Thinking about leaving your job and actually quitting are two completely different things. If you’re certain about quitting, then you need to tell your boss you’re quitting — it’s a huge step that solidifies your decision, so you need to do it correctly.
Even if you absolutely hate your current job, you don’t want to tell your boss off before you go. You want to keep things professional, always.
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If you don’t know how to approach your resignation notice or just need some advice, take a look at the tips we’ve compiled below for how to tell your boss you’re quitting.
Table of Contents
- Advice for How to Tell Your Boss You’re Quitting
- An Opportunity To Reflect
Whether you need help formulating how to tell your boss you’re quitting or need to know how to handle any aftermath, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more.
Advice for How to Tell Your Boss You’re Quitting
Preparing yourself for how to tell your boss you’re quitting doesn’t have to stress you out if you take all of the necessary steps into consideration.
To help you formulate your speech and leave your boss wishing you’d stay, read below for our advice.
If You Have Another Job Lined Up
If you plan to quit your current job because you have another position lined up, you’ll want to give yourself and the company you currently work for time to adjust and compensate for your impending absence.
In order to do this, it would be best to tell your boss that you’re quitting with a two weeks notice along with a letter of resignation stating your two-week notice.
Kristal Thomas, owner and CEO of Express Employment Professionals says, “Unless your health and safety are at risk, never just walk off of a job with no notice. Often I see employees that get upset about a situation and walk off of a job that they loved for fear of conflict.
If they had a conversation with their supervisor it could have been resolved and they might even wind up more engaged in their job and earn the respect of their manager.”
Giving your boss two weeks’ notice is common courtesy; it gives them enough time to assess the situation and appropriately replace you within an adequate time frame.
The space between your current job and your new one also gives you time to maintain an income before leaving and gives you time to get ready for the change.
Not to mention, giving ample notice of your departure is a lot more polite than leaving abruptly during a work week, especially if you work a job that has a high-demand or has limited staff.
If You Don’t Have Another Job Lined Up
Just because you plan to quit your job doesn’t mean you have to have a plan-b occupation in your pocket. If your current job isn’t right for you and you want to leave, that’s ok. No one’s stopping you from telling your boss the bad news.
However, it might be smart to have another plan in place, or at least look for another job before you hand in your two-week notice.
Otherwise, you may want to stick it out at your job a little bit longer. Having a job lined up makes for an easy-out and will help you maintain an income. It will also provide an explanation for why you plan to leave rather than an “I just don’t like it here” explanation.
That said, not having another career choice lined up is still ok. When you have to tell your boss you quit, think it through beforehand with a clear, polite explanation as to why you need to quit. While you don’t have to go into great detail as to why you’re quitting, your boss will want an explanation of some sort, and you want that explanation to be a good one.
First and foremost, no matter the reason you plan to quit, you need to tell your boss politely. Even if you absolutely despise your current job, nothing displays character like a courteous departure. Plus, some jobs in the future may ask for references from previous employers. If you burn the bridge with your current job, you dissolve any potential reference there.
Some employers also keep records of exit-interviews. While you’ll want to express honesty during your exit interview, you want to keep it courteous and polite to show that you respect the business in case a new employer reaches out to learn more about your character and time in the position.
In fact, Jodi Brandstetter who is an author and Chief Talent Strategist of Lean Effective Talent Strategies recommends that to leave your job with dignity you will want to:
- Ensure that you provide everything about your role or any outstanding items to your manager.
- Stay focus until your last day. It can be hard but it will help the company with the transition.
- Thank everyone before you leave.
Offer Your Assistance
Taking the politeness factor a step further when you tell your boss you’re quitting, you can extend your assistance.
For example, after letting your boss know about your change, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help with the transition, such as recommendations for replacements or a time frame that works best for them.
Extending your kindness and assistance shows that you respect your boss and the company and don’t want to leave them in the dust while you move onto bigger and better things.
An employer is more likely to remember you if you take this extra-mile in assistance rather than who turns in two weeks’ notice letter and hopes for the best.
Set-Up an In-Person Meeting
While texting and email are much easier, setting up an in-person meeting with your boss to tell them you’re quitting is far more professional and reflective of your character as a kind, respectful individual.
Reach out to your boss and ask what time works best for them; you want them to feel comfortable and relaxed rather than ambushed during a shift with a blunt resignation statement or email. With an in-person meeting, you not only come off as professional and courteous, but that you value your employer’s time.
