all your questions about resigning, answered

Is the very public resignation letter from a Goldman Sachs executive director in the New York Times this week making you wonder about how to pull off your own (hopefully less scathing) resignation when the time comes?

Assuming you’re not planning to enlist a national media outlet in your departure, what do you say when you quit your job? Do you put it in writing or talk with your manager face-to-face? What if you can’t give two weeks notice?  Answers below.

What should you say when you quit your job?

First, talk to your boss in person. This isn’t a message to send by email or by leaving a letter in your manager’s in-box. Ask for a meeting, and tell your boss face-to-face that you’re moving on. Say something like this:  ”I think you know that I’ve really loved working here. But after a lot of thought, I’ve made the difficult decision to move on, and my last day will be ___.”

Do you need to write a formal resignation letter?

You don’t generally need a written letter unless your employer asks you for one. Resignation letters are 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.

If you are asked for a letter, it can be very short – just a statement that you’re resigning and the date that resignation is effective, and perhaps a sentence to soften it. So it might read something like this: “After three years at XYZ Company, I’ve made the difficult decision to move on, and March 31 will be my last day. I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here, wish the organization every success, and stand ready to help make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Do you have to explain why you’re quitting?

While you’re certainly not required to explain why you’re leaving, it’s probably going to be a little awkward if you don’t. After all, when someone resigns, at some point most managers (and coworkers) will ask, “So what will you be doing next?” And because it’s such a normal question to ask and such normal information to share, a refusal will probably come off as odd and a bit chilly. And if you end on a chilly note, that’s going to be the most recent memory of you in your boss’s mind when she’s called for a reference at some point in the future. You don’t want that!

What if you can’t give two weeks notice? 

If at all possible, you really should give at least two weeks notice, because otherwise you risk burning bridges and tarnishing your reputation. However, if your circumstances just don’t allow that, talk to your boss and explain your situation. If she won’t budge on expecting two weeks and you really can’t give it without significant hardship, all you can do is be sincerely apologetic and explain why you can’t. Sounding mortified is helpful here.

What if your employer usually has people leave immediately the day they give notice?

If your employer has a policy of telling people to leave the same day that they give notice, then it’s reasonable to wait to give your notice until you’re ready for it to be your last day.

There are some employers who do have a legitimate business need to have resigning employees leave immediately (for instance, those worried about trade secrets), but aside from those exceptions, smart managers will create an atmosphere where good employees are welcome to work out their notice periods … since that ensures that employees will continue to give them that notice!

What if you need to give notice but your boss is on vacation?  

If your boss is away, it’s fine to give your notice to someone else — HR or, if you don’t have an HR department, your boss’ boss. It’s less than ideal, but people will understand why you wanted to alert them right away and not wait – and most of them will appreciate it.

I originally published this at Intuit Quickbase’s blog.

{ 152 comments… read them below }

  1. Erik*

    I resigned from a previous job over the phone. The problem is I had to, as my boss had traveled to a customer site and I didn’t know about it until she was there.

    I did write up an official email and synced up with her when she returned. Thankfully she understood the situation and handled it nicely.

  2. Ceep*

    Just a comment about the two weeks notice…check to see what your employment contract says (if you have one!). Some companies may hold you to the contract, so before making any promises to your new job, check what your contractual obligations are to your old job (disclosure, I work for a Canadian company, it is possible US law differs in this regard)

      1. Anonymous*

        I have a contract and my company wants to terminate it because i was medically decleared not to work shifts can they do that

    1. ARM2008*

      Employment agreement with the contract agency I’m working for:
      8. This is employment at will, either party can terminate the agreement at any time, etc, etc
      9. Employee agrees to give 2 weeks written notice if they resign….

      The employee only agrees to this condition if the company agrees to provide employee with the same consideration. No? Then we can cross that one right out.

      I have always given 2 wks or more notice, and will most likely do so with this job, but I’m not going to sign a one-sided agreement to it.

    2. SAN*

      Most Canadian provinces (maybe all) are very different than US. A reasonable notice period exists requirements going both ways – although employers tend to get sticky only in fairly rare circumstances just from a practicality standpoint. Although a contract may alter things to a degree – assuming it is valid.

      Many non-exec labour contracts have non-valid clauses in them (non-compete clauses are a very normal example), and some are just invalid period as the “real” employment contract (from a court’s standpoint) has moved far away from what was originally signed. This can easily happen if you are at a company awhile and have had significant changes to your position/location/salary/ etc… without a full blown contract being redone for every major change.

  3. Anonymous*

    I have always wanted to just say, “Take this job and shove it!” and then slam the door and squeal my tires on my way out of the parking lot :-)

    It’ll never happen. I’ve got bills to pay and I can’t afford to burn bridges.

  4. Sandy*

    I hate to admit it, but I did quit a horrible food service job in high school by going in and talking to my manager and telling him I couldn’t work there anymore. He asked me starting when and I looked at my watch and said ‘Right now’, then I left.
    I felt bad that I left them in the lurch for the rest of my shifts that week, but it was not a positive work enivornment (fairly sexist owners that would have me scrubbing the toilet when the cleaning lady didn’t show up because I was the only other woman in the building, as well as calling me ‘Wench’ or ‘Woman’ instead of my name)

    1. Kimberlee*

      One of my favorite stories is from my older sister, who quit her fast food job by simply going on lunch and not returning. It took them surprisingly long to start calling her once they noticed she’d not returned.

      The remarkable thing is, she was re-hired. Maybe a year later. Then quit again with no notice.

      Then they hired ME, a couple years later, because they had such fond memories of her. :)

      1. Jamie*

        That’s funny. I expect that happens a lot in positions with a lot of turnover so it wasn’t held against her?

        I was fired without notice once. When I was 18 I had a part time job at a gourmet popcorn place and worked a week. Called to check on schedule, as required and was told I wasnt on the schedule for the week. After a couple of weeks of this I was told I didn’t work there anymore because they hired someone who didn’t burn every single batch.

        I was so relieved, because I couldn’t have been worse at any job if you paid me to fail, but it would have been nice to be told I was fired instead of “I just assumed you’d figure it out when you weren’t on the schedule.”

        Talk about crappy management. A couple of decades later I still burn most things I cook, but my career has recovered nicely.

