How To Quit Your Job In 5 Easy Steps

Hunter Joyner
by Hunter Joyner
Get The Job, Guides - 3 years ago

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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 immediately… However, 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.

You want to run into the office, put Farrell in a full nelson, slam his head onto the desk, and scream into his ear about all of the horrible things he’s put you through over the years.

Don’t do that. 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?

1. 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.


  • Annual salary is increased by $8,000
  • 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)


  • 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.

2. Talk to Your Boss Without Unleashing a Mike Tyson Uppercut

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 second 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.

You want to send an official resignation letter (which we’ll get to below), but you also want to talk to your boss in person.

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

  • Keep it simple — just say that you’re leaving
  • Expand on your reason(s) if your boss asks you why — but still keep it as simple as possible
  • Stay positive throughout — mention how the company has helped you and that you’re grateful for all that you’ve learned
  • Don’t be negative — never bash your boss or talk about the company in a negative way
  • Ask your boss for a reference — it will come in handy for future jobs
  • Find out about benefits and salary you are entitled to upon leaving — unused vacation, rolling over your 401K, sick pay, etc.

3. Write a Resignation Letter… Without the Use of Scathing Curse Words

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 format
  • Ask for a recommendation

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

Elmer Fudd
1612 Rabbit Trail Drive
Apex, NC, 27502


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 the my first day on campus, to my last.

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

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


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


4. Last-Second Things to Take Care of: Put the Cherry on Top

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. Actually follow through on helping your boss find and train a replacement for you
  5. If there’s anyone working beneath you — ask them if they’d like a reference
  6. Ensure that you leave the company on a positive note
  7. 5. And Some Crucial Mistakes to Avoid

    • Since you’ve made it this far taking the high road, don’t go off the tracks at the last second. By that we mean, stay positive.
    • Don’t speak negatively about anyone. There’s no point in ranting to colleagues about the atrocities of working here.
    • Don’t brag about your new job — keep the excitement bottled up for a few more hours.
    • And finally, don’t forget to say goodbye! I’m sure there must be someone there that will miss your company.
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