Resigning from a job isn’t always an easy decision to make. Whether you are on your way out due to retirement, have a better job awaiting you, or are relocating, at one point or another, there comes a time when the relationship between you and your current employer must come to an end. When you’re thinking about how to quit a job, always be proactive in the process.
It’s essential to create a solid exit strategy when quitting a job. Making a plan includes securing a new job, presenting your notice, and easing the transition, among other things.
This article will provide a detailed overview of how to resign from a job. It will break down what that might entail and how to do it successfully and professionally.
Is Giving a Two-Weeks’ Notice Required?
While you’re under no legal obligation to provide two weeks’ notice, it’s good practice to ensure you remain in good standing with your current employer. If you might need a reference in the future, for instance, having gracefully and professionally ended the relationship will be beneficial.
Providing a two-week notice will also make it an easier transition as you hand off your workload. Offering to help train or brief your replacement will also keep you in your employer’s good graces.
Keep in mind that your resignation letter does not require you to disclose your reason for leaving. Indicating the day your resignation should take effect and thanking the employer for the opportunity in a professional tone will suffice.
Preparation Before Submitting Your Resignation
Before you officially submit your resignation, there are a few steps you’ll want to take to ensure you cover all of your bases.
- Secure new employment. Unless your resignation is due to retirement, you’ll likely want to make sure you have a new job lined up before you quit.
- Use up your vacation benefits. If you have any unused PTO (paid time off), you may want to give yourself a little vacation before quitting a job.
- Take inventory. You may want to go through your computer and office to see if any personal information should be deleted or discarded.
- Take care of investments. Do you have a 401K with your company? How long do you have until it rolls over? Consider working out the policies regarding any investments you have tied up with your employer before quitting.
- Legal Agreements. Depending on the nature of your job, you may have had to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). Consider these and any other clauses before quitting to ensure you don’t find yourself in a breach.
The Process for Officially Quitting Your Job
Once you’ve tied up any loose ends and are ready to resign officially, there are some general steps you’ll take in doing so. The process might vary from industry to industry, but for the most part, it’s expected you stick to the following guidelines:
- Notify your direct manager. Have the conversation directly with your supervisor to inform them of your resignation. If you feel comfortable, you can explain your reason for leaving professionally and politely. Even if your workplace was less than ideal for any reason, we recommend that you avoid negative or rude comments.
- Submit your letter of resignation to human resources. Keep it short, professional, and to the point.
- Prepare for an exit interview. Some workplaces require that you complete an exit interview with your supervisor or HR to get a sense of why you might be leaving and your overall experience working with the company.
- Help transition your duties. During your last two weeks, consider training or briefing your replacement as you hand off any of the accounts you were previously working on to ensure a smooth transition.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are some common questions individuals have when resigning from their job.
What Are the Risks of Not Putting in a Notice (Quitting Same Day)?
As we said earlier, you don’t have a legal obligation to put in your notice. However, failing to do so might put you in an awkward and unpleasant position with your employer, especially if stipulated in your contract. While an employer cannot take legal action for forgoing notice, they could withhold any accrued vacation pay they owe you.
There are some exceptions for quitting on the same day. For instance, you may be relocating unexpectedly, or perhaps you had an overtly negative experience in the workplace that’s prompting you to resign. In these cases, explain your situation to HR, and they may be forgiving.
Can an Employer Fire Me for Putting in My Notice?
It’s perfectly legal for an employer to terminate your employment upon handing in your resignation, although that typically wouldn’t be of value to them. Either way, if your employer fires you, they need to pay you unemployment, which wouldn’t be the case if you were to quit. In some cases, this could be a blessing in disguise.
Can I Quit on Day 1 If the Job Isn’t a Good Fit?
Yes. Studies show that 30% of workers quit during their probationary period or within 90 days. No one will hold it against you if it’s not the right fit. Just don’t go crawling back to your last employer begging for your job back.
Can I Use This Company as a Reference in the Future if I Quit?
The hope is that you can. However, to reiterate, you want to be sure you are kept in their good graces. Be polite, courteous, and professional during your last two weeks. Help out where you can to make the transition process is as seamless as possible. If you’re counting on the reference, you may even want to give more extended notice than a mere two weeks.
In addition, considering a previous employer for a reference isn’t just about your final two weeks, but about your employment with them overall. Be sure you were the best employee you could be and that you held good professional relationships with your supervisor and co-workers.