How To Quit Your Job (With Examples)

By Hunter Joyner - Apr. 19, 2021
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You’ve just received an email about that shiny, dream job you applied for last week — and they want to hire you!

All you want to do now is quit your current job. But it’s a small world out there, so it’s important that you resign from your job respectfully and properly.

The last thing you want is to look behind you and to see all of your bridges burned to the ground, smoldering in the distance when you need them the most. It will save you so much trouble in the long run.

I know, I know, your current boss is a living, breathing clone of Colin Farrell’s character in Horrible Bosses — with the same greasy comb-over, acidic attitude, and general distaste for other humans.

But you have to remember, bridges – and clean criminal records – are crucial.

You’ve had this job for almost four years, you’re definitely fed up and ready to move on, and you haven’t struck the boss just yet — so how do you handle this resignation properly?

Think Through the Pros and Cons Before Quitting

Resigning from your current job should never be a hasty decision, and there’s a lot to figure out before you actually quit.

The first step is to write out a physical list of the pros and cons of quitting. This is what it might look like if you were considering accepting a new art teacher position.

Pros:

  • Annual salary is increased by $8,000

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
    Internship
    Temporary
  • New, wonderful boss

  • New school is nicer (better environment)

  • Hours are more flexible (no more super early mornings)

  • Better medical, dental, and vision coverage

  • New school offers summer teaching opportunities (no more working on that pig farm during the summer)

Cons:

  • Have to relocate and leave friends

  • More responsibilities at work (larger class sizes and more classes to teach)

  • Have to attend art teacher’s conference in New York for teacher workshop (hate traveling)

  • Have to buy all new art supplies (coming right out of your own pocket)

  • Moving away from family

These are just a few pros and cons, but the idea is to take your time and list out everything you can think of.

Give Two Weeks’ Notice

You’ve been staring at your list of pros and cons for a few weeks now, and you’ve finally decided that it’s time to move on to a new job. The next step is to resign respectfully and properly. You can begin this step by making sure that you give your boss plenty of notice.

If you have an employment contract that states specific rules on how to resign, adhere to those. If there’s no employment contract, use the general rule of giving two weeks’ notice.

In any case, make sure to clearly state your last day of employment in all your communications, both verbal and written.

Write a Resignation Letter That Fits With Your Reason for Leaving

A resignation letter is extremely important because it officially documents that you’re leaving and when you’re leaving the company. Aside from speaking with your boss in person, it’s the most professional way to quit your job.

Some things to keep in mind while writing your resignation letter:

  • State the date that you’re leaving early on in your letter

  • Express your thanks to the company

  • Offer employer assistance as they try to replace you

  • Keep it simple and brief

  • Follow proper business letter format

  • Provide contact information

You can also choose to include a brief reason for leaving (nothing negative), a brief outline of your workload, and/or a request for a recommendation letter.

Example Resignation Letters

This is an example of what your resignation letter should resemble:

Elmer Fudd
1612 Rabbit Trail Drive
Apex, NC 27502
919-356-7689
Efudd@yahoo.com

3/28/2017

Bobby Pellit
OHS Principle
Orange High School
1713 Efland St.
Efland, NC, 27243

Dear Mr. Pellit:

I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as an Art Teacher for the Orange County School System, effective April 17th.

Thank you for the knowledge and opportunities that you and the school have provided to me over the past four years. I have enjoyed my time at Orange High School, and really appreciate the welcoming support you all provided from my first day on campus, to my last.

I kindly request that you write a reference letter for me, to aid in my future endeavors.

If I can help in any way during this transition, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Elmer Fudd

This example also works if you’re resigning over email, instead of in person with a hard copy letter.

  • Take out the address information

  • Insert a clear subject line

  • Insert the body information from above

  • Provide contact information at the bottom

example-email-resignation

How to Tell Your Boss You’re Quitting

You need to send an official resignation letter, but you should also talk to your boss in person.

When you do this, it’s important to have these things in mind:

  • Schedule a meeting. Figure out a time of day that works with your boss’ schedule and reach out to them for a one-on-one meeting.

  • Keep it simple. It’s best to get straight to the point with conversations like this. Unless you’re open to a competing offer from your current employer, you should emphatically state that you’re quitting and leave no room for interpretation.

