Outline your reasons for quitting
from your position, such as moving cities or seeking career growth elsewhere. When planning to leave a position, you should identify the specific reasons you’re quitting so that you can confidently approach your employer with a clear, thoughtful explanation.
If you are leaving to pursue other career opportunities, you can explain what you have learned with your employer that will benefit you as you enter a new job. If your reasons for leaving are related to your experience in the current job, you can discuss what you appreciate about the opportunity and clarify what professional needs another position may provide for you to thrive in the workplace.
, you may be able to discuss altering your schedule or trying remote working options with your supervisor. The most important thing when making these decisions is to prioritize your happiness, job satisfaction and career growth.
Tips for Telling Your Boss You’re Quitting Your Job
It can be challenging to take a calm and reasoned approach to resigning if you’ve been mistreated or underappreciated. However, words spoken or written in haste could come back to haunt you since you never know what a former colleague or supervisor might tell a potential employer about your work or character.
When You Don’t Like the Job or Company
There is nothing to gain by being negative, even if you hate your job or your supervisor was a terrible manager. Employers tend to take the side of former supervisors over job candidates when checking references. If your negativity is mentioned, the prospective employer may wonder if you’ll act the same way if they were to hire you.
Some organizations will conduct formal background checks that will go back further than your current or last job, so even if you have already secured a new position, it is not wise to alienate a former employer.
What you say when you leave could be mentioned to prospective employers, and negativity isn’t going to get you a positive recommendation. Even worse, going on about what you didn’t like at the place could get you a bad reference. Whenever possible, leave your job gracefully and on good terms.
When You Love Your Job
It’s not easy to leave a job where you liked the position, your boss, the company, and your coworkers. It can be challenging to tell your boss that you’re leaving when you love your job and the company you work for but need to move on.
If they badmouth other opportunities/criticize your aspirations.
A boss who feels insecure may offer unsolicited criticism of your future plans. We’ve seen examples of managers choosing to dampen their employee’s excitement about their next chapter by disparaging their future employer in the guise of “coaching.” One of our clients was told by her boss that moving to a (much better known) company was a huge mistake because “no one likes working there” and “its brand has really declined.”
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t try to argue with them. Instead, try to change the conversation to get this off this tack. “I really appreciate your concern,” you could say. “I’ve decided this is the best course for me, and I feel good about that decision, but thank you.”
If they try to shame or guilt trip you.
One of the hardest maneuvers to resist is when your manager makes you feel guilty about your decision. One of our coaching clients, upon his resignation, was told by his manager, “Do you know how many times I protected you?” She went on to enumerate the lengths to which she’d gone to shield him from organizational peril. Especially if you have a close relationship to your manager, you may already be feeling bad — so hearing guilt-inducing stories from them may drive the dagger in further. “I know how much you’ve supported me,” you could say. “I truly appreciate everything you’ve done for me. It wasn’t an easy decision to reach, but I truly feel it’s the right time for me to move on and I’ll always be grateful for our work together.”
Finally, it’s not uncommon for managers to ask you, what will it take for you to stay? Or, what if I can match what they are offering you and increase it? Of course, this isn’t a negative reaction — it’s actually a very positive testament to your role in the organization. But it can feel discomfiting nonetheless if you’re not prepared to respond.
It’s important for you — before you have your resignation conversation — to think through how you’ll respond. Are you a definite no, and “all in” on your next chapter? Or if your existing company can better your circumstances, financial or otherwise, would you reconsider?
If the former, you could say, “I truly appreciate you asking. I’ve really thought this through and feel confident that moving on is the right step for me, but I’m flattered you asked.” If the latter, you could say, “I didn’t come into this conversation looking to leverage an offer. It’s my intention to accept the new position. But it’s true — I do love working here, and if it really were possible to match what they’re offering, I’d love to stay.”
Telling your boss that you’re leaving is one the hardest workplace conversations we can have, and it’s difficult to predict how they’ll respond in the moment. But by reviewing these scenarios and strategizing in advance, you can greatly increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to handle their reaction — whatever it may be — with thoughtfulness and grace.
How To Tell Your Boss You’re Quitting
How to Tell Your Boss You’re Quitting
Overthinking, nerves, hating confrontation—a lot can potentially make quitting your job more stressful than it needs to be. And telling a boss—especially one you might be intimidated by—that you’re leaving can be nerve-racking. Here’s what to say and what not to say so you can easily navigate telling your boss you’re quitting.
Once you’ve decided you’re quitting, you might want to sprint into your boss’s office with the good (for you) news. Tempting, but give yourself a day (if you have it) to plan what you’ll say and tie up any loose ends with human resources.
“Before you leave, do your best to obtain some letters of recommendation from mentors and others at the organization who can speak highly of you,” Caprino says. Also, reach out to LinkedIn contacts who can publicly endorse you for your relevant skills.
Remember to check in with HR so you know exactly where you stand with benefits and if you’re required through an employment contract or company policy to give more than two weeks’ notice.
