you had a wonderful time working at the company and that it was a great learning experience. Be sincere about how much you appreciate your boss’s efforts. You don’t have to go overboard here. Be grateful without sucking up to your boss — you are quitting, after all.
- Ask your boss if you can use him as a recommendation for future jobs. Having your boss as a reference can help you in your future career pursuits.
- Remember to stay professional. This is not a time to air all of the personal and unprofessional issues you had with your job. Keep in mind, your boss may be contacted in the future by another potential employer so you want to keep an open, honest line of communication.
- Be prepared to answer your boss’s questions. In almost all cases, your boss won’t just nod and agree with what you have to say and wish you luck in the future. Your boss will have some questions about your decision to leave, and he may even try to entice you to stay. If you are prepared for your boss’s questions, you will look professional and thoughtful, and the conversation will go much more smoothly. Here are some things to be prepared for:
- Have a transition plan. Your boss will ask how you plan on wrapping up whatever you were working on, or if you were planning a way to shift some of your responsibility to other employees on a given project. Whatever your plan, show your boss that you were thoughtful about how to transition out of the job and not leave the company in the lurch.
- Know what you’ll say if your boss gives you a counter-offer. What will you do if your boss suddenly offers to give you a raise of 10, or even 20% of your salary? What if he offers to double your salary? If he really wants to keep you there, will you be able to turn him down? When you’re considering what you’ll do in this situation, you should think about your reasons for leaving.
- If your main reason for leaving was that you felt you were unfairly compensated, then you should seriously consider the offer. But if you were determined to leave for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with money, then don’t be tempted by the offer or you’ll continue to be unhappy.
- Know what you’ll say if your boss asks you to stay longer. If he needs you to be there for an extra week or two to wrap up a project, what will you say?
- Draft a formal letter of resignation. This is something you can do after you talk to your boss to make your resignation more official. Before you do this, you should understand your company’s culture. If you don’t need to draft a letter of resignation, then don’t waste your time on it, but if it’s expected of you, you should follow suit.
- The letter is an important part of quitting as this is putting your intentions to leave on paper. If you give your employer two-weeks notice and have evidential proof that you did, he or she can not require you to stay longer at the company than that.
- Address the company and date the letter. The date should be the day that you will be giving the letter to your boss. This is a formality that will help if there is any contention as to when the letter was written and received.
- Declare your intention to resign. Write,”This is my formal notification that I, (name), am resigning as (job position) at (company).” It’s important to be clear and straight-forward in case of any issues.
- State the date when you will leave. Write,”I’m giving my two weeks notice as of (date).” If you’re giving your company more notice, then state your time frame.
- Thank your company. Write, “I appreciate all of the opportunities that (company name) has given me and I wish the company success in the future.” This is an important part of being cordial and leaving on a good note.
- Sign the letter. Use “sincerely” as a closing, followed by your name and your position.
- Remain professional after you have notified your boss. Potential employers often call past employers to get a better idea of what kind of employee you were. Leaving on a sour note can prevent you from getting a job that you want later on down the road. After you’ve given two weeks notice, you should dig in and finish whatever tasks were ahead of you instead of slacking off or daydreaming about the day when you can finally quit.
- Do what is asked of you in that two week period. While it’s easy to slack off or not want to find your replacement, a previous employer mentioning these actions can reflect poorly on you. So do your best to transition the company as well as you can. You don’t want people to be frustrated because you left all of your work undone.
- Once your time at the company is up, leave in a polite and friendly way. Don’t dramatically throw all of your belongings into a box and storm out. Instead, take the time to say goodbye to your boss and your coworkers, and tell them you’ll stay in touch.
- After all, if you’ve put in a lot of years at your company, chances are that you’ve developed some great relationships. Do stay in touch if it feels right.
- You can send a group email to your coworkers, giving them your contact information, and even planning to hang out, if you’re really close.
- Avoid saying anything negative about your former company or coworkers in the future. It can always get back to them and make you look bad. And if your new employers hear you complaining about your old job, you’ll come off looking ungrateful and whiny.
- Weigh the benefits of getting “fired” versus “quitting.” Getting “fired” does not refer to driving your boss to the point where he or she wants to fire you. This refers to speaking to your boss about leaving under the official reason of getting “fired.” By leaving under this term you are able to collect unemployment and any other benefits you might have lost by quitting, such as stock options, until you find another job. Unemployment is only offered to people who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.
- This only works in certain circumstances. For example, if you are working for a company and the responsibilities are too much for you to handle, speaking to your boss frankly can lead to the company agreeing to let you go on good terms.
- If you’d like to choose this method, you should have a good reason for wanting to “get fired.” This means that you were valuable to the company but want to take time off to try a new project, or to spend time with your family.
- This method only works if you’re not transitioning into a new job. If you’re switching to a new job, then you’ll be able to get the benefits and compensation of that job.
- To make this work, you have to have a strong relationship with your boss. Your boss should know you pretty well and should understand where you’re coming from and how much value you bring to the company.
- Speak to your boss about the current situation. This is a difficult thing to do but this could work out better for both of you. After telling your boss that you want to leave, you should have an honest conversation about wanting to be “fired.” Here’s what you should do:
- Explain why you want to leave. Be honest. It may be because you have too many current responsibilities at your position, that you need to take a mental health break, or that you want to pursue your own projects.
- Try to sway your boss to let you go rather than having you quit. While you can’t “ask” to be fired, it should naturally come up in a conversation. If you are close to your boss, he might offer to let you go with the understanding that it can improve your post-job situation.
- Realize that this means you have less control of your “leave-date. If you are trying to get fired, then you have no control over what your last date is. It could be immediate, or it could be much later.
- File for unemployment. Once you’ve made the agreement with your boss, you can file your application for unemployment to meet the requirements of your state.
- You’ll receive unemployment checks until you can find another job.
EditSample Resignation Letters
- Make sure to have a game plan for what to do after you leave. If you have another job lined up, then get into gear to start your new job. If not, then you should have enough money to stay comfortable after you leave, since you won’t be collecting unemployment.
- Don’t tell anyone you’re going to quit before you tell your boss. If your boss finds out, this could lead to a very uncomfortable situation.
- On your last day with the company, it is always a good idea to arrive with a good attitude and a thank-you card for your supervisor. It makes you look like a good person and employee. Final impressions are almost as important as first ones.
- Make your resignation letter as concise as possible. Be tactful — avoid name-calling and finger-pointing.
EditSources and Citations
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