  5. Z*

    I actually have a resigning question that I’ve wanted to ask. When I resigned my last post, after I told my manager, I said that I’d tell her manager and my co-worker next, then the rest of the office. My manager said that no, she would be telling them. Is this normal? I feel like since I’m the one who’s leaving, I should be the one to tell people, particularly people above me in the hierarchy. Or is it usual for the supervisor to be the one to tell the higher-ups?
    (This was my first post-education job and thus the only post I’ve resigned, so while it surprised me at the time, it won’t shock me to learn now that it’s normal.)

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oooh, great question and exactly the type of thing that people wonder about. It’s not odd that she wants to be the one to talk to her boss and others above her, probably because she wants to assure them that she has a plan for handling the vacancy and so forth. However, it’s pretty weird that you wouldn’t be allowed to tell your coworkers yourself. Are you sure you can’t tell them once she’s had a chance to tell higher-ups?

      1. Z*

        Well, this was several months ago, when I left my previous post. She brought my closest co-worker (i.e., the other person she supervised and the one with whom I worked most often) in to a meeting with me to tell her. I was allowed to tell people in other areas of the department (outside my own hierarchy) myself.

  6. karen*

    I had a colleague once bring in a cake with ‘I quit’ written out in candy on the top.

    For your boss notifying others – when I gave notice my boss asked me to send her a short email with my last day and a few details about my next move (new position, company name – moving to a new industry). She wove that information in to a staff-wide email letting everyone else know the news. It worked well.

  7. Anon*

    Sometimes my job lets people work out their 2 weeks and sometimes it doesn’t. I always encourage anyone who’s thinking of quitting to make sure they’re ready to leave that day. Here’s how it seems to break down: Are you in management? You can work your 2 weeks. Are you especially wel-liked by management? You can work your 2 weeks. Are you just a regular employee, or not well-liked? Please clean out your desk under management supervision, good luck in your future endeavors.

    It seems to be more of a way to gauge how popular that person is/was with management rather than any business related reason.

    1. Jamie*

      I’ve worked for companies where you knew if you gave two weeks you’d better have a box ready to leave immediately. As Alison says, they have no one to blame but themselves when no one gave notice.

      It can also depend on the sensitivity of the position and the circumstances of the resignation. Positions in IT and accounting (coincidentally, both my areas) are often handled differently due to the level of access and huge risk that evens disgruntled employee can pose.

      Some companies just want you out because they want to control the spin internally. God forbid the remaining employees have a chance to hear that there may be other opportunities out there.

    2. JT*

      Where I work (and have worked for more than a decade, no one has ever been asked to leave immediately, and I don’t think anyone has left less than two weeks after giving notice. The longest time period has been more than two months.

      (Oh, except for one guy who left due to being caught embezzling at a previous job)

      I know this may be typical, but want to point out there are places like this.

  8. Eric*

    Is there a reason you recomend talking to HR over your boss’s boss when your boss is unavalible? This would seem strange to me.

  9. Sandrine*

    Something weird happened at my job about someone leaving/quitting, so I’ll add something.

    If you “give notice” or accept it (whether you’re fired or not doesn’t matter in this case) , as in it-should-be-X-time-but-leave-now-please, don’t come back the next day and, when your former supervisor expresses surprise, say you came back because “you need the money” .

      1. Sandrine*

        He just got up, and they went somewhere private with the general manager, and after that I’ll just assume the guy left even though I think someone shouted in anger at some point. I have to admit I wouldn’t even dream of doing something like that myself.

        (I applied for a promotion so I’d better keep my behind in check haha)

        This company does weird things to people, someone apparently went and destroyed company property when he heard the company wouldn’t keep him a few months ago.

  10. Serial Quitter*

    When I resigned in the past to go to an in-town competitor, I got the perp walk out the door, but I expected it, because they start worrying about poaching clients, etc. The old companypaid me for those two weeks, even though I didn’t work, since they chose to not have me work then. (New firm also expected this, and had me start on Monday, so I got double pay for two weeks. Yes! (I should have taken the time off, but it was a busy time of year.)

    If your employer unexpectedly walks you out when you expected to work those two weeks, and your new employer can’t/won’t have you start for two weeks, consider filing for unemployment. Especially if you need the money (or are semi-interested in giving them a little financial pain in terms of their unemployment insurance going up).

    If you told them on February 14th that you intended to resign with an effective date of February 28th, and they walked you out , you didn’t quit on the 14th. They terminated you on the 14th. At least that’s how some state unemployment offices see it, including some in generally employer-friendly states. A friend of mine had this happen in Georgia, where employers usually can do no wrong, according to the system there.

    It wasn’t a lot of money to my friend – one week of pay at Georgia’s not-large unemployment payout after a one week waiting period, but it increased the former employer’s unemployment insurance. And it is insurance, even if they call it a tax, because the more employees that are let go, the higher your rates, just like getting into at-fault accidents increases your car insurance. All because his old company wanted to be pissy rather than let him work those two weeks. He was going into something completely different with less travel, and they wanted to be jerks about it.

  11. Anonymouse*

    I once gave a colleague a Goodbye Party (she had previously worked for me, but didn’t report to me at the time). I got a bouquet of daffodils, a modest cake that said “Good Luck !”, and passed around a card for people to sign if they wanted to. We gathered briefly and shared the cake in the conference room. This is the atmosphere I’d always worked in, my entire life. It never occurred to me to do anything different.

    I was formally reprimanded by my manager, at the the request of the Uppity-Ups because “We don’t celebrate people leaving us.” I could tell he (my mgr, who was a nice man) was appalled at having to say this to me, but he did his job. I was gob-smacked and left myself not too long afterwards.

    The colleague and I have remained friends and I occasionally mentor her through challenging situations to this day.

  12. Anonymous*

    Personally, I think in any type of office job it is in your absolute best interest to give an actual resignation letter. If for whatever reason your next job doesn’t work out, the unemployment department of most states will ask about your previous job (the one you resigned from) and will want proof that you did indeed resign.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Hmmm, usually the letter of resignation benefits the employer — since if you resigned, you can’t generally collect unemployment (with a few narrow exceptions).

  13. Social Services*

    I had an employee give her notice via email. She was unwilling to tell me or my Executive Director were she was going to be working. We found out via other staff that the had taken a job with a competitor. During her last week she started texting the newer employees false information about the company. Needless to say I am very happy she has moved on and have no plans to provide future positive references!

