everything you need to know about how to quit your job

Getting ready to resign? Here’s a round-up of advice on how to do it.

how much notice to give

how much notice should you give when you resign?

how do I resign gracefully when my boss wants more notice?

giving notice when boss will tell you to leave immediately

do I have to give two weeks notice?

do I need to give two weeks notice when I’m new to the job?

is it okay to blindside your boss when quitting?

what to say

what do I say when I quit my job?

what should a resignation letter say?

do I have to tell my boss where I’m going when I quit?

can I resign via text message?

telling other people

what should an internal “farewell” email say?

what should a farewell email to external colleagues say?

bosses who react badly to your resignation

my boss is overloading me with work during my notice period

since I gave notice at work, my boss has tripled my workload

my company keeps pushing me to extend my notice period

my boss is mad that I’m quitting

how do I resign when my boss is a horrible person who will yell and insult me?


what you need to do before you quit your job

how long after resigning should you still answer questions?

what do I owe my long-time employer when I quit?

how do I resign when I can’t get time to meet with my busy manager?

how do I give notice to my boss if they’re on vacation?

questions about resigning — while your boss is on maternity leave, when your boss is hard to find, and when your coworkers are leaving too

how do I tell my brand new job I’m leaving for a better offer?

resigning via cod, a glorious out-of-office message, and other quitting stories

{ 50 comments… read them below }

  1. Warrior Princess Xena*

    I don’t know that resigning via cod is the recommended way to do it but I’ll take any excuse to reread that column :)

  2. AngryOctopus*

    When I gave notice at my last job, it ended up being to my boss’s boss (because he said they couldn’t move my group for “2-3 months probably” which was a ridiculous statement given our situation at the time), and he told my boss right away. My boss then ignored me for 2 weeks, and then the Monday before I left, said to me “so BigBoss tells me you’re leaving”. It was all I could do to not say “Yeah, he told you that two weeks ago and then you’ve been ignoring me ever since, what’s up with that?”.

    1. Caz*

      Just before I left my old job, BigBoss told me she wanted to have an “open and honest” dialogue with me when I did come to leave (which was her extremely subtle way of trying to get dirt on my direct boss, who she did not like but I liked very much). When I gave my notice, she didn’t talk to me at all for two weeks! It was…really nice, actually…

      1. NotRealAnonForThis*

        It didn’t hurt my feelings that the jerk@$$ boss, though he made all the appropriate noises about “we’ll have to sit down and do an exit interview, I’d like the opportunity to have a conversation with you about your reasons….” in public, nah. Flat out ignored me til the day I left.

        Those who needed to know why, they knew. Jerk@$$ was not long for that place of employment, and it wasn’t anything I did or said.

  3. Lyra Belacqua*

    Excellent advice–and timely, since I just resigned! One weird thing that’s come up for me in telling people outside my department (who need to know of my departure sooner rather than later for workflow reasons) is that I’m getting a lot of responses ranging from “Congratulations on your next move, I know the Llama department can be tough” to “The Llama department is a toxic nightmare, good for you for getting out!” These things are…true, and why I’m leaving, but is there a way to respond professionally without either badmouthing or misrepresenting my department?

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      “Thanks, I’m so looking forward to some new challenges!” Just keep it focused on where you’re going, rather than the dumpster fire you left behind.

      1. Iris West-Allen*

        I read that as “I’m looking forward to some new colleagues!”, which would be quite accurate for me!

    2. Caz*

      Thank them for the good wishes and focus on talking about how excited you are about what you’re moving to, not how relieved you are to be getting away!

    3. Michelle Smith*

      Thank you for the well wishes! If you’d like to keep in touch in the future, my contact information is X.

  4. Peanut Hamper*

    I gave notice at my last job, but told my boss I would stick around long enough to train my replacement (as I did not have another job lined up).

    My coworker (who was technically diagonally above me in the org chart, and was also “friends” with the boss) kept scaring off every replacement we hired that I tried to train. After nine months of this, I called my boss at home, gave him two weeks and made it stick. Two weeks later I was out of there, and did not look back.