  • Expand on your reason(s). It’s essential to plan out what you want to give as reasons for leaving so that you don’t say something silly in the heat of the moment. Your reasons don’t have to be long-winded or complex; a simple “received an offer that better suits my career goals” is perfectly acceptable.

  • Express gratitude. Mention how the company has helped you and that you’re grateful for all that you’ve learned. Never bash your boss or talk about the company in a negative way.

  • Ask for a reference. You can feel out the conversation and determine if this is a good time to ask or later, but eventually, you want to get a reference from your boss while the idea is still fresh in their mind.

Of course, the reason you’re quitting may be because of a terrible boss who you’d rather not be in the same room with ever again. If that’s the case, it might be a better idea to have this conversation with your human resources department instead.

In any case, you’ll also need to talk to HR about other aspects of your departure. You should find out about when you’ll receive your last paycheck, any extension of benefits that will persist after you leave, being paid for unused vacation or vacation days, transferring your 401(k), etc.

Your Final Two Weeks

Once everyone knows about your imminent departure, you still have a couple of weeks in the office. It’s essential that you don’t get senioritis and stop being a productive employee during this time. Wrap up any projects that you can or figure out who will take over for you.

Start taking notes on what you do every day; this document could turn out to be super useful for your replacement. You can even include advice and contacts for various issues, as well as a step-by-step guide for certain processes.

If your replacement arrives before you leave, take time to train them as best as you can. If you were helped by mentors when you first started at the company, it’s time to pay that debt. You don’t have to do a whole lot to satisfy your end of the bargain, but if you make an extra effort to leave your team in a good place, people will recognize it and respect you for it.

If you’re leaving your current place of employment for a competitor, you may very well be asked to leave as soon as you hand in your resignation letter and tell your boss. This is done to prevent you from taking any valuable company data with you. In this case, make sure you take steps to clear out your desk and company computer before you’ve officially resigned.

Getting Ready To Leave

When you’ve successfully informed your boss that you’re quitting, sent in your official resignation letter – while maintaining the structure of your bridges – there are a few miscellaneous items to take care of:

  1. Return company property. Don’t keep anything that’s not yours.

  2. Erase your work computer or laptop. Erase all of your private files and make sure to keep any contact information or anything that you might need in the future.

  3. Say goodbye to everyone in the workplace.Don’t just ghost out on them.

  4. Train your replacement. Actually follow through on helping your boss find and train a replacement for you.

  5. Offer references. If there’s anyone working beneath you — ask them if they’d like a reference.

  6. Try to maintain relationships. Ensure that you leave the company on a positive note.

Crucial Mistakes to Avoid When You Quit

  • Don’t speak negatively about anyone. There’s nothing to be gained by badmouthing any of your coworkers or supervisors on your way out the door. There’s also no reason to lay the blame for your departure at the feet of anyone else. It just makes you look petty and immature.

    Instead, stay positive about the whole experience. Whether or not you’ve enjoyed working here, you should try to make everyone feel as though you appreciated your time here.

    You don’t need to go overboard with disingenuous compliments either — neutrality works perfectly fine if you can’t muster up any positive vibes for your soon-to-be ex-colleagues.

  • Don’t brag about your new job. It’s really bad form to start talking about your much of a salary bump you’re getting or the impressive perks your new company is offering you.

    There’s really no point to this type of conversation other than to make people envious or try to get others to quit (the latter of which is actually against your non-solicitation agreement, if that’s part of your employment contract).

    If people have questions about your new job, feel free to share other details you’re comfortable sharing, like the city you’re moving to or the responsibilities at your new job, it’s A-okay to answer them. Just be sure you’re not so bubbly with enthusiasm that it’s annoying for the poor folks stuck working at your old workplace.

  • Don’t forget to say goodbye. It’s natural for people to feel a bit slighted if you leave without saying goodbye; one day you’re there, and the next you’re not. Try to give your coworkers a bit of notice (after you’ve talked to your boss and handed in your resignation letter) so that you can say proper goodbyes to everyone.

    An email to the people on the periphery of your experience is fine, but you should make an effort to personally speak with members of your team before you go. These are the people who can best speak to your professional abilities, and you never know who might be a useful reference one day.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Hunter Joyner

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Hunter Joyner

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