IT Employment

How to quit your job

Quitting your job is not as simple as just saying the words. Here are several things to keep in mind when you deliver the news that you're resigning.

You'd think that the act of resigning from a job would be pretty straightforward -- just a simple "I'm outta here!" and you're gone. But, of course, that's not how it goes in reality. And in this day and age, there are quite a few details that have to be ironed out before you can walk out that door. Here's a list of things you should take care of if you resign from a job.

1. Give notice

Unless you have an employment contract that states otherwise, you should give two weeks' notice. If your employer asks you to stay longer, you are not obligated to do so. The only obligation you have in this respect is that you start your new job when you said you would.

2. Have the "conversation"

When you deliver the news to your supervisor, you don't need to say much more than you're leaving. Resist the urge to add "And do you want to know WHY? Because you have made my life a living hell since I've been here." If you are pushed to say more, try to stay positive. Concentrate on the ways the company has benefited you. Don't burn your bridges because, even if it seems unbelievable at the time, there may be some day in the distant future when you will need your ex-boss to do you a favor.

3. Write a resignation letter

Even if you resign verbally, write a resignation letter; it can help you maintain a positive relationship with your employer. You may one day need that former employer to give you a reference, so it makes sense to take the time to write a polished and professional resignation letter.

4. Ask for a reference

This may not always be possible if your boss is really upset about you leaving. In other words, it may not be the best time to ask for a reference letter if he's throwing tape dispensers at your head. But, if the parting is amicable, then by all means ask for a reference.

5. Don't forget the details

You may be entitled to some benefits and other salary upon leaving. Ask about continuing your health insurance coverage through COBRA, collecting unused vacation and sick pay, and keeping, cashing in, or rolling over your 401K or other pension plan.

6. Return company property

Return any company property you have, including keys, documents, computers, phones, and anything else that doesn't belong to you.

And now, for a change of pace, here's a video called "How NOT to quit your job."

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About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

143 comments
rich95134
rich95134

Can you please not have the videos on your blog auto-start? If I really want to watch this !@#$%, I'll be glad to hit "play"!

travellingpolander
travellingpolander

two weeks???? here in the Philippines, its a 30-day notice. say you want to quit or you want your last day on your current job to end at the 25th of that same month? say that to them before that 25th of the next month-kind'a add even a few days before... most hiring employers even want to have those days shortened...

lfschauer
lfschauer

Although this sounds good, the real world these days is that most companies don't really care about their employees! Most are run by bean counters and only the bottom line counts. Employees are a number, there is no pension, nothing for years of service, oh you say a 401K, please what has the lottery got to do with retirement?? I will take my vacation and not return to work, that's how I will quit!!!

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

When quitting?1?!?!?! You should ask for a reference long before quitting!

uddika
uddika

good article. i liked it. totally true and practically the best way to quit..

reisen55
reisen55

At a major insurance company I was outsourced from, one of my key corporate contacts, a lawyer and a very tech saavy individual, was fired several years back. Given notice, and out the door he goes. 24 hours later, the firm realized they fired the wrong guy!!! He really did have value after all, so they called him up and just asked him to forget about it all and just, oh you know, come back to work. Nope. He said you fired me. Done. So if you want me back, we are now going to discuss a new salary arrangement. He won.

Anita Y. Mathis
Anita Y. Mathis

Its easy to be overjoyed about leaving, if you are. Alternatively, it may have been one of the most difficult decisions the individual has had to make professionally. Be friendly, but don't talk to much and don't tell your peers more than you've told your supervisor and the company in general.

brad
brad

If there are things that you are responsible for that no one else knows how to do or dont know how to do well, offer and then carry thru on a full turnover. If you don't, you are not hurting the company as much as you are hurting your former co-workers. They may also be valuable in the future if you don't alienate them

luvwknd
luvwknd

I've always wondered WHY employers think the employee has to give them a 2 week notice if the employee decides to leave, but if the employer wants to get rid of the employee they don't have to give the employee a notice! What kind of double standard is this? Isn't it a two way street? I mean come on, the employer wouldn't be where they are at without the employees so doesn't the employer owe the employee the same respects as the employee owes the employer? It only seems fair! The pompous arrogance of employers, especially in the USA, has grown to a real pain in the a$$ and to the point I really hate working for any employer!

