Quitting a Job: Everything You Need to Know

Quitting a Job: Everything You Need to Know

At some point in your career, you may need to quit your job.

That is perfectly normal!

However, you need to do it as respectfully and professionally as you can.

This article will show you:

But first, let’s explore possible reasons for quitting your job.

10 Best Reasons for Quitting Your Job

So, one thing is clear. You want to quit your job.

Before you do, it’s important to understand that there are acceptable reasons and unacceptable reasons to quit a job.

Below we’ll show you some of the best and most acceptable reasons to quit a job:

  1. You have a new job that offers better opportunities and/or pay. This may be receiving a permanent full-time position somewhere when you work part-time, or a job with better pay or the potential for growth.
  2. Family matters. If your job does not offer flexibility for family obligations, it may not be a good fit for you.
  3. Relocation. If you have moved to a new place or your work requires you to move when you can’t.
  4. The health of yourself or a family member. Perhaps the job itself is having a negative effect on mental or physical health, or you need to care for an ailing family member or yourself.
  5. Schedules and hours may not line up with your current needs. If the services that you need in your personal life change their schedule, you may need a job that accommodates this change.
  6. Mistreated. If your boss or colleagues do not appreciate you, this can make the position stressful. Dread in the morning is not sustainable.
  7. Studies. You may be in school again full or part-time. This may create an unreasonable strain on your schedule, and something has to give.
  8. Job insecurity. If your position is at risk, you may wish to leave. Either because the company is struggling or because those in charge are reshuffling staff, you may wish to find another option before you are forced to.
  9. Values not aligning with the company. If your job has you defend what you are unable to stand by, then you may wish to leave.
  10. Need a change. Maybe your situation does not completely line up with a reason stated above. However, needing to move on is a reason in and of itself. Sometimes your gut just tells you to go.

All the reasons above will be suitable reasons to quit your job.

If you want to see some of the worst reasons to quit a job, just keep on reading.


Top Tip: Having a good reason to quit does not mean that you must quit immediately! Be sure that quitting is something that you are prepared for.


Learn the signs that its time to quit your job for being overworked or underpaid.

5 Worst Reasons for Quitting Your Job

After specifying some of the best reasons to quit your job, it is worth remembering that there are bad reasons too.

If you quit for the wrong reasons, it can actually hurt your chances of getting hired elsewhere.

If a decision is made to quit based on a reason stated below, perhaps you should reconsider.

  1. Not promoted. Your job has not changed and you may clinch the promotion next time.
  2. Hard times. If you do not have another job lined up, then adding financial instability does not help your situation.
  3. Colleagues did not like me. This can make it seem that you are personally hard to work with if you are citing this reason to a future potential employer.
  4. If you do not like the details that you agreed to. Hours, overtime, duties – anything that you agreed to at the beginning does not reflect well on you if you cite it as a reason for leaving.
  5. Mom told me to. While she may have your best interests at heart, this is not an acceptable motivation, especially if there are no other issues.

It is certainly not good to be leaving for any of the reasons above.

Future employers will have access to references to why you left your job, ensure that your explanations line up with what your former boss says.

Having to leave without having something new lined up will show an employment gap on your resume.

Be sure to have an explanation for this.

Also, be aware that volunteering is an option when you are between jobs.


Top Tip: Remember that job searching can be a long and stressful process, so try to prepare financially and mentally!


Learn things to consider when you want to quit and whether it's the right time to quit.

How to Properly Quit Your Job

If you decide that you have sufficient reason to quit, be sure to try to limit any damage that may be caused.

That can be to your reputation, to relationships, and to references.

However, with the correct approach, this is not an issue for people.

It is important to recognize that there are many additional effects as you leave your job. Because of that, it is important to do so without burning bridges.

You do not want to slip up.

We’ve included this graphic to help summarize how to properly quit your job.

How To Properly Quit A Job

Keep on reading and we will walk you through details on how to quit your job.

Tell Your Boss First

Be careful!

First, inform your boss before any colleagues.

If colleagues are told first, they may spill the beans even if you tell them not to.

You don’t want that.

It is much better that your boss finds out from you, rather than through the grapevine.

The best way to approach this is to email your boss and set up a meeting about your future.

Quit in Person, Then Follow Up in Writing

It is more daunting, but it is also more professional!

You can send a letter of resignation via email after resigning in person.

Do not go into detail about the negatives behind the position but be gracious and firm.

Be thankful!

Even if negative reasons have influenced your final decision greatly, it does not help you to emphasize them now!

Be polite.

Do not talk negatively about the company or your job.


Top Tip: Your employer may want to keep you in your position rather than lose you. You may receive a better offer from your current employer. Be ready, know what you need in order to stay, or if you would still like to go no matter what the counteroffer is.


Letter of Resignation Sample and Template

After you have given your notice in person, here is a sample letter of resignation to follow up and provide the information in writing.

Sample Letter of Resignation

⬆ Download a Word version of this template.

