How To Quit Your Job The Right Way

There are lots of creative ways to unemploy yourself. Cakes decorated with “this is my two weeks notice…” or simply “I QUIT” written in icing seem to be quite popular.

I’ve always liked the idea of sending a sympathy card to announce your impending loss to a business.

I saw a story about one guy who used the period up to his departure to hide pictures of himself in secret places around the office. 2 years later, staff were still finding them.

Quitting a job’s at best cathartic, at worst horrible, and in reality kind of dull. 

And these are the main reasons Recruiters know they’re ready to make the leap:

1) They can tell you the time without checking

2) The business has lost it’s ambition

3) There’s a revolving door

4) A bad apple

5) A glass ceiling

6) People simply change

So I went digging round the internet to find a few livelier ways of saying “I don’t want to work here anymore”. Because if you’ve got to do it, you might as well do it well.

Here are some rather rogue resignations I found.

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On the 7th November 2017, a Twitter employee shut down Donald Trump’s account on their last day.

In an American news channel’s segment on the Alaska Cannabis Club, reporter Charlo Greene announces to camera that she’s actually the club’s owner before quitting live on air.

Various finance people love writing. Open. Letters.

Flight Attendant Steve Slater went on an expletive-filled rant before grabbing a handful of beers and deploying the inflatable slide to leave his job behind.

And Joey DeFrancesco’s fanfare resignation from his job at a hotel’s been watched over 6,686,000 times on YouTube:

Quitting Correctly

A lot of these are only well known because they’ve circulated widely on the internet. If you do need to quit your job, I doubt online virality’s the reaction you’re after.

So how can you leave a positive lasting impression while you’re cutting ties?

Preparing what to say in advance is useful whether you’ll be giving your notice face to face or by email. Writing down a plan makes it easier to stick to and every business will ask for it in writing eventually.

Follow this structure and you’ll be sorted:

0) The Subject

“Got five minutes?” is universal code for ‘Meet me in the boardroom, I’m quitting’ if you’re delivering the news face to face.

Any time I’ve sent my resignation by email I’ve just used my full name, the word ‘resignation’ and the date as the subject line.

Mainly because it’s clear.

But it also makes it easier to search for later on.

There are more tactful ways of phrasing it, for those you’ve built good relationships with over the years. Although I’ve also seen employees drop calendar invites titled “My Future With The Company” which honestly would make me feel a bit sick.

Bear in mind there’ll rarely be a good time for you to drop your resignation. Your boss is always busy, but if you’ve got visibility over their schedule, aim for the best time possible.

Or if you can wait, in time for your review.

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1) Start with Thank You

Committing your resignation to words can be daunting. But once it’s out, it’s out and everyone’s better for it.

Don’t let the pressure get to you. Start with a bit of gratitude for the time you’ve spent with the company to date.

If your first sentence under Dear John, is:

“Thanks so much for the opportunity and support you’ve given me over the past X years” you’re starting things on a positive note and setting the tone for what’s to come.

But do so succinctly.

2) Be up front

Neither party should want this to go on any longer than it needs to. And neutral wording takes the emotion out of what can be a heavy discussion. If you’re looking for a way to word it, just say:

“I hereby tender my resignation with immediate effect. As per my contracted notice, my last day in the office will be…”

It goes without saying, but double-check your contract to see how long your notice period is. Be clear about the date, but remember the ability to be flexible is often appreciated.

3) Explain your decision

Your parting thoughts on the company are best saved for the exit interview. And if there isn’t one, that’s what Glassdoor’s for.

Don’t dwell on your reasons for leaving. Your employer deserves to know why you’re off to pastures new but now’s not the time to raise every gripe you’ve ever had.

Open up and be clear about your reasons for the sake of clarity. But focusing on the new direction your career’s taking establishes the interaction as a resignation, not a negotiation, and takes any followup discussion away from the possibility of counter offers.

4) Focus on the positives

If you’re going to a place you’ll be better paid, or your new boss lets you work from home – say so. It’s useful for your employer to know. And if you ran a business, you’d want to understand why people were leaving as well. But keep this light too.

Then, before you wrap up, make a point of mentioning the things you’ve enjoyed or benefited from during your tenure. That could be some great incentives, big clients won, legendary deals done or just good mates you’ve made over the years.

Do that and you’ll have given your notice clearly, concisely and in the right way: positively.

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Good housekeeping, post-resignation

As well as wrapping up any current projects, you’ll probably need to put together a handover document to streamline your replacement’s first weeks in your old role.

Seek to answer: what would have helped me, when I took this desk on?

While the tendency’s to close everything in your pipeline and then coast until your last day, the best way to quit your job’s to keep smashing it until the bitter end. Keep your activity levels up and you’ll be remembered as a champion, time will go faster, and it can’t be said that you didn’t work your socks off.

It’ll also mean references are forthcoming, and will likely be positive.

Perhaps one of the best reasons not to burn any bridges. Especially in an industry where knowing who’s who carries so much weight.

You can offer to give some in exchange or even write yours yourself for approval. LinkedIn allows you to set the visibility of recommendations to Only You, Your Network or Public, making it a good idea to get them written before you’ve left – when the motivation to do so’s arguably at its peak – and reveal them to your network at a future date.

If any of the suggestions on this list have struck you as tame, I’d suggest reading Ed Hunter’s interpretation of The Best Way to Quit Your Job.

And if you’re going to quit, you should do the whole thing properly. Read How To Resign On Your Own Terms for a step by step guide.

Completed all of the above but need a snazzy new job? I’ve got you… Click here.