  14. EJ*

    I resigned and gave 2 months notice as I knew that the office was going to get very hectic with the season. I think the 2-weeks thing, while a good standard length for giving notice, should be open for interpretation depending on the situation. I loved my boss and colleagues (albeit not the job) so I wanted the transition to be as effortless as possible for everyone involved. I also handed in a very formal letter after speaking with my supervisor face-to-face. I had a goodbye party with the whole company and then a more intimate office lunch the day after my last day. Our office was very tight-knit.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I always think that the amount of notice people generally give in an office is a good barometer of the culture. I used to routinely get months of notice from people, and it was lovely. (Then I quit and went to work for myself, and now no one ever gives me notice and it’s even better.)

  15. trying to be professional*

    I have been at this company for 11 months and I work with 3 others in my department of a 10 dept. company. The dept. head is a 72 yr old bully who cant grasp how to use a computer. She forgets things 5-10 min after she does something. She works part time and when she is at work makes simple days into nightmares. She has lost all social intraction graces. Her people skills are aweful. She spends her mornings emailing friends and internet surfs for shopping or news interests. Her counterpart frequently runs off to other depts. when she doesnt want to do the days work that comes in and after being with the company for awhile still make mistakes on simple tasks and I spend my time fixing them with replies from her like “oops my bad, or oh that was me sorry.” The list goes on, and I am stuck in the crap end of it because I like to do my work. I like the work itself but the company is a series of micro managing fails. and big managment does not leave their offices to see exactly what is going on in the workplace. I have tried to tell the next manager up the problems that are happening and she proceed to just forward my email to the big manager and my manager, I got no response from big managment and my “bully” proceeded to make my life a living hell. I want to resign and in my letter I wanted to say something like this job was not a good fit for me because of these dysfunctions and briefly outline some of the major wrongs. I know its bad to say anything negative but I feel some warped sense of loyalty to let the company know that these are some real problems that need to be recognized. The manager I tried to tell believed me and supported me but is such a nice person she just didnt want to upset anyone so she does nothing but tell me that she knows I am a good worker and have really made a difference in my department. That she does know who really is on top of things there. But again nothing is done to help me or change things What do I do?

  16. Anonymous*

    I am resigning from a company after many years of service.
    I requested that they not do the standard “cake” and “goodbyes” as I find this uncomfortable, boring and unoriginal.
    Now, instead, I was invited to a lunch on my last day but the clincher is this: Only one co-worker I actually worked with and like is invited, and the rest are upper management one whom I barely know, and one I know dislikes me intensely. I find this very odd and am not looking forward to this lunch at all.
    What do I do?

      1. Anonymous*

        Okay, say you emailed your boss & gave him the days you are able to work but he still schedule you on a day you can’t work & tells you you have to find someone to cover your shift but u have to a school project which is 30% of your grade what do you do work or attend school. What is the consequences of putting in your notice & not covering your shift? Oh & on top of that you are going head to head with a lead supervisor

          1. Anonymous*

            Only been working about a month so does it really matter? I’m just concern when I put them on my resume & someone calls the manager & asks about me? He can bash my name to my new employer which will make me look bad? I just need to know can he hurt my name if I put in a notice & don’t show up for my shifts???? HELP

  17. Wakanda*

    I started working at a job just a couple of weeks ago. There is a new owner of the business, “Ken” who has a couple of “stores” in the area. “Ken” fires 90% of the staff and decides he wants all new staff. I am one of them. The sign for hiring says “quality training” on it. I am not trained at all. I am literally pushed out of the way and talked to like a child by coworkers. I am not given a staff shirt. My boss asks, why am I not in uniform? I am unaware I am supposed to work because I am not told when the schedule is posted. I miss work but no one calls me until hours after my shift is over.
    I quit. I went to go get my final check today. My boss is holding it because he is mad I quit. I call him and he tells me that I need to come to another stores location to get it and speak to him face to face about why I quit. He is taking my quiting personally when in reality I left the job because I found a better job with better hours that pays more.
    I said I would meet him at the business location that I originally worked at, speak to him face to face and receive my check. He agreed but he was so worked up and so busy yelling about how disrespectful it is to quit a job on the spot that he hung up on me before I could find out what time I was to be at the store.
    I understand I’m not helping anyone by quiting on the spot because I left a couple shifts hanging. But the store is usually over staffed and my job is done by all other workers as well. Plus my boss is an asshole who just barely stepped out of college and got the business cause its it the family.

  18. Curious*

    Hi Ask a Manager,

    In the last couple of months I have been seeking new employment {company cut back on our labour hours and we are basically expected to do the work on our own time, without the company officially saying so}. My boss found out and told me that she would like my resignation, has pestered me about this a few times and even had other managers tell me the same thing, including one manager who told all of my staff that I was being replaced by another manager {he also included a name}. After returning from vacation all of my employees were grateful to see me thinking I had been terminated. I had spoken to her and told her that I could not at this time give her notice as I wasn’t employed at another firm. Long story short an ultimatum was given to me; give me your two weeks or I will have to performance manage you out. Now to my question. Should I include that as the reason on my resignation letter? I find it a bit distasteful however because I am making an EI claim while going through the interview process, I need to make sure I am not hurting myself by leaving information out of the letter. Should I even give them a letter or just leave on the date I had informed her personally?

    Thoughts please.

  19. nanna*

    I want to put my 2week notice..but affraid they will not not pay me my monthly bonus..example..1st -30th of the month we work on our bonus..we get paid our bonus on the 15 of the next last day at work will be the 30th.can they NOT pay me my bonus? Also..if they tell me to leave I put in my nitice..will I be eligible for employment? I live in California..
    Thank you.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t know about California, but in most states, the bonus question will depend on your company’s own policies; some companies have policies have policies about when they’re paid out. You should check your employee manual to see if it addresses it.

      On unemployment, in most states you’d qualify for the period between when you said your last day would be and when they told you to leave. So, if you give two notice tomorrow and they tell you to leave immediately, you’d qualify for unemployment for those two weeks, but no longer.

      1. nanna*

        Ok. I will check the company policy..if for any doesnt state anything about the bonus payout..should I ask H.R?

