How to Quit Your Job

Before meeting with your manager, write a short resignation letter.
Cara Smith
By Cara Smith 
Edited by Amanda Derengowski

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Quitting your job involves more than just walking into your boss’s office and telling them you’re leaving.

In most circumstances, you should only quit your job if you’re sure it’s the right time to leave. That means you’ve attempted to remedy any challenges you’re having at work, and you’re sure you have enough money to survive what could be a months-long search for your next job. If you want to quit your job to accept another job, take time to consider whether the new job is a better fit for your professional goals and financial needs.

After making these considerations, if you’ve ultimately decided to quit your job, here’s what you need to do next.

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Write your resignation letter. First, have your two weeks’ notice in writing, says Tamiera S. Harris, a life and career coach, and founder of Black Career Coach. Also, make sure you’ve documented the status of any ongoing projects. If you’re using password-protected programs for any existing projects, you may want to share those credentials with the appropriate colleague or manager. Finally, it may also be helpful to share any outstanding communications with clients or vendors with your manager, or with the employee taking over your responsibilities.

Meet face-to-face with your manager. Schedule a time to meet with your manager (or virtually, if you work remotely). Start the conversation by thanking your manager for the experience you gained in the role. Then, tell them you’re submitting your resignation.

Prepare for negotiations. When you quit, your manager might offer solutions, reopen salary negotiations or even ask to restart the conversation again in a few days.

Before meeting with your manager, think about whether you’re open to negotiations or solutions. If you aren’t, be prepared to firmly but politely say that you’ve made your decision.

Avoid getting too specific. If your manager asks for specific reasons why you’re quitting, give as much information as you’re comfortable sharing. You can be straightforward if you’re quitting because you need better work-life balance, for example. If you’re quitting the job because it isn’t what you expected, or you simply don’t enjoy the work, you can say something like, “Unfortunately, this position isn’t related to my broader career goals, and I’ve decided to pursue opportunities more in-line with those goals.”

On the flip side, if you’re quitting because you can’t work with your coworkers (or your manager), you may want to keep things broad.

“I don’t recommend anyone badmouth their employer or colleagues,” Harris says. “It’s all about personal growth or alignment with career goals.”

If you’re quitting a job that you’ve held for a year or more, though, it may be difficult not to provide at least a couple concrete reasons you’re quitting. Ultimately, how much information you share is up to you.

End on a high note. Close out the conversation by again thanking your manager for the opportunity. Offer to help transition your tasks and responsibilities to your coworkers. And if it’s appropriate, you can ask your manager if they’d be comfortable being used as a reference.

If you’re up to it, you can even offer to stay in the role longer than the usual two weeks, says Tina Marie St. Cyr, executive career coach and founder of Bonfire Coaching in Houston. She suggests submitting a four weeks’ notice, in order to give your manager additional time to re-delegate your duties.

Your manager will likely ask you to write a short resignation letter to submit to human resources for the company’s records. If you’re asked to write a resignation letter for HR, know that you aren’t required to include any of your reasons for leaving. You just need to explicitly state that you’re resigning, and provide the date of your last day of work.