Can you see what this letter accomplishes?

All the essential information is there.

You do not have to go into depth.

Additionally, there is written evidence now of the date of your final day.

Try to keep negativity to yourself.

Offer to help make the process smooth.

Two Weeks Notice

Be sure to give notice of at least two weeks. Transition is not something that should be rushed.

That is at least two weeks.

It might not go down well if you don’t give ample time to be replaced.

Take into consideration that the wheel keeps turning and your former employer needs to continue functioning without you.

Maybe there are pressures in the job right now which make resigning very inconvenient for your employer.

In cases like these, offering even more time, if possible, will be appreciated.

Some jobs in general (like in management) also require a longer time to fill. Accommodate these needs and it will be appreciated.

Generally. there is no legal obligation when quitting to give notice. However, it is common practice to do so.

Some employers have a notice policy wherein the outgoing employee may forfeit accrued benefits. These are penalties rather than law.

 It can reflect badly on you if you leave a job high and dry.


Top Tip: Choosing to resign at a less busy time is advantageous for everyone. Work will better deal with replacing you if they are not swamped. Additionally, your final 2 weeks will be significantly less frantic in trying to tie up loose ends.


How to Leave a Good Last Impression

Last impressions are very important. It says a lot about you as a professional.

There are numerous benefits to leaving your employer on good terms.

Leave a good last impression by doing the following:

Help in the transition process as best as you can.

Replacing you will put more on the plate of your employer.

Because of this, it helps to ensure that you do what you can to make this as smooth as possible.

Tie up the loose ends you can and offer to get your replacement up to speed.

This is partly why giving sufficient notice helps a lot.

Underperforming in your final days may over-shadow other contributions.

If you do not end your time with your employer professionally, the end of your tenure is more likely to be remembered than your contributions throughout your employment.

Because of this, do your best to end on a high note.

You do not want to mishandle this!

You are more likely to get good references if you work diligently.

Remember that there are positives in it for you too if you work diligently until your last day.

You will come across as being much more professional and trustworthy.

Giving references and getting references will likely happen, and you can help control that vital last impression!

Make sure you represent yourself well every day with your employer.

Returning one day is easier if you left on good terms.

Burning bridges makes it significantly harder to return down the road if needed.

You want to be doing all you can to give yourself options in the future.

Even if you do not currently see yourself returning, that may change – so try to keep the door open!

Offer to continue answering work emails and questions for a time.

Offer to help beyond your last 2+ weeks, this helps solidify this last impression as you leave.

Doing this shows that you want your employer to succeed and are willing to assist in accomplishing this.

This also increases the likelihood of receiving good references as discussed above.


Top Tip: Even if you do not get a glowing reference from your supervisor, you can still get one from colleagues!


See three absolutely wrong ways to quit a job.

How To Quit a Job You Just Started

Sometimes starting a new job doesn't go exactly as planned. Obviously, this is a situation that you do not hope for when looking for a job.

However, it is still very real for many people, so advice here may come in handy for you.

  • Resign in person, submit a letter of resignation.
  • Be sincere and apologetic. Give the best reason you have and apologize for the inconvenience. Make sure that it is clear that it is not a situation you wanted.
  • Give notice and work to the best of your ability for the remaining time. Realize that this is an inconvenient time as your employer just put forth the effort and expense of hiring you.
  • Do your best not to burn bridges.
  • Be careful next time. To repeat this multiple times will look bad on your resume.

As stated above, although it is not advice that is expected right after the job starting, in some cases it is advice that is needed.

If you handle this in a professional way, hopefully your employer can sympathize with you.

How To Quit a Job Without Notice

It has been stated above that it is good practice to give an employer at least 2 weeks notice. However, this is sometimes not possible.

In any case, tick as many boxes as you can, especially if you can’t tick this one.

  • Make sure that leaving immediately is what you need most. Remember that notice would help your employer be better prepared for your departure.
  • Resign in person, submit a letter of resignation.
  • If health or other situations beyond your control make it impossible for you to stay for 2 weeks, make sure that this is made clear. You don’t need to go into detail about these matters.
  • Do your best throughout not to burn bridges.

Damage control comes to the forefront when unable to allow your boss time to prepare for your departure.

If what prevents you from giving notice is something small or irrelevant, do not go into the specifics. Only explain if it is a good reason.

How To Quit a Job You Hate

This is a situation that can look quite different at first glance. Hating a job feels very different than loving a job. It might be really easy to talk negatively about what you hate and leave hastily.

However, the key to leaving professionally from a job that you hate is to treat it as you would leaving a job that you enjoy.

  • See if your issue(s) with the job can be resolved. If a solution can be found, then you may not need to quit.
  • Resign in person, submit a letter of resignation.
  • Do not go into detail about what you hate. Stay positive and tactful.
  • Give appropriate notice and work to the best of your ability for the remaining time. Hating your job does not take away from the positive effect of assisting with the transition.
  • Do your best throughout not to burn bridges.
  • Try to ensure that future jobs are a better fit for you.