whopper
whopper

If you are going to autostart a video like the one attached to this post, I'd appreciate it if you would at least put it at the top so I don't have to scroll down to see which of the windows I just opened is playing it, and I can kill it quicker. I'd appreciate it even more if you would not autostart videos at all, ever. Give me the option of playing them if I want to, but don't force them on me.

prateek.narang
prateek.narang

One of my friend's boss asked him to stay back for six months. The notice period in his company is one month. If that's the demand, I am not sure how my friend can leave his current job with positive note. prateek narang http://prateeknarang.blogspot.com

chas_2
chas_2

On the point "If you are pushed to say more, try to stay positive," I think it would be better to say "try to stay professional" rather than positive. I think it's possible - and realistic - to express negatives about the company in professional-sounding terms. It would seem to me that if all you're doing at an exit interview is spouting positives (or superlatives) it's going to raise questions about why you're actually leaving. I think personal integrity requires you to level with your boss - especially if you respect him/her - rather than sugar-coating it. I will concede that launching into a rant-filled tirade would not be the best way to get the point across about why you're taking off unless your personal convictions won't allow otherwise, or unless you honestly feel you can make it, down the line. There can be surprises in this "small world" of I-T (you may cross paths with someone who knows the boss or company you're leaving) but that doesn't always happen. There are differences in management styles, schools of thought on running companies, corporate culture differences, and so on. Just because someone knows the guy/gal you're leaving doesn't mean you won't get a position with that new person. As this article points out, it's more of the "how" than the "what" that matters.

mllott
mllott

It is not uncommon for your boss to scramble to arrange for a sweet counter-offer to entice you to stay. Don't forget why you are leaving. Will a raise solve all of those problems? Why didn't they pay you what you are worth in the first place? Is is possible that they are trying to make you stay just long enough so that they can find your replacement, before sacking you? There's lots of advice about counter-offers on the internet. Do a search on it. Very few people advise accepting. There may be cases where it is mutually beneficial, but generally, beware. Keep in mind that if you have already accepted another position, reneging on it is unethical and in some cases exposes you to legal liability. It is often best to politely thank your superior for the opportunity, but that you have already made a commitment to a new employer.

jck
jck

I don't know that I'd do that. The only references I would use are those of co-workers. I have found that future employers tend to value the opinion of my work more from a former co-worker on projects, than to call and ask a manager about my skill, adaptibility, and habits that they were hardly ever around me to see. Also, I don't know that I'd give notice if my boss made my life "hell". I had a boss we called "The Anti-Christ" at a former job, but even he wasn't bad enough for me to walk out the door without a resignation letter and 2 weeks notice. :^0

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

11) If you can hack it, and your job is secure, RETIRE!

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

When you are asked to perform an illegal act.

lamp19
lamp19

Reading the title, i thought, this would hint/discuss "how" to quit a job., which is wierd. May be you should change the title as "what to do when quitting your job"... nice article anyway.

lfschauer
lfschauer

We get treated like crap, miniscule raises, less benefits, profitability is way up and corporate shareholders get enourmous dividends, I don't have any reason to be civil when I leave this dump!

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

or maybe a Pause button. Either way it worked for me. It was at the bottom of the video screen.

Alces
Alces

I don't even look at postings anymore that says "Video about xyz". Why do I have to use up valuable bandwidth to look at some narcissistic techie talking about stuff that I can way easier read about? And disturb all my coworkers around because the speakers are blasting with some geek stuff they are irritated about? Sure, I can click about another 3 times to get to the "blog entry this is based on", just to give them more page impressions.

WishtobeIT
WishtobeIT

I, too, had a hard time viewing it. Never actually found the "play" button, and when I did, it played for about 10 seconds, cut off and I was never able to retrieve it again.

a.barry
a.barry

If you told your boss your new company, and are told to keep quiet about it, then do so (sometimes they need to know - if its a competitor and you don't tell them you can be in all sorts of trouble). You can drop "give me a call" (on my personal phone/email) hints to people you want, because you certainly cannot do this when you leave the company. And don't brag too much - you'll look like an idiot when you find that the new job is far worse than the old one and you are asking for your old job back.

