How to quit your job …gracefully

If you feel under appreciated, underpaid, disengaged or disenchanted with your work then you need to change. 

As corny as it sounds, life is too short to be unhappy and feel that way, day in, day out. 

Everyone loves a good quitting story, and we have heard a few from candidates who ask us to rescue them. And of course, we’re sure some of you have imagined and even rehearsed telling your manager right to their face exactly where they can shove their precious job…

Sure the idea of quitting in a dramatic fashion using zany antics may be cathartic, but in the real world, those same antics won’t help you pay your rent or put food on the table. So, this is more about how you can quit that dreadful job you hate, but do it gracefully and staying cool. 

There are a few standard, and simple rules of politeness and professionalism that tend to go a very long way when it comes to leaving a position without getting a bad reputation and blacklisted. So we have decided to give you some advice on how to quit your job gracefully!

Tell them in person, if possible: not everyone can get a one-on-one with a manager, and some work-places have multiple managers; but if you can, try to get some face time and tell them directly. Face-to-face is always better than on email, letter or even the phone. There is no real substitute to being able to look your manager in the eyes and explain your situation. If you absolutely cannot get any time with a manager or supervisor at all, a brief, direct letter of resignation sent over email or a conference call will suffice.

Don’t take to social media: sure you can announce on Facebook that you’re looking for new work or considering a change of career, or that you’re excited about your new opportunity; but unloading all of your workplace gripes and bad-mouthing employers or colleagues on social media is not a good look and might come back to haunt you. We are sure you want to work again, and future employers will check out your social media!

Give a fair amount of notice: the polite thing to do at any job is to give at least two weeks’ notice. This is like an un-written courtesy rule, and we would suggest it will stand you in good stead going forward or if you will be needing a reference. Yes it’s very flattering if your new job wants you to start right away, but as much as day-of quitting can be extremely satisfying your management will need time to assess what they need in your absence. 

Quitting for reasons that you really think the management should know.

Now there may be a time when it’s not so much the job you hate, but the company or the culture. It may be a corporate culture that’s sexist, racist, or ableist, or a slew of particularly awful hires, or that you feel the company have changed the direction you thought you were heading and you don’t agree. 

Breathe. As much as you may want to just moonwalk out and let the company fend for itself, your insider knowledge could be extremely helpful moving forward, and by speaking up, you’ll be doing new employees a huge favour. 

Get it off your chest in a constructive manner and request an exit interview. This is the time to let your bosses know exactly why you’re leaving. It’s a growth opportunity for them, and ideally, they’ll leap on it.

Not every company wants to hear what exiting employees have to say, though. If that’s the case, consider writing an explanatory email to your direct supervisor or your HR manager. Let them know exactly why you’re leaving—they deserve to know, and you’ll feel better for it.

Remember, like the saying goes “you’re not a tree, so if you don’t like where you are, change it.”

Visit our Vacancies page for lots of exiting opportunities that could be your dream job! 

Career Development, Quitting, Top Tips