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How to Quit Your Job and Leave With Your Head Held High

If you're looking for a way to leave your job the right way, Lady Luck has just the advice you need.

Even if you are fed up and want to quit your job, make sure you treat everyone you work with . . . with respect, and be very gracious as you bow out of your position.

Even if you are fed up and want to quit your job, make sure you treat everyone you work with . . . with respect, and be very gracious as you bow out of your position.

Leave Your Job With Class and Dignity

So you've decided to quit your job, you may be leaving to pursue another position, you might be leaving for personal reasons, or perhaps you have become fed up with what's been happening in your office.

No matter what you reason is for quitting your job you need to do so in a polite and professional manner.

We've all had those moments at work where we have wanted to flip our bosses off and storm out the door to make a statement. While this may seem like a good day now, it will surely bring major consequences down the line in your career. Karma is a bitch and will come back to bite you in the ass--so don't burn any bridges with your company while you make your exit.

Take These Steps to Leave Your Company With Tact and Ease

1. Do not give two weeks' notice. Two weeks is not enough to find a replacement for you. Two weeks is the bare minimum you should give your employer. Only give two weeks' notice if you are leaving due to a serious emergency. I recommend giving four weeks notice, it will show that you care about making sure your shoes are filled before you leave, it will show general concern which will be appreciated, and most importantly, it won't make your boss look bad for hiring you in the first place.

2. As soon as you know when you need to leave your job schedule a mandatory meeting with your boss. Sit down with them and let them know your intentions of leaving, and when your last day will be. If you are leaving out of spite, be very careful not to let this show. It will look extremely unprofessional and it will be remembered. If your boss asks why, and you aren't comfortable with giving them the real reason, say that you are leaving due to "personal reasons"

3. Bring an exit memo to the meeting and give it to your boss. The memo should be short and concise. Put a header at the top with your name, position, and contact information. State your last date of employment in the letter. Do not elaborate on your reasons for leaving. Be sure you leave something courteous in it . . . when future employers call the HR office at the job you're leaving, they will likely pull out your exit memo to get a quick refresher course on the type of employee you are.

An example of an appropriate and appreciative note to include in your letter would be: " Much to dismay I must leave my position as [insert role] at [company] due to personal reasons. I enjoyed being part of a successful team that helped me grow as an employee and I thank you for the wonderful opportunity to spend [insert years of employement] as your employee.

4. Before you leave the meeting, make sure you hit these key points: you do not like the fact that you have to leave, you are willing to wrap up any projects that you are currently responsible, you are more than willing to help your boss find an appropriate candidate and assist in training them if need be. Finally, THANK YOUR BOSS, let them know you really appreciate all of the help and guidance they've given you ( even if you are pissed off, I'm sure there were many occasions where they took you under their wing and gave you the benefit of the doubt when you made a boo-boo at work), and always let them know it was a pleasure to be their employee.

5. Take a Chill Pill. You want this meeting to go as smoothly as possible. If your boss reacts poorly, it's important to keep your cool and only say gracious relevant things in response. This is going to be one of the final impressions you leave on your boss, if you want a good reference down the road, you will want to be on your best behavior when you give your four weeks (or more) notice.

You might be thinking that you really don't give a shit right now, and you just want to get the hell out of your company. If you don't leave your job in a respectful manner, remember, the world is a small place, you will run into people you formerly worked with all types of situations. If you want a successful career, you have to be able to network down the road, and you will have trouble networking and building good working relationships ( and good references) if you get so heated that you piss off the people you work with.

So before you storm out after telling off everyone you hated to work with, take a chill pill, and think about the long run, this is one time in your career when you will want to act like the level-headed adult you really are.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Kailin on December 29, 2014:

That's an ineoginus way of thinking about it.

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William Beale from Woodbridge on October 01, 2012:

That's my Girl

Tenderperson on May 24, 2012:

I will be 63 years old in november and I am up for my job appraisal. When I ask questions about work that needs to be done in the office, I am treated as thought they do not know what I am talking about. This has been going on for a long time. They stand around my desk while I am working or talking on the phone to an employer. My boss does this too. This isn't the only issue there is more. Does anyone know what to do if my employer recommends me to go see a

Psychiatrist What would happen if I don't sign the remarks on the appraisal form . Can I denie going to their Doctor and go to my own?

quitter on May 10, 2012:

Lady Luck

I have a few comments

1. 4 weeks? No. the standard is 2. give 2. In a month, your former employer will not remember if you gave 2 weeks or hung on for a month cause you ‘cared so much’ (especially in corporate America)

2. you “do not like the fact that you have to leave," what is this bullshit? you're leaving because you WANT to! There is no governance that is making you leave against your will. Slobbering them with this pedantic BS is unnecessary -your Boss will see right through it. (They have been there for your tenure remember?)