However, if you must resign via email remember:
“Regardless of the circumstances of your departure is that you are terminating a professional relationship, so taking the high road and exiting respectfully is always your best course of options. It is especially important to keep this in mind if you are giving your notice via email, as this could potentially be used against you during future applications and reference checks if your former employer feels insulted or offended by your interaction.”
– Rolf Bax, Chief Human Resources Officer at Resume.io
Back to in-person meeting – it will also open up conversation. During this time, you can express your gratitude for the opportunity your employer gave you and welcome any pertinent questions that he/she might have for you.
Again Kristal Thomas gave us some sound advice, “Keep it accountable! Do a little bit of preparation and jot down the main reason this isn’t a right fit for you and stick to only that. This will help you keep the emotion and blame from taking over and allow for a peaceful exit and a great reference resource.”
Ultimately, the face-to-face meeting is all around your best option for leaving a good impression and for coherently expressing your deadline in a professional manner.
Prepare Yourself for Questions
When you tell your boss you’re quitting, it may not be a no-questions-asked scenario, so you need to prepare yourself for the possible onslaught of questions or propositions.
Your boss may ask what they need to do on their end to make you stay, or might question you as to why you want to leave; was it something they did to prompt your departure.
Instead of facing panic as it arises, prepare yourself for any potential questions or concerns your boss may ask. That way, you’ll have an appropriate and well-thought-out response at the ready.
Preparation also shows that you didn’t think to quit as a spur of the moment kind of thing but that you’ve put thought into the decision
As mentioned above, you want to make sure that you thank your employer for the opportunity they gave you and everything you’ve learned from them in the course of your employment.
Also, you’ve more than likely acquired more skills or at least honed your existing abilities which makes you more marketable to future employers.
Your current boss is the reason behind your newly attuned capabilities, and they deserve thanks for that. In fact, they may be the reason you were able to advance to a new job which is why you’re leaving.
It would be best to thank your boss both in person and in your resignation letter, but either/or will work as well as long as you remember to thank them.
Not only does it show your gratitude and respect for your boss, it shows that you want to leave on good terms and that you appreciate having been able to work for the company.
Hand-in an Official Resignation Letter
It’s one thing to tell your boss you’re quitting, it’s another to turn in the official notice. This is essential in solidifying your departure and illustrates clearly that you intend to leave. Just as you would sign a contract when buying a house, you want to turn in a resignation letter to officially quit your job.
It’s unlikely to happen, but an employer may not take you at your word that you plan to leave by a certain date. A letter of resignation gives your employer an official and credible word that elucidates your plan.
The resignation letter is also your last source to leave a good impression. It’s here that you not only leave an end-date to your employment, but further illustrate your gratitude and your ability to assist in the transitioning process.
Plus, people like getting letters. It’s a personal touch that amplifies your sentiments for the job, and employers will appreciate that.
An Opportunity To Reflect
Finally, see this end or this end and new beginning as an opportunity to reflect. Tim Toterhi is a TEDx speaker, career coach, is Project Management Professional certified, and the founder of Plotline Leadership, a company that helps people craft their success stories – and his words are golden:
“Review your successes: Create a list of what you’ve accomplished during your tenure. Reviewing wins will not only help you ace interviews, it will provide indicators as to performances you’d like to repeat and work you’d like to avoid in the future.”
“Take stock of what you need to learn. Transitions are an ideal time to reflect on your strengths, weakness, and how you can bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Sometimes you can put in place a thoughtful “work around” and leverage your strengths. Other times, you’ll need to hit the books and enhance your knowledge or skillset. Be honest about which is right and then focus some of your remaining time working on those goals.”
How do I quit nicely?
Definitely be polite when you tell your boss or employer – it will benefit your reputation and possibly pave the way for future new opportunities.
What form of communication should I use to quit?
Setting up an in-person meeting is always the best way – it’s more professional and respectful than via email, phone, or text. If you’re hardly in the office use the next best thing – Zoom for most workplaces.
How should I prepare for the resignation meeting?
Write a list of past work situations you’re grateful for. These could include opportunities, support, or time off when you needed it.
Also, think about how you might help so there is a smooth transition from you to your successor. Finally, don’t forget to prepare your answers for any potential questions your boss may have at your meeting.