pippie1949
pippie1949

if you have a situation where your fellow employees appreciate that fact, but your employer always includes the words "anyone can be replaced" in your annual review? The resulting impression is the employer is also aware of your unique status, and doesn't want to increase your salary, or have to show appreciation for your knowledge in any concrete way. I would give my two weeks notice as stated in the "Employee Manual" or "Personnel Manual". Politely, but firmly.

a.berry
a.berry

...at least in the Province of Ontario in Canada, the Employment Standards Act which governs such things has NO requirement for the employee to give notice, ONLY the employer. This may vary in other provinces.

a.barry
a.barry

Even in corporate environments, some computers have built-in speakers. Sudden unexpected sound is very annoying for co-workers.

a.barry
a.barry

Sometimes a counter-offer is the only way to get a raise. After all, there's company-wide max on raises (one year, the percent max was well below the US blood-alcohol limit) and the sweet deal gets you more than you would get otherwise. Also, they may counter with a lateral move - less doing what you don't like (but are obviously good at) and more doing what you do like. Be warned - by accepting a counter-offer you are crying wolf. It probably won't work the next time. Meanwhile you have burned the other company, and any head-hunters that were involved in getting you the offer.

Beoweolf
Beoweolf

I agree, a counter offer is laden with all manner of repercussions - none good. Who is to say that 3, 4 or 6 months later, after they have the luxury of a thorough search to find a replacement, have a change of heart, or in a moment of spite - they don't fire you anyway? If you did your due diligence in the first place, before looking outside, you should have already done an evaluation of your prospects in your current company. Obviously, in a measured, deliberate evaluation - you saw no future. So the question is ?What changed at the last minute??. If you used the new job as a "bluff?, both companies will resent your change of heart at the last moment. I would never say never, but I definitely would have very favorable contract written up before I would ever think about taking a counter-offer...including every "golden parachute" perk I could think of, if the offer is genuine they should be willing; if not, then take the new position and don't look back.

chas_2
chas_2

Agreed. Were I leave my current employer for another one I doubt a counter-offer, regardless of how generous, would incline me to stay. For openers, it would tip my hand that I could be "bought" back, which would not look good - I still believe it's about respect. I would also welcome an opportunity to make a fresh start, work with new people, and make my former employer contemplate what they did wrong. If employers don't ever "hurt" when an employee leaves, they have no incentive to change their ways.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Counter-offers tend to result in more work and responsibility that you can't handle. Why? It's obvious. The reason you put in your resignation is because you got a better offer somewhere else. The fact that you weren't given a raise at your current employer is because they couldn't see your value in the first place. So when they give you that bigger salary, they're going to expect you to "earn it" as if you haven't been doing that before. It's best to just part ways.

mllott
mllott

The company where I work has issued a policy that no one is to provide a reference to former employees in such a way that links them to the company. Personal references are fine, but you cannot identify your company. The legal staff claims that this is a liability for the company, presumably opening them up for libel and other nasty tort cases. What really hurts is that the company has already made one of the largest layoffs in their 100-year history, and is preparing for an even larger layoff.

mark.giblin
mark.giblin

When you are being pestered or sexually harassed or raped as well as being mentally abused or physically abused by an employer or co-workers or both. When your dead. Or if you win the lottery or similar.

luvwknd
luvwknd

I agree 100% - employers don't respect their employees so why should employees respect the employer? I say FU to the employer, if they are that bad, under NO circumstance would anybody want to ever return anyway!

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

We had a guy walk out here without giving any notice earlier this week. While management is ticked, the employees are even more pissed. Who do you think is going to pick up the slack? A couple of folks here are hoping that five or ten years down the road the guy that left with no notice is looking for a job where they work. Revenge is sweet.

a.barry
a.barry

Had I been GIVEN two weeks at my last job, I would have made a point of making sure everyone else was up to speed, and every thing I was working on was packaged up for transition. I was a little shocked that I was not given the rest of the day to check stuff in, send emails, and send a detailed status at the end - the sort of thing I'd do when going on vacation. In the end, I sent a detailed email from home (done from memory) detailing my projects, the state (abandoned, non-working, un-tested, ready) of everything that I didn't have checked in. I guess my boss was very surprised by this, and my team were grateful.

luvwknd
luvwknd

Do you and your colleagues know ALL the details between this employee and management? I didn't think so! Take a chill pill and get back to work!