          1. nanna*

            I see..thank you for your help :)
            Makes me feel alot moving out of state per my boyfriend (of 8 years) got a full time position there..and the cost of living is alot better than here in L.A.. He was laid off about 5months ago and went to look for even tho we dont have children.. We are each others family and just trying to keep the family together…
            Thanks again :)

  20. RA*

    gave two weeks notice. hate the job.stressfull,constant call offs, no breaks, and hired in at a low rate that wasnt discussed. brought it to employers attention when received first paycheck. nothing in writing. my fault. dah. i get physically sick just the thought of finishing out my two weeks. only at job two months. should i follow thru my two weeks?

  21. Jenny*

    I have worked at my co for two months. I want to quit and give two months notice. If they find a replacement sooner, can I collect unemployment for the time between when they tell me to leave and when I said I want to be my last day?


  22. fox*

    i would like to resign from my job but my contract says 1 months notice on or before the 1st of the month, does that mean i cannot hand it in now? sorry but i have never done this before and i need help.

    1. RF*

      This is completely normal in my country and it means that if you hand it in now, your last day will be December 31, so for you it won’t make a difference whether ou hand it in now or in three weeks.

      1. fox*

        with the holidays coming up does that not interfear with the notice or is it included? how does the pay work as we are closing on the 14 Dec

  23. Txtekken25*

    An employee at my church submitted her resignation the first of August, and her last day was August 31, but she has stayed on, to help out, since the church has not found a replacement for her. Since her exit date has passed, would she have to submit another resignation letter to the church?

  24. OnTheJetPlane*

    Hi! A question… Two weeks ago my employer gave me a verbal warning and said they were going to write up a summary of it, have me sign it, along with signing a written warning on a separate topic. They never provided the paperwork for me to sign and I have since given my two week notice. Can they now or why would they pursue completing the verbal summary and written warning, after I’ve given my notice? Wouldn’t this look like harassment and their irresponsibility to have let so much time pass in between talking to me and providing the write up? Please advise.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      There’s no law preventing them from doing that, although I can’t see what practical purpose it would serve them when you’re already on your way out.

      1. OnTheJetPlane*

        I can see one thing coming out of it… That Human Resources will enact a new policy for management to write up the paperwork right after they give the warning! It was a week in between them speaking with me and my giving my two week resignation letter. I have been with the company over a year and they never had a problem with me, until I spoke up about a supervisor being intimidating and threatening to me.

  25. brittany*

    i have been living with my boyfriend at his mom’s house for 8 months. and now she is telling me i have to leave in 2 day …. yes she owns her home but what i am asking is …. can she just kick me and my kids out without a eviction?

  26. Anon*

    I work in a religious setting. Many things “offered” when I was offered the job (verbal agreements) were not honored and, in one case, completely taken back. I have spoken with my supervisor (after writing a letter to him). The item taken back, was then given to me with the discussion that I was right, it should have been done. I suspect this happened only because in the letter I will be insisting that the item in question be put in writing in my new contract in January. The other issues were, well…my supervisor “back-peddled” on why they didn’t happen and pretty much threw the board under the bus. There is no sense of accountability or empathy about how any of these items (which do affect my day to day job and my income) have impacted me. It seemed more, CYA. I have decided not to renew my contract. There was a verbal discussion that this position would be for 2-3 years (the church is committed to it for 3 years financially). I am employed with a Jan-Dec contract and employee handbook states can terminate anytime during the contract time. I plan on staying until the end of my 2 years (next summer) unless they release me before them.
    My question is: How do I give my written notice so as not to get into a he said/she said situation or without seeming to “throw the boss under the bus.” I also am not sure of the protocol in giving notice. Giving it to my supervisor will most likely mean it will sit on his desk for quite some time and the board will not know (which is what happened with the verbal agreements—when brought to their attention, they did not know about the agreements to begin with and feel it needs to be worked out by us–vaca time, etc.). Should I give verbal notice to him when I hand resignation in; cc the board? Any advice would be very helpful.

  27. Annon*

    I have handed in my resignation giving my employer a months notice.
    Is it possible to change your notice period after resigning? I wish to leave sooner than anticipated.

    1. andy*

      Two bottles of scotch method.

      1. Buy two bottles of scotch.
      2. make sure you’ve got written references from your line manager.
      3. turn up at your desk and present your line manager with lovely bottle of scotch.
      4. If manager doesn’t agree it’s in everyone’s interest for today to be your last day, sit at your work station and drink 2nd bottle of scotch.

      Andy’s 2 Bottle of scotch theory.
      (never tested).

  28. andy*

    I gave 5.5weeks notice to finish on the 31st December; my HR manager came back to me yesterday and said “I’m finishing your contract on the 20th December, not the 31st” tried not to pay holidays I have and tried not to pay a Mid-December Bonus (which hadn’t even crossed my mind until I realised the motivation for them finishing me on the 20th).

    The contract says “4 weeks notice” – not “exactly 4 weeks notice”, and they are trying to use this against me. My job’s salary is awful for what I do and I was only convinced to sign on (by this HR manager) because of the bonus package that goes with the job.

    Notice periods exist to allow the employer to adjust to the employee moving on. I generously gave them 20% extra notice and it has counted against me.

    I maintain that the notice period is a minimum, not a maximum or a definite amount, and from this point forward if I need to resign I will give less than 5 days notice to avoid employers being evil with pay packets.

  29. Brian*

    I work at a private school in California. My contract does not specify anything about early termination or resignation prior the end of the contract time. What could be the consequences of resigning prior to the end of my contract time?

  30. Coby*

    I work only weekends with a company for the last year, upper management during this time has stood by and said nothing about another employee who has been harrassing me through notes left for me to see when I arrive on weekends. They have read the notes and seen them for themselves, they consistantly tell me I do a great job an just to ignore the other coworker.
    I want to give a two week notice as I always have in any job. I already had previously requested the second weekend off over a month ago, My question is this, If I give a two week notice would that still count? Being that the second weekend they have already scheduled my coverage. Thanks for your help

  31. B*

    I am putting my two weeks in today as I will not be in on Monday( I am not scheduled Monday). I am worried that my boss will just say leave when I tell her. I have been with the company for just over a year and was promoted within 6mon and by boss loves me know but she is overly emotional. Can she legally tell me to just leave if I am already scheduled for next week or does it not matter? Its in NJ too idk if the laws are any different. Thanks!

  32. Stressed Mess*

    Living in Ireland, just quit my job because I have turned into a snotty tearful mess working at that company. They dumped in the deep end with a huge project, never supported me, left me with unhappy whinging juniors and the list goes on. So I told them I wanted to quit, they said think about it, I thought about it, emailed in my notice and met with them the next day.