“Make sure you are fully ready to leave that day (or that moment) if they decide after you resign that they do not wish you to remain on the premises,” Caprino says. “Have all the information, records, documents, etc. you need to take with you, including all property that is yours.”
You’ll also want to write a resignation letter that you can hand to your boss when you meet with them. There needs to be a written record of you quitting, and when your final day is. Check out these resignation letter tips to make sure you cover what’s needed.
How to tell your boss you’re quitting: What to say
Workplace expert and Texas A&M University associate professor Dr. Anthony Klotz has studied the effects of resignations on both employees and workplaces for years. “Our research has found that organizations and managers respond poorly to emailing a boss or leaving a note on her desk,” Klotz tells Bloomberg. “In email you can’t control the tone, and it often comes off wrong. You want to resign in as positive a way as possible.”
Yes, quitting in person can feel more stressful than sending an email—but it can be very anxiety-inducing to wait for confirmation that your boss received that email. Imagine running into them in the kitchen after sending an “I’m leaving” message and not being sure if they got it. Plus, having conversations you think could be difficult is a great experience for growth.
Depending on how you usually set up meetings with your boss, you can send a meeting request, use an already-scheduled meeting time if one is on the calendar, or try to catch them in their office when they’re free. Setting up a specific time is best so that way you both will be prepared for a meeting.
Next: Remember to give the actual news that you’re leaving. Don’t let your nerves cause you to bury the lede here. Tell them directly that you’ve decided to leave and when your last day will be.
Caprino says you can also give your thanks and appreciation for the time you spent at the company, along with anything else you are appreciative of, like what you learned or how you grew as an employee, and offer to help transition your projects and responsibilities before you go.
“You absolutely do not have to give a reason for leaving, but for many folks who perhaps have had a great relationship with their managers and want to give a bit of context for the resignation, they might want to share something in the way of explanation,” Caprino says. “That’s fine as long as it’s a positive reflection on you.”
Some things that would be a positive reflection:
If your boss responds positively, you can ask if you can use them as a reference in the future, or tell them you plan to stay in touch, then move on to talking about what you can do specifically to help transition your role.
The Worst Ways to Quit
Many people daydream about leaving their jobs in a blaze of glory, giving their boss a piece of their mind. While that sounds great, in reality, it’s not smart. If you’ve ever quit a job, you’ve probably left respectfully. Here are the ultimate worst ways to resign from your job:
Classic no-show. You just stop coming to work. No notice. They just wonder where you are. You let the phone ring. You block the work phone number. You are free and have never been happier.
YouTube video. You have written a special song talking about everything you hate about your job and boss and make it go viral on Youtube. You build a cult following, and your video is seen on the evening news.
Tell your work buddies first. You go cubicle to cubicle telling your work buddies about how you plan to quit. Before you know it, the secret slips, and your boss is in the know.
Total blow out. This is like what Jennifer Anniston’s character Joanna did while quitting her TGI Friday’s job. They were pushing her to wear an obnoxious amount of flair. Joanna flips him off and responds, “I do want to express myself, and I don’t need 37 pieces of flair to do it. There’s my flair.” And, just for good measure, she adds, “I hate this goddamn job, and I don’t need it.” Perfect.
Bragging about your new job. If you have a new job lined up, your coworkers might inquire about it. It’s okay to tell them about it but don’t go on and on about how much better the position may be.
Resignation Do’s and Dont’s
Clean your computer before the conversation. While you might think you’re handing in a two weeks’ notice letter, there’s always a chance your boss will ask you to leave right away. Of course, if there’s a chance you’ll need work documents over your last two weeks, then keep all of those.
Write a letter of resignation. Even if it’s a small company and you think a conversation alone will do the trick, a letter of resignation is a nice touch that solidifies your decision. Plus, it’s helpful for company records and will make a good impression when you come around to ask for a reference letter or letter of recommendation sometime down the line.
Give at least two weeks’ notice. Giving as much notice as possible (within reason) is just polite. The company needs to fill your role and quitting without much or any notice can leave them in a lurch, which doesn’t bode well for your chances of using this employer as a reference.
Offer to help with the transition. Of course, only make this offer if you’re prepared to follow through. Offer as much as you’re really willing to do, whether that means just leaving some training documents for your replacement, or helping with recruitment and training in a more hands-on way.
Ask for references. While you might not need the references right now (especially if you’re quitting to take another job), it’s still handy to get these things while you’re fresh in people’s minds. Don’t sweat getting a full-on recommendation letter from everyone — a few LinkedIn endorsements for your skills can really add up to an impressive list of kudos after a while.
Include negative statements in your resignation letter. Your resignation letter is not the place to tell off your boss or anyone else. It’s not the place to bring up salary disputes, policy disagreements, or personal issues. All these things can only hurt you down the road, and they certainly won’t ever help you.
Brag. Talking about how awesome your new job or how much better the pay is isn’t just bad practice for your career — it’s just an icky thing to do as a person, and others really don’t like it.
Forget to say goodbye to coworkers. Even if you weren’t exactly best buds with your colleagues, it’s worth the effort to say goodbye to each of them. Leaving folks with a good impression of you is important because you never know who you might run into later on.