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

You must be in a town with a population of 10,000. I work in Houston, TX, pop. 4.5 million. There is a slim chance in HELL I will ever see or work with anyone I have ever worked with or for in the past. With my average job 3-5 years I will change jobs at the most 4 times in my life not to mention I would relocate for the right job. I have heard that we are all separated by 6 ppl but the odds that I find some person that I used to work with/for without trying is VERY unlikely. This would only happen in a small town where "everyone knows your name" in large cities and with the potential to move to another large city within 4 hrs drive your statement is proposterous. In Texas it is AT WILL, Thus you leave your job and use the TWO WEEKS vacation WHILE WORKING at your new job. TO HELL with employers wanted some sort of civility when you quit. I have seen many people canned within hours notice so why should an employee give more than that. When I quit I leave. I am not stupid, I have another job and most employers call only the last job you are at, and if you are currently employeed that only call to verify employment. And LEGALLY (although that doesn't carry muh weight) potential employers are only to call past employers for employment verification, of course the manager can say nasty things. Again it doesn't matter, I will never give two weeks since employers are more than happy to give you one hour.

jck
jck

But if the shop you work at has work so pressed and tight that the loss of one head can't be made up within your team without causing health problems or something... I'd say you have a management issue where you're understaffed, over-worked, under-budgeted, having projects scheduled poorly...or...all of the above. I worked at a small company once that we had 3-4 developers writing an entire custom financial system. We lost a guy, and the other 3 picked up the slack and without a big headache. Just a thought. Good project management includes one thing: slip time. Because, you always want to try and accomodate for what you think won't and pray won't happen within the scope of your development.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

By quitting without notice, you treat your fellow employees with the same contempt the company is showing them.

Alces
Alces

I don't agree with not being civil, you should still maintain a professional attitude, of course. But say I already have a new job offer and make significantly more dough, say 50%. Staying another two weeks I would leave money on the table. That's one benefit to consider in the equation, together with all the drawbacks of not giving notice, of course.

jck
jck

Last job I was at, the manager was always hawking over us devs, leaving decisions unmade until the last minute, etc. We were all promised "bonuses" for doing well, but never put in the position that we could achieve them. But, I did still manage to write a resignation letter when I left. I made sure I was giving 2 weeks notice, then my boss walked me out. Of course since I wrote that letter and kept a copy, he realized he owed me 2 more weeks pay since he voluntarily released me from staying the 2 weeks. It was a nice 2 week paid vacation. :) Didn't make up though for the ar$ehole keeping me from taking a vacation and seeing a friend who ended up dying the next month. I'll never forgive the guy for that. And hence, I'll never ask the guy for a reference.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

It's the limited talent pool. I've worked in multiple locations between New York City and Philadelphia, and every few years I run across people that I've worked with before.

snideley59
snideley59

If one of us gets sick, gets a hair across his behind and quits or even wins the lottery, can we meet the deadline with who is left? Some managers don't get the concept. Wiggle room lets you wiggle out from underneath with minimal impact. And, if none of the former occur, you get to deliver the project early and under budget so that some weenie can change the spec :-)

snideley59
snideley59

If you tell your new employer that you need to give 1 month or 6 weeks notice at your current position to transfer skills to your new replacement, they should be more inclined to believe that you would treat them the same. If the new employer doesn't respect your desire to transfer in an orderly fashion, perhaps they will terminate your new job just as rapidly as they expected you to leave your old one.

Beoweolf
Beoweolf

When interviewing for a position, one of the 1st questions asked is whethre you are currently working, do you mind if we contact your current employer for references, etc. The question of when you can start should also be addressed. That is the time to justity your desire to provide notice to current employer. If they suggest that they need you to start sooner than that, how can they hold that against you? All you need to do is explain that I need to inform my present employer first, I'll get back to you if there is any difficulty in giving less than customary notice. Any employer worth his title will not hold you back from a seek a better job. At best, he may ask if you could work on a weekend to come in and clean up left over work. the key is to negotiate start date as well as how soon you can leave the old job. Done correctly, you can leave on a professional note, even though the former employer is not joyous, he can at least know that you sought his approval - same with the new company.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"He left his last job without warning. Will he do the same to us?"

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