    Main thing is that they keep trying to prevent me from talking about leaving because of one particular client and project. I need to talk about it so I can get work somewhere else and well because it is such a relief to say it and I want to tell people. Can my employer stop me legally from discussing my business?

    1. andy*

      European Human Rights Act has a term in it – something like “Right to practice a career in a trade(?)” which may be relevent here.

      You probably can be stopped talking about specifics of a contract or job or reasons for leaving but the fact you are leaving means you must be allowed to look for work elsewhere: though maybe not at a direct rival whilst in the notice period.

      I’m not a lawyer, so this is just my opinion, not law.

      1. Stressed Mess*

        Well I’m going to work as a freelance consultant and I need to get the word out there as I only have 3 weeks notice left. Colleagues know I am leaving because I had told them I was quitting (many times) but also on the day I finally cracked up and did it. However, no one has said anything yet as far as I am aware. I am on leave today and emailed my boss to ask if she had told the client but I was told no and not to talk to anyone. Totally unfair in my opinion as I want to tell the team and I want to look for work. No interest in working with a rival, this job has put me off these kinds of companies for life.

        Thanks for the response though.

        1. andy*

          If you approach the client directly you will probably be in breach of contract.

          I don’t think there’s anything against changing your email signature advising “from December 25th onwards please contact……. ….as I will be unable to answer queries.” Though check your contract.

          You can usually tout for work for January onwards so long as it’s not during works time for your notice – though check your contract.


          1. Stressed Mess*

            Oh no I don’t want to approach the client at all, just want to tell my team and other colleagues. Also just want to start getting set up for going freelance and really just want to be happy I’m leaving.

            I’ve checked my contract and other than saying I am required to give 4 weeks notice it doesn’t much more than the standard stuff about not poaching work or staff. I just want to toddle off and do my own thing really. I get so wound up just talking to them and they are totally undermining me even now.

  33. TY*

    I have a confirmed staff who dropped her resignation letter given the company 2weeks notice instead of 1month notice due to her confirmation, is the company meant to pay her (salary) for that month or not to pay.

    1. andy*


      It does rather depend on whether she’d actually work during that period.

      Also depends on what message you wish to send to other staff, would you prefer they give as little notice as possible to completely fluff your chances of a hand over?


      1. TY*

        Thanks for the reply, she actually worked for that period but what i am still confused about is that should that month salary be paid.

        1. andy*

          I’d imagine a fair outcome would be to pay her pro rata for her time.

          Are you suggesting she should work for free for 2 weeks?

          1. TY*

            I not suggesting she should work for free for two weeks, i just want to do what is right to avoid any issue. Thanks

  34. Jasper*

    This is my first job. I gave two weeks, and worked everyday as normally as I would’ve any other shifts at this clothing store. It’s not a very busy environment, actually quite boring. I explained I have a new job in a different industry. I have never had any problems with managemnt. Whilst working I am trusted with opening and closing the store. There are cameras everywhere, even in the back. I have made minimal purchases during my time there because it is only a yoga ware store. On my last day, I did make a purchase. It was wrung in by another staff and put into a bag for me. The next day, I received an email asking me to show what I had purchased. My question is, are they accusing me of stealing? Do I need to show what I purchased? I am shocked at the sudden mistrust. Is this normal? I feel as though I am being singled out becasuse I left. I have my receit with my items. They match and are correct.

  35. Confused*

    I resigned my position as an instructional assistant (teacher aide) after only two days. The assistant principal interviewed me for one type of aide position, and then offered me a different type of aide position over the phone. I asked him to explain what my duties would be, and he said I’d be working with students that just needed a little extra help, especially with behavior. Since the position I interviewed for sounded pretty much the same, I didn’t think much of it and accepted, as I was so excited to be offered a position. I should have pressed him for more details though. It turns out that I was expected to change diapers of 5 year olds and perform other physical health assistance, which I had no experience in. I never received a job description and didn’t feel comfortable with what I was being asked to do. I was also new to the area, and didn’t realize how bad the traffic was and that it would take me over 1.5 hours to get to work and even longer to get back home. Everyone kept telling me that it would be even worse once school actually started the next week. Then the district told me they were going to reduce my salary after reviewing my credentials and deciding I had less experience than they had previously determined. I also tried talking to the assistant principal a couple times (the one that hired me), but he would barely make eye contact with me. Maybe he knew he had hired me on false terms or something. Everything about the job just didn’t feel right. I went home crying both nights, and my husband convinced me to resign. I debated about resigning in person, but just couldn’t handle driving the 3 hours in terrible traffic it would take to do so. Plus, the school was so chaotic with trying to prepare for the upcoming school year that I didn’t even know if any administrator would be willing to sit down to talk to me. Therefore, I emailed a letter of resignation to the principal, assistant principal, and HR. The only response I got back was “thank you” from the principal and HR had me fax them a signed district form saying that I had resigned. About a month later, I received a district letter just verifying that I had resigned.

    This was a contracted one year position, but I hadn’t even seen the contract or been asked to sign it yet. So my question is: do I have to answer “yes” on applications that say “have you ever resigned from a teaching position?” I don’t even know if instructional assistant or teacher aid positions are considered teaching positions. I was just a teacher aide, not the regular classroom teacher. Is it ok to say “no, I haven’t resigned from a teaching position?” I’m just worried that if I check the “yes” box, my application will be thrown out. If I say “no,” is it likely it will be found when employers look into my employment background? I don’t plan to ever use this employer as a reference, but what if it’s found and they determine that this was considered a teaching position? I’ve since moved across the country, as my husband was offered a much better job elsewhere. I’m so glad I never signed that contract that would have made me/us stuck there for a year! I just hope I really haven’t messed up my chances of getting a classroom teaching position in the future. I would appreciate any advice or insight. Thanks!

      1. Confused*

        Thanks for the response. I should have asked you before I sent the resignation letter, which I did so a few months ago. In the letter, I wrote that I was not clear on the job description or expectations about the job. I said the particular position was not a good fit for me, and the distance from home to work also played a role in my decision.

        To be safe, should I just check the box that says I have resigned from a teaching position and then attach a letter explaining? Or do you think a teacher aide position wouldn’t be considered a teaching position? I know it is teaching related, but is it a teaching position? I don’t want school districts to throw out my application just because I have that box checked.

