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How to quit your job the right way

Updated on October 5, 2010
This is a bridge. Don't burn it.
This is a bridge. Don't burn it.

Quitting ain't easy!

In the professional world we call it a resignation. You don't just walk into your bosses office and scream "I QUIT" -- there is a certain procedure that must be followed and you should show a little tact to ensure that you don't burn any bridges, even if you don't think you'll be crossing them again. With the proper resignation, you can help enhance your job prospects in the future. I'm going to go over the proper way to handle your resignation.

Are you sure you want to do this?

Since you're reading this, I assume you've already thought out the pros and cons of quitting your job. In this economic climate, you should be sure that you've either got enough money saved or good job prospects before letting go of your current position.

Assuming you are absolutely sure, start by cleaning out your computer of personal files. Clean up your email and make sure to keep the contact info for people that you might need later on.

How much notice do I give?

It's important to read your employment contract. In there you'll find out how much time you have to give when resigning from your position. It's important to abide by this, or you could lose out on certain benefits such as being able to use vacation time to get paid after you've already resigned. If your employment contract doesn't tell you how much time you have to give, the standard procedure is to give two weeks.

Do I have to stay longer if my employer asks?

No, once you give the proper notice you are under no obligation to stay for longer than that. Your employer cannot fire you for cause because you refuse to stay longer than your notice. It is appropriate to work your expected hours and to help your current employer in any way to transition to a new employee at your position.

Write a resignation letter

Even if you tell your boss verbally that you're resigning, you still should deliver a written resignation letter. You don't have to give a detailed explanation about why you're quitting, just say that you've decided to end your employment with the company as of a certain date. As always, maintain a professional relationship with your superiors and co-workers, because you may need a letter of recommendation from them at some point in the future.

Your resignation letter will remain on your employment file long after you leave, so if you say anything negative in their it'll probably come back to haunt you later on when you're looking for your former employer to put in a good word for you.

The final days on the job

You might be asked to give an exit interview. Human resources does this to find out specific reasons why people leave the company. Maintain professionalism during this interview. You can mention having problems with superiors or certain facets of the business, but don't lower yourself into making personal attacks.

Return all company property that you keep at your desk or office. Personal belongings that might appear to be company property should be cleared with superiors so they don't suspect you of stealing.

Finally, make sure to say goodbye to your co-workers before you leave.


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  • mythbuster profile image

    mythbuster 7 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

    Nice, specific tips for dealing with employers when quitting a job, I am DBCooper. I definitely wish this had been available to me a few years ago lol before the "stomp stomp, I QUIT" tactics I've used in the past. lol