It does not help you to be negative through this process.

It will be easier and smoother to simply remain professional throughout.

How To Quit a Part-Time Job

Generally, part-time employment may not offer the same benefits as full-time employment.

However, that does not detract from the importance of quitting in a professional manner.

  • Resign in person, submit a letter of resignation.
  • Resignation does not need to be detailed, be sincere and to the point.
  • Give notice and work to the best of your ability for the remaining time.
  • Do your best throughout not to burn bridges.
  • Benefits and hours aside, the reality is that you are still quitting your job.

Consequently, it is a good idea to approach this with the same kind of care as a full-time position.

How To Quit a Job Over the Phone or Email

Sometimes, you are unable to resign in person. This may be because you are working remotely or it may be due to health reasons, for example.

Whatever the reason, it is not ideal to quit over the phone or email. Consequently, try to follow the advice below as best as you can.

  • This is obviously not the most polite or professional way to resign, ensure that you do not have the option of doing it in person.
  • After getting in touch about quitting, write a letter of resignation. Send this to your boss and to HR.
  • Give notice if possible, try to make the transition period as smooth as you can.
  • If you are calling/emailing because you cannot return, be as apologetic as you can. If it is due to circumstances that are beyond your control, say so.
  • Do your best throughout not to burn bridges.

It is not ideal to quit when you can’t do it in person, but you can still do your best to quit in as professional a way as possible.

Checklist For Quitting Your Job

Quitting can be a difficult and stressful process.

However, quitting unprofessionally opens you up to escalating and prolonging the stress.

To sum up the key information behind quitting your job professionally, below is a checklist:

  • Decide if you want/need to. It is vital to be sure that leaving is the best or only option.
  • Tell your boss. Your boss should hear first. Upon achieving this, others at work can be informed.
  • Submit notice for 2 weeks or more. This allows for your employer to make the necessary preparations for your departure. You may be asked to just go, but it is important to offer.
  • Write a letter of resignation. Send this to your boss and to HR. Include necessary information, be positive and grateful. Keep negativity to yourself and don’t be long-winded.
  • Find out the date of your last paycheck. The date may not necessarily be the same date as usual.
  • Check all unused leave/benefits. From holidays, overtime, expenses and bonuses - ensure that these benefits are paid to you if applicable.
  • Work the remaining time you have there to the best of your ability. Leave the position for someone else as you would like to walk into it.
  • Attend the exit interview. You can expect questions about the job, why you’re leaving, your thoughts on the job etc. Be prepared to answer questions, remember that resigning gracefully includes your exit interview as well.
  • Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. It is best for these to not be outdated. It is easier to make these changes when they are fresh in your memory.
  • Get and give references. Request for references to be written for you, especially if you have been sure to leave amicably. Offer to write references for others too.
  • Tie up any loose ends. This includes leaving an address for items for you that are sent to your old work. Also remember to take what is yours with you. Ensure that colleagues are up to speed on clients/projects that you were seeing to.
  • Figure out retirement plans. Generally, you can roll these over to your next employment once your employer starts you on their plan. Alternatively, you can withdraw your funds, but usually there will be taxes and penalties. Look into this in more detail to decide what is best for you.
  • Learn about health insurance & unemployment. Finding out where you stand on entitlement in these matters is very important. Do your research.

If you tick the boxes above, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you did your best.

You are required to do some research about your individual situation on your own. Be sure to do this, as these are not details that you can make decisions without.

If you need professional assistance with updating your resume, check out resume writing services near you.

Additional Pointers About Quitting Your Job

We are almost there!

All the key information about quitting has been covered, but there are still a few pointers below:

  • Stay in touch. This shows that your former job is not something that you are wanting to just leave behind, it can be an important chapter in your life.
  • Return what the company owns. These things do not belong to you. Everything that belongs to them should be returned.
  • Goodbyes. Send messages individually to people who ought to hear from you as you go. Be positive and thankful.
  • Avoid negativity. Even after your job ends, it does not help you to talk negatively about your former position, colleagues or boss. You may accidentally burn bridges. You do not want to appear negative to a new employer either.

Upon completing the checklist and following the advice of this article, you will have quit your job professionally without burning bridges.

Summary & Conclusion

So to wrap up, the key take-aways to quitting a job are listed below.

  • Tell your boss first. You can tell colleagues after, but you do not want your boss hearing from them.
  • Resign in person. Tact and professionalism are accomplished by doing this face to face. It may not be the easy option, but it is the best option. Follow this up with a letter of resignation.
  • Give at least 2 weeks notice if possible. Do not leave your boss and the job high and dry, it will not lead to the best outcome for you or them. Seamless transition is appreciated all round.
  • Work as best you can for the time you have left. The final impression that you leave is very important.

We have given ample advice throughout this article as to how to best approach this situation.

Do not make the same mistakes others make.

You do not want to go on to regret how you conducted yourself in this time.

Good luck to you!

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