A reader writes:
I love my job. I have been there for over 2 years and going into my 3rd year they were forced to cut my hours by nearly 40%, thus cutting my pay by nearly 40%. I would like to quit my job to stay home and babysit my adorable niece and nephew. My sister will pay me enough to make up for the 40% loss and I get to play with those babies.
Back to “I love my job.” I work with kids at an elementary school. When the district cut back my hours my boss was sympathetic to me and that situation. I think he will be very kind and understanding and even happy for me. My only question is, what exactly do I say to him when I ask to see him. Do I say “I need to quit,” “I’m giving my notice,” I don’t know what phrase to use. Do I need a letter of resignation? How much time do I need to give them?
Also, I will be crying. Remember I love my job. I also love the people I work with – they have become my best friends! I do not want to cry. How can I control my emotions?
Say something like this: “I think you know that I really love my job here. But I’m unable to make it work with my hours cut this much, and so after a lot of thought, I’ve decided that I need to move on. I’d like to give notice that my last day will be ___.”
As for how much notice to give, that’s up to you. You want to give a minimum of two weeks, because that’s considered the professional standard, but some people give longer than that, depending on the norms in their workplace and the relationship they have with their boss.
And if you’re flexible about when your last day will be, say that. Tell your boss that you have flexibility but would like your last day to be sometime between __ and __, and ask what would make life easiest on her side.
You don’t need a written letter of resignation, unless they ask you for one. (Resignation letters are just a formality, and many people don’t use them at all. They’re really just there to document that you did in fact resign your job in case you later sue, or if you file for unemployment claiming you were laid off, or whatever.)
As for controlling your emotions, well, you can try remembering that you feel good about this decision, that leaving jobs is a normal part of life, and that you’re leaving on good terms. But you may cry anyway — people do. It’s not a disaster if you do. And it’s nice to have had a job that you enjoyed enough to cry when you leave — be glad you feel that way, rather than wanting to high-five your coworkers.