How To Quit Your Job the Right Way

Dear HRart Worker,

The Great Resignation has been a popular topic as employers scramble to figure out how to keep their workforces intact. However, today I’d like to tackle the other side of this movement and talk about employee separation, a subject that over the last few months I have received several questions about. Therefore, I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you considerations you should have when announcing your departure. 

Throughout this last year, I have been asked numerous times about how to quit your job. The greatest concern these individuals have is wanting to do it the “right” way. I have come to recognize that the individuals inquiring also possess some level of fear about informing their employer that they no longer want to work there. 

First off, there should be nothing to fear when presenting your resignation. Resigning from employment is an expected possible action, just like hiring and firing. Therefore despite your supervisor’s possible disappointment in the news, they have managed resignations before. It comes with the territory of having employees.

Most of the time the nerves you are experiencing are due to fear related to letting down those you’ve worked with during your tenure. If you cared at all about the work you did then you have emotional ties to the company and people that you will leave behind. Even in challenging work environments that have toxic cultures we become attached, making it hard to simply walk away. 

Now that we’ve established your anxiety about resigning as normal, let’s cover the expected formalities. It is typical to present your employer with a letter of resignation that informs them of your intention to end employment as well as your expected final day of work. How much notice you give technically depends on your company’s policy and should be outlined in your employment contract or handbook. If no specifics are given, it is customary to give a two-week notice. Working your notice period is necessary if you expect to leave on good terms with your employer. 

It is always possible that your employer will choose to expect your resignation effective immediately and request that you not work your notice period. It is also customary for your employer to inquire about your exact reason for leaving, this may be done in a formal exit interview or a casual follow-up discussion. If you feel comfortable, it is always beneficial to be honest with your employer about the reasons you are leaving. 

Times right now in the working world are hard all around. People are burning out and leaving employment to take care of themselves. Organizations are scrambling because they don’t have the people to continue operations. It’s safe to say that everyone is under some sort of stress, so when it comes to matters regarding separating employment… try not to take it personally. The reason for this ending, regardless if it is voluntary or involuntary, was more than likely a decision that didn’t come lightly.

Take care of yourself and well wishes for a smooth transition.


Samm (she/her/hers) 

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