  36. Stan*

    I have been employed as an associate pastor in a suburban church for a number of years and the leadership has now decided, with my complete backing, to send me out to begin a new church as a sent out church planter. I will continue to be financially supported by the church and accountable to them until such time that the new church plant is big enough, and financially strong enough to support me. At such time the new church will constitute as a church in their own right and become an autonomous entity.
    There is a bit of uncertainty as to how we should go about doing handling my new status. One suggestion is that I need to hand in a letter of resignation as the Associate Pastor of the suburban church and then be reemployed, with a new letter of employment for the new position.
    Is this the best/correct/only way this can be handled , or is there another/better/correct way to do it?
    One question that immediately comes to mind with regards to the suggestion that I write a letter of resignation is that I there is a clause in my present letter of employment that states that after 5 years I can have a 3 month “sabbatical” break, and I am now two years away from that coming into effect. If I have to resign my present position with the church and be reemployed in a new position what happens to the 3 years worth of long leave due to me?
    Please offer some advice.
    Kind regards.

    1. andy*

      …at the point in 3 years time the seed church will be big enough to be a seperate entity?

      Certainly in UK there would be no reason why your current position could be transferred to your new position within the same organisation, but is the seed church counted as “the same” organisation as the current church?

      Being a Church you would hope an ammicable agreement could be reached.


      1. Stan*

        Thank you for your response Andy.
        Let me say up front that the whole matter is being dealt with amicably by all parties in the church – we are, all together, seeking advice on how best to go about this.
        The “seed church” is considered to be an extension of the mother church until such time (2 to 3 yrs down the road) that the “seed church” becomes a viable, self supporting, entity itself. It’s the transition period that is under consideration. I too don’t see the need to resign and be reemployed – what I want to know is what is the view of most organisations human resources departments on something like this.

  37. steve*

    If my wife ask to be walked to her car after her night shift and her employer says no and laughs at her, is that illegal?

  38. mammamoe*

    I have been working for a company for 3 probation time has just ended. I have been miserable since I started – not at all what I expected in the job – no training, no help – I have a new opportunity that is a perfect fit for me..they want me to start right away so 2 wks notice is out of the question. I don’t want or need them as a reference, and don’t want to have anything to do with them…nothing in my contract says anything about giving notice…what can they do to me if I just quit? (I work in Canada)

      1. mammamoe*

        That’s what I figured. Unfortunately this job just hasn’t worked out. It’s a tiny blip on my long employment history that won’t even appear on my resume, therefore won’t even be contacted for a reference. My previous employer has already given me an excellent reference for this new position. I feel horrible about no notice but I have to do what’s best for me and my family. Current position is too stressful, lacks direction and reward and is reflecting badly on my home life. I’m really just a body here not part of a team. They might be stressed for a week after I leave but they were doing this job long before I was ever hired…I’m sure they will manage.

  39. Elaine*

    18 months ago i recieved a works injury which meant i couldnot return to the area of work i had done for 16 years at the same firm. They wouldnot finish me on the grounds of ill health and i am still employed by them although i couldnot return. About 3 months ago i wrote to head office handing in my notice as i couldnot see the point of being employed by them any longer and am now in reciept of job seekers allowance and am hoping to begin a new job in about a fortnight. They never replied to my letter or sent me my p45 and so i wrote again around a month after asking for my p45 and if i was still entitled to my week in hand or any other money due to me. I have still had no reply. What can i do now? any help would be much appreciated.Thankyou

  40. Anon*

    If you give your two weeks notice, and you have vacation held over from last year…is it ok to take your vacation as your notice? Or at least one week?

  41. MBC*

    I have been working for four months and upto no i havent been given my contract to sign as the first draft had some changes which needed to be made hence i didnt sign and upto now those changes have not been made.
    my job has taken a twist from the way it was to be and its just draining life out of me.
    thankfully i have another job offer.
    the question is, since i havent signed my contract yet, do i still need to stick to the notice period(one month) or i can just give 24hrs notice.

  42. MAG*

    I have been at my current employer for over a year. I need to go overseas for 8 weeks in the summer to take care of legal / family issues. My employer is only able to grant me 5 weeks, so I must resign. If I resign with a final work date of July 2 and my employer decides to terminate me prior to that date, does this become an involuntary termination, allowing me to collect unemployment insurance?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yes, in most states, for the period in between the day they tell you to leave and the day that would have been your final day if they’d stuck with your offered resignation date.

  43. toni*

    I handed my resignation to my manger 2 weeks ago and I Have to work 4 weeks notice to my employer but today ended up walking out of my job but I’ve been told my employer can with hold my wages that I have worked for is is true?

  44. Sara*

    I have resigned from my job am I required to return the undistributed business cards printed by that company for me .

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      They can certainly ask for them back and say they’re company property, although I don’t know why they’d want them OR why you’d want to keep them.

  45. Pam*

    My partner owns a company which is nothing to do with me he said I could be a director and set up an email address for me but my name is nowhere in his company and no contracts were exchanged he is now my ex and now wants for me to sign papers of resignation when really my name is not on any papers.
    What do I do

  46. Jo*

    Can my employer bring my resignation date forward? I’ve given my last working day as being the 22nd of March, as that date works better with pay transitions. Can my company bring this date forward if they wanted to? Would they have to pay me up till the date i given regardless of if they let me go earlier.


    1. Jamie*

      In Illinois they don’t have to pay you out, but you are eligible for unemployment if they let you go before your end date.

      I don’t know if other states are different, but there is no federal law requiring them to pay you out.

  47. Jamie*

    Hi, what is the etiquette for references when you are looking for new employment but have not notified your current employer that you are looking for a new job?

    I am looking for new employment for various reasons, I work for a very small company (there are 4 of us) and I am concerned that if I let them know I am looking for other employment I would be fired. I am also concerned that if I hand my notice in I would be fired. It’s one of those situations where I do need them for a reference, I have been a good employee but they only offer part time work, whereas I am now looking for full time work. I am sure the husband who owns the company would be fine with me, it’s the wife who is a bit of a cow (read another 5 letter word beginning with B) … This will be my first time leaving a job for reasons other than military PCS or because I have been laid off…I am concerned..