3. "I hate to leave but or Much to my Dismay".. see #2 – you do NOT hate to leave, you are NOT dismayed. you have decided to.

4. "for personal reasons' is a cop-out. using the ‘personal reasons’ crutch only to have your former employee see you on linked In at your new gig is not cool. say nothing if you don’t want to share a reason or or say 'I have found a position that more clearly aligns with my career goals' but for God’s sake don’t say 'personal reasons' like your dying of cancer....unless you are

5. I agree with intent to leave, X role, date of notice, last day provided, in a resignation letter.

6. I also believe in NOT burning bridges and this comment: ‘Karma is a bitch and will come back to bite you in the ass--so don't burn any bridges with your company while you make your exit.’

but ppl start burning them well before they leave, think about this while you’re still employed.

7. Always conduct yourself professionally - at work or in resignation.

8. Smile

tom on November 21, 2011:

great post

Natalie Davenport on July 01, 2010:


Nice post you got here. Gives us a new perspective on leaving our past behind. I recently switched careers it's been a bit slow for awhile but things are starting to pickup. All I needed was the courage to follow my heart!

Been There... on May 27, 2010:

This is sage advise. I once quit a job I liked with a boss who was OK, for what I thought was a good professional growth opportunity with a much shorter commute. As fate would have it, the new job was horrible and after giving it two months, I asked if I could have my old job back. While, I admit, it was not the job I left was not the job of my dreams and my old boss was not the best boss I've ever had, it was a safe harbor in a storm and I was glad to be re-hired. I had left on good terms, giving two weeks notice and luckily for me they had not found a suitable replacement in the two months I was gone. Due to a new boss, I now find myself looking to leave this company again (after 5 years since my rehire). In fact, the new boss has made my life pretty miserable. He's unsupportive, uninterested and only cares about impressing those above him and in many cases just plain lazy. He has given me very mediocre reviews which contain assaults on my character, i.e., "employee (me) looks to shift blame, employee (me) has become overly sensitive to constructive criticism" (what constructive criticism? are you referring to your raised voice and temper tantrums?). This time when I resign - hopefully soon - I would never want to return to my old job. However, I will hand in my resignation indicating gratitude for the opportunities I've had there. It is actually sad since I was never really unhappy there and had been considered a "valued contributor" before this new jerk of a boss came along. I figure any revenge for poor treatment from this new boss will come his way after I leave and he is stuck without me since I know he takes credit for a lot of my hard work. Yep, he'll be mad - tough. Yep, he should have treated me better. Yep, I'm leaving for a new opportunity...fingers crossed!

Roman on May 25, 2010:

Another words:lay whether you iked or not becouse they can not handle the true.The practice remind me when I lived under communism(the censorhip does exist it is just different,you basically can not tell the true to emploee you are abandoning)

BJL on January 19, 2010:

How are you supposed to give a month's notice? If you have another job lined up, they'll want you to start within a reasonable time frame. Two weeks is more than appropriate - and with many companies accepting two week notices, then telling their resigning employees to leave on the day that they give notice (and thus not having to pay that person for the last two weeks), why do you need to be concerned with the feelings of the people in charge of the company? Give two weeks if you need references and are not leaving on bad terms - otherwise, leave as soon as you need to to save your own sanity.

lady luck (author) from Boston on April 22, 2008:

Oh yeah, I agree, I've burned a few bridges in my day.


Bob Ewing from New Brunswick on April 22, 2008:

good advice, there were a few times in the past that I could have used it.

I work very hard on April 05, 2008:

Always have a return policy. Don't say anything nasty you may wish to or even have to ask for the job back.

Thank your employer for the training ans support ans just say you are looking for a new challenge that will offer you promoton.

This could get you the promoton you want, with the company your with now and this could save a lot of moving stress.

DJ Funktual from One Nation Under a Groove on April 02, 2008:

I love This HUB. Why? Because storming off was a bad habit of mine when I was a kid. You have got a lot of great advice!! So many things I would have never thought of.

~~~Bring an exit memo to the meeting and give it to your boss. ~~~ Genius. Never even heard of one before.

sanssecret from England on March 31, 2008:

Great advice. Especially important to remember if you're going to be looking for a reference from future employers. Your past employers can make or break your future career plans. Leave them with dignity. whether they deserve it or not, you do!

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on March 30, 2008:

I agree - very well written, particularly about the 2 weeks notice. You don't want to leave your company without a replacement in place before you exit. Nice job.

Kat07 from Tampa on March 29, 2008:

This is great advice, well given and well taken. Thanks for answering the request!!!

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