    Lesson learned.

  5. Pdweasel*

    Two weeks before high school graduation, my then-17-year-old brother went into the band director’s office, sat on the corner of his desk, and said, in the style of a 20th century mob boss with a Transatlantic accent, “Mistah Carlson, consider this my two weeks!”

  6. Caz*

    At my last job I actually talked three people through how to resign – to the point of giving them template letters – because this was their first job and all three of them managed to get new opportunities at the same time! It wasn’t something I ever expected to do as a manager, but I realised no-one else would have ever taught them these skills or what was or was not expected, and it honestly felt a privilege to be able to do that for them as one of my last acts as their manager

      1. Caz*

        More or less. Something like “I am giving my 4 weeks’ notice*, my last working day will be “, anything beyond this as pleasant fluff is appreciated but not required.

        *I’m in the UK, they are required by contract to give 4 weeks’ notice.

        1. Donner*

          Ah, you are in the UK. :) The wording I gave was Richard Nixon’s resignation letter, which he tendered rather than being removed.

  7. Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii*

    Are there any AAM posts about quiet quitting that could be added above?

    1. Donner*

      Quiet quitting is not resigning. I’m sure there posts, but since it’s a different subject, I’m not sure why they would be included.

      1. Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii*

        While i don’t agree that is another potential topic to cover, if you are quiet quitting perhaps its time to find a better job and actually quit?

    2. Dovasary Balitang*

      It also isn’t a new phenomenon. If you google Work to Rule, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of resources on the topic.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I wouldn’t exactly call those two things equivalent, though.

        Quiet quitting is about doing the bare minimum (you want to pay the minimum wage, you get the minimum results!) and is more or less a permanent state of affairs, meant to restore work-life balance.

        Working to rule is about following every rule so precisely and meticulously that a work slow-down results. This is usually a temporary situation and is used by workers in lieu of a strike or other work stoppage.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          Forgot to add, but there was a hilarious episode of Corner Gas* in which Davis and Karen decided to work to rule, but they ended up doing a lot more work, because they basically had already quiet quit. (Davis sleeps in his patrol car a lot.)

          *Every episode is pretty funny, actually. Ah, life in a small town on the Saskatchewan prairie.

          1. Donner*

            I would say Work to Rule is when malicious compliance is implemented as a form of protest. It’s an alternative to striking.

        2. ecnaseener*

          Idk, I’ve usually seen “work to rule” in contexts like teacher strikes, where they only do the work stipulated in their contracts (so, teaching classes) and not anything else like writing recommendation letters. It’s not about malicious compliance, it’s about showing how much unpaid work they do.

        3. Software Wrangler*

          Many years ago, there was a brouhaha where I worked when a team ran a small experiment using an unapproved (though reasonably popular) software stack. The big boss found out about it and got very cross on an internal mailing list about how irresponsible it was to do anything in ways the rest of the company wasn’t equipped to maintain.

          The VP responsible for that team replied with an email that just said “unsubscribe”, and was out the door a couple of weeks later.

    1. SometimesALurker*

      Same! I’m hoping that this post will be my good luck charm for my current search.

  8. Bubbles*

    Wow, this post seems to be created after a telepathic link with my brain.

    All week I’ve thought about quitting but today the most.
    I actually love my company for the very laidback atmosphere and our amazing product. However, due to many changes the job has become much harder to do well. I’m in sales and you need clear targets and a good commission structure or else your changes of earning, your job satisfaction and your marketability as a high performer really suffers.

    I’m sadly now at a point where I think it’s better to get out even when I really don’t want to.

  9. PD James*

    This is doxxing, but here we go:

    I gave two weeks notice to a job in a “decline” response to a 1-on-1 meeting with my boss.

    I didn’t plan it that way. I scheduled one of our regular meetings for that Monday so I could give notice in person (well, remotely, since he was full time at home), but then he sent a reschedule request literally 5 min before it started. So