    Thank you

  48. Lisa*

    I resigned from my job due to harassment and false statements from a team lead and Sup toward my person, where management and HR didn’t do anything t help me. I gave them the 2 weeks notice verbally on 2/19 and turned in my resignation letter on 2/21, when I came back to work. I asked them if I had to update the dates 2/21-3/7 their answer there was not need to do it and they walked me on the 21 offering full payment for the 2 weeks and insurance for March. They didn’t want to sign that they accepted my resignation. I would like to understand . Thank you

  49. Gary*

    I am about to hand my notice in. I have to give a months notice but I’m off for a week and half now on leave. My contract does hold a PILON clause, is this something I can benefit from by saying I’m quite happy to leave now. The job is working nights and would sooner not return prior to starting my new job but also have the burden of bills to pay for the one month where I will be between jobs ?

  50. Anonymous*

    I resigned from my job at an agency and gave one month’s notice,as stipulated in my contract. My boss said he’d like to tell everyone (we’re a small office of about 10) and I agreed. He said he would tell everyone at our next staff meeting, but I ended up missing the meeting as I was home sick (for real). He announced my departure even though I was not there and said he simply couldn’t wait for my return to the office (even though I was due back the next day).

    I am one of the main consultants on one of the largest accounts at the agency and out of respect did not tell the client that I was leaving. I waited for weeks and my boss made no announcement. With 4 days left at the agency, I felt that I had to announce my departure as I am working on some long-term projects and didn’t want the client to feel I suddenly left with no notice. I also happen to be on friendly terms with my points of contact at the client, and now that our agency-client relationship is ending, plan to keep them as friends. I let them know that I was leaving in 4 days and that my colleague would be taking a more active role on the account. I also let them know that my boss was most likely searching for a replacement but that he’d have to answer any questions they had.

    My boss and supervisor are now accusing me of being unprofessional and are upset I informed the client of my departure on my own. They claim I made the company look bad by giving out the news without their consent and that they were waiting until they could announce a replacement. I do not agree with this assessment but did not want to argue as I still have 4 days left.

    I feel that my boss is making the company look bad on his own by waiting so long and leaving the news of my departure to the last minute. With 4 days to go, I don’t see how much longer he could wait, whether he found a replacement or not.

    I now feel very upset as I have never had such accusations thrown at me before and strive to be a professional and courteous employee. Could you please tell me if what I did was indeed unprofessional?

  51. Mk*

    My husband, who is a salaried Engineering Manager, gave his two weeks this past Monday. I think the company is going to let him go early. What is he entitled to? Severance? (He has been there for a year and a half.)

  52. Elias*

    I have a query,I recently got employed by a small business and the owners are directly involved in its running. The job was advertised as a Trainee position but they has not been much training involved at all and I have been left to my own devices for the most part. I feel the relationships with the managers are not good and I dread going to work and picking up the phone in case its them as they reprimand me for the silliest things; and I believe they make up stuff just to have a go sometimes. I swear I am not being paranoid. Anyway, I want to leave and the contract says 1 months notice, but I feel that when I give this notice, working there will become even more difficult as I am anticipating a lot of animosity.
    I don’t know what to do, I really need to leave :(

  53. Nick*

    Hi. I have recently handed n my notice to my employer. I work a week in hand an I am wondering if I should be paid my current wage or the wage I started with as my week in hand pay? As have had a rise since I started.

  54. Shaik Meera Mohiddin*

    I have resigned to my JOB as My HR people told me to do so and promised that they will pay three months gross salary and will relieve me immediately. But now they are saying that I have to serve upto the notice period. I had clearly given in writing that notice period will be applicable for the candidates resigning on their own wish. Also they never discussed any thing about notice period. They simply told that you submit your resignation we will relieve you immediately also will pay three months gross salary. So please help me in this regard whether there is any need for me to serve for notice period?

  55. Coffee Slave*

    So I worked at a well known Canadian Coffee Franchise over the period of about 7 months. During the time of my hiring I was asked to be a (PartTime) Morning and Afternoon baker. However about three months in I was approached about working one or two Overnight shifts while two of the overnight staff members were on vacation. I said that I would be willing to temporarily. However because I was a baker and they needed a storefront staff member I was actually hindering more than helping due to the complete lack of training in that field. In the end one of the staff members that worked overnights walked out which left me working a variety of ridiculous (Full-Time) shifts including Mornings, Nights and Overnights as well as unloading deliveries to the store early in the morning. I approached the supervisors a couple of times to ask if anything was being done about this but of course I had no actual response. Finally on one of the busiest nights of the year I find myself with a Trainee who has only worked 3 other shifts before with myself on the Long Weekend. After two hours of constant apology to customers on the long wait times, embarrassment about the large number of walkouts and a couple of insults from guests I called up my manager. In a fit of complete anger I told the manager that I could not keep working for her if things kept going and that she had to find someone to come in because I quit. The moment my manager arrived I apologized for having to call her in and immediately punched out and went home. The next day however I came in with my uniform(s) and offered a supervisor to work the next two weeks until they found a replacement for the multitude of shifts I was working. The supervisor apologized to me for all the inconvenience that I had worked through and then offered to keep me on staff instead of just the two weeks. I accepted the offer after she assured me changes would be made. However after I worked two shifts (An Overnight Storefront and an Afternoon Baking shift) I find out that it was really up to the manager and the owner of the store. I got a call from my manager (I apologized again to her) and she let me know it was actually up to HR. She said she would call back the next morning. I never received that call so I called the store and spoke to a different supervisor and told me to call back the next morning. So I called the next morning and after being on hold for a period of time the manager told me that they accepted my original resignation.

    So to sum this whole wall of text up: Can an employer accept a previous resignation after you are assured you still have your job and have worked two shifts after?

  56. binayak*

    Just wanted to know like after Resignation,If i want to serve my notice period even though i am relieved with immediate effect,can i ask the employer that i want to serve the notice period.

  57. kate*

    My employer has asked me to resign. I am going on 4 weeks vaction which I had worked around the busy times at work and don’t expect to be paid for (just 2). Is this even ok?

    1. andysuth*

      I’m out of office for 3 weeks. This is really too long.
      Its long enough for people to resent you for being out that long, or to learn “hey, what do we actually need that team.member for? “.

      Rule of thumb: try not to take more than 2weeks out of office.

      In your case: have you accrued holiday pay? This would still be valid surely if they got rid of you.
      Also: no such enforceable thing as “Asking someone to leave voluntarily against their will.”

