How To Quit A Job You Just Started (With Examples)

By Maddie Lloyd - Sep. 1, 2020

Have you recently started a job that just wasn’t what you expect it to be?

Or maybe you found yourself sitting at your desk at the end of your first day and all you could think was “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

Even when you’ve done everything right, sometimes our jobs turn out to not be as bright and shiny as they seemed while we were interviewing.

Maybe your new boss is a jerk, your co-workers are lazy and leave all the hard work for you, or maybe you’ve even gotten a better job offer from another employer.

Don’t panic!

If your brain constantly screams “I hate my job” on a loop while you’re at work, there’s good news — you don’t have to stay!

Even if you’re ready to jump ship as soon as possible, you should do your best to quit your job in a professional way and avoid burning any bridges.

Here are 7 steps to quit a job you just started 3 days ago:

  1. Make sure you really want to leave
  2. Consider options for staying
  3. Give plenty of notice
  4. Resign in person
  5. Put it in writing
  6. Don’t mentally check out
  7. Don’t get discouraged

1. Make sure you really want to leave

Make Sure You Want To Leave After Starting

Before you decide to throw in the towel, take a few days to really think through your decision. Consider all the pros and cons of leaving versus staying and think about if there’s a chance the situation can improve over time.

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time

This is a good time to think about the repercussions of leaving. Because your employer has spent time and resources recruiting and training you, there’s a chance that your boss won’t be the happiest of campers.

Along with disgruntling your boss, there are other repercussions to consider:

  • You could end up being blacklisted by the company
  • You could damage your reputation within the industry
  • Your coworkers might be angry with you for dumping your responsibilities on them
  • You might be risking your financial stability

If you’re willing to risk the repercussions — or if they just don’t even matter to you that much — you can consider the benefits to quitting a job you quickly discovered that you hate:

  • You can regain your mental health
  • You know what to look out for in your next job hunt
  • You’re less likely to repeat the mistake of signing onto a job you hate

Sometimes, the pros outweigh the cons of staying at a sucky job.

Unless you’re consulting your mommy on the matter, you’re the only one who can decide what’s best for you — and sometimes that means leaving a job you just started.

2. Consider options for staying

Maybe stay since it's new
If you think there’s a chance that your job might turn out to be not so bad after all, or even if you’re just not sure if you want to take the risk of leaving, you might want to consider options for staying.

Maybe you could talk with your supervisor about modifying your job to fit your preferences, or perhaps there’s another job opening within the company that would better suit your needs and experience.

Even if you hate your job so much that you take periodic breaks throughout the day to cry in the car on the phone to your mom, it might be worth staying a while if you’ve had trouble finding a job or keeping one. After you settle into your job, you might find that you like it much more than you thought was possible.

If you think that you can find a new job quickly, go ahead and start job hunting while you’re still employed at your nightmare job — but you’ll want to be prepared to answer interview-questions about why you’re leaving your current job. If you end up landing a new job, turn in your resignation.

And on that note…

3. Give plenty of notice

Give Notice
The only thing worse than being remembered forever as “That jerk who quit after the first day” is being remembered as “That huge terrible jerk who gave less than two weeks notice before they left and screwed us all.”

The golden rule for quitting your job is to give your employer at least two weeks’ notice.

If you were given an employee handbook when you started your job, there may be rules lined out for how much time to give the company before you say goodbye to them forever.

Whenever possible, let your employer know as far ahead of time as possible before saying your farewells.

If you have enough flexibility before leaving or starting your new job, you could offer stay an additional week or two and offer to help find a replacement.

Your employer might appreciate your kind gesture, or they might tell you to screw off and leave immediately — but it’s still best to be as considerate as possible and offer your help.

4. Resign in person

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to blow this popsicle stand, it’s time to meet face-to-face with your boss so you can tell him your decision in person. Even though resigning in person is painful and awkward, it shows that you’re professional and gives you the chance to control how you’re going to be interpreted.

You’re going to want to be prepared to explain why you’re leaving.

It’s best to avoid saying things like “This job just sucks dude,” or “I think you’re mean and you smell bad.” Instead, mention reasons that focus on aspects of the job that didn’t fit your strengths or interests. At the very least, just don’t say anything mean.

5. But also put it in writing

Even though you’re going to meet with your supervisor face-to-face, you should still submit your resignation in writing when you deliver the bad news.

Your letter of resignation should be brief, polite, profession, and references the last day you expect to work with the company.

Again, don’t make any snide comments that could haunt you in the future — this would be particularly bad, as those remarks would be in writing.

A professional letter of resignation would look something like this:

Example Resignation Letter

Dear Mr. Awful Manager,
I would like to inform you that I am resigning from my position as Pencil Pusher with Worst Job Ever Industries. My last day of employment will be December 1, 2017.

I appreciate the opportunities that I have been given at Worst Job Ever Industries, but I have recently accepted a position with another company that is more suited to my career path. This opportunity will give me the chance to grow professionally in my field of choice.

Thank you so much for your patience and understanding during this time. Please let me know if I can offer any assistance to ease this transition in any way, as I would like to make this as painless as possible for your company.

I apologize for not being able to stay on the job, however I do appreciate the opportunities provided me, and I hope to stay in touch in the future.
Yosemite Sam

6. Don’t mentally check out

Once you’ve gotten through the awkward dirty work of actually quitting your job, you still need to actually put in effort during your remaining days on the job.

Don’t simply coast your way through your last two weeks.

You should still put forth 100% effort into the job — this will only help your reputation in such a sticky situation, and your boss will appreciate that you didn’t just sleep at your desk the whole time.

7. And finally, don’t get discouraged

Don't Get Discourage
Regardless of whether you decide to stay or leave, or if you have another job to bounce over to or not — don’t get down on yourself about your decision.

Sometimes the jobs we end up aren’t what we expect them to be, and sometimes we find that they just aren’t a good fit.

And remember, it isn’t illegal to quit this quickly, so when you find yourself stuck at a job that doesn’t turn out to be what you were expecting, the best thing to do is chalk it up to experience, get back out there, and keep looking for your dream job!

Maddie Lloyd


Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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