      What would happen if you didn’t resign? Have they agreed the 4 weeks holiday? If so it can’t be a reason for firing you.
      Can you do them for unfair dismissal if they fire you?

  58. Anonymous*

    I notified my employer of an interview and possible job trying to be professional and fair. With out giving a verbal or written resignation, HR emailed me wanting a exit interview since they had been notified of my resignation (remember no resignation given). Upon returning I notified my supervisor that no offer was given or accepted. Later that day I learned from an outside source that my position had been posted for applicants online. Is this legal, it feels like a forced resignation for taking and interview.

    1. andysuth*

      in UK it would not be legal or moral.

      Suggest to HR they prove a resignation was tendered. They sound like standard hr a holes, which is bad news as they could then try and fire you.

      In UK they would have to prove gross negligence misconduct or that the position is no longer needed.

      Your case would definitely not be the latter since they have advertised for a replacement .

      Handle this amicably . If your objective is to stay with the company you don’t want to bust noses keeping there.

      Talk with your line manager about why you applied elsewhere: feeling underutilised or personal circumstances like finance issues and say how much you enjoy being in the team.

      Above all else learn this: unless its an internal vacancy, don’t tell them you are applying for a different jib until you have an offer in writing.


      1. andysuth*

        Wow. How do you function with laws that require no evidence?

        Surely if a manager took a dislike to someone they merely say “that guy resigned verbally yesterday, ” then they could get rid of someone with no severance pay or real reason.

        A real eye opener.

  59. andysuth*

    Wow. No offence but I’m aghast its like that in a country famed for its lawyers and litigation.

    Surely it leads to instability for both companies and employees.
    Each to their own I suppose.

  60. NikkiB*

    I gave my boss a formal written two weeks notice. I requested to use my paid time off hours in order to make ends meet. My boss told me i could not use them because they would be given to me along with my last pay check. Long story short I was only working with the company for 9 months after calling corporate because of a ridiculous excuse my boss gave me for not giving my my pto check. I was informed i was never going to get it because i hadnt worked for the company a full year. Any advice

  61. Nora*

    I have worked for this company for 10 months. My supervisor never liked me and gave me a hard time. She is good friends with HR so of course she was rude to me as well. Knowing it was a bad situation I been looking for a new job. I saw my job posted online and decided to resign. I gave a letter in person to my supervisor and emailed it as well to her, HR, and management stating I’m giving a two weeks notice. No one has said a word to me regarding my resignation letter except for when my supervisor said, “great” after I gave it to her. This is an entry well job, I have a degree but every job wants work experience. Can I put this job on my resume but not as a reference to show I have work full time experience. I do have other references from freelance jobs and internships but this was my first full time job in my major.

  62. Mystery*

    Hi what if my employer needs 1 months notice but I give them 2 months? Can they get rid of me after 1? I was going to tell my boss 8 weeks in advance and then give them it in writing with 4 weeks to go. Thanks

  63. Jason Vassilakos*

    I was hired to work at Applebee’s and was told once I put in m two weeks notice and my other job I would start around the 19th to call her I did and she gave me the run around then my two weeks was up on my other job thinking i was working there come to reality it was all lies. Now I’m broke got kids to feed and if she didn’t hire me why would you tell someone to put their two weeks in.

  64. unsure*

    ive worked at this location for 4yrs n ive finally had my fill not all negative but just enough to make you reach thst breaking point the problem is i was offered a position from one of our durect competitors i gave my notice but didnt mention the other job just said i wanted to start a new chapter should i tell them the truth or leave it as is ???

  65. slavemartsso*

    So I have given a two weeks notice and want to retract it as I had not gotten the job. I was told by a friend that by federal law
    I have till the last minnute of the last day of my two weeks to retract it. Is this true?

  66. roza*

    i m from Ethiopia .I got new job from other company .I need to resignation my current company with out notice period …

  67. Savana*

    My boyfriend works at Barnes & Noble. He put in a formal two weeks notice almost two weeks ago only to talk to his boss and they rescended the two week notice. Today she told him his last day will be this Saturday (the date he ended his two weeks notice with) and said to come in Thursday morning with a compelling argument to keep him. My question is can she renew his two weeks notice after they both decided to forget about it and act like it never happened? Can you make someone quit if they didn’t give their two week notice?

  68. Anonymous*

    Is it illegal to force someone to Quit by giving an employee less hours and giving someone else that was hired after you more hours than you?

  69. jackie*

    If i have not completed the 3 months process of a job do i still have to give my 2 week notice before i leave?

  70. Fiona*

    Hi, I cannot work at my current job any longer due to it not being the job i want to do. I wish to leave asap but I am contracted to give 3 months. I work as a nanny and have been with them for 3 years. I can not get another position because of the notice time. What can I do about this?

  71. Anonymous*


    I am working for a company without any contract. It’s an hourly paid job. Can I just walk away without any notice? Can they go after me?


  72. Janet*

    I have been at my job for 7 years, i have handed in my 2 weeks notice, which they have turned down and asked me to leave immediately. Should i still get paid for my two weeks notice. I have also not got a written contract

  73. jhen*

    I work13 years but my boss is insult me I want resign my question is if I do that I resignation pay

  74. ARCHANA*

    Iwas employed in an IT firm for 2 weeks, since I got a better opportunity at a public sector company I decided to resign. But I had signed a bond for 2 years and bond amount of 200,000. Should I pay the full amount?

  75. Manaji*

    Hello Friends,
    One of IT company in gujarat is not paying me last month salary after resignation period completed by me.i give proper notice period to company and company give me only releving letter.

    What i can do against company ?


  76. chantal*

    I worked for a company for 5 years. We had the most rudest boss and for all the years we just accepted it. Within a matter of 6 months 7 people resigned me included. I was the last to leave the company in our department and there was no one to train the 3 ladies so I offered to help them out. I resigned in September and was suppose to finish the end of September, but helped them out for another month. I have since re-located and is trying to find a job here, but most companies want a reference letter. I emailed both my boss and the ceo which promised he would send me one that was a month ago. My ex boss was such a pig and he was good friends with the ceo. I don’t deserve this kind of treatment as I was a loyal worker and always willing to work late. What is my options? As I can not make my previous bosses bad and tell them they refuse to send me a letter. This will already look bad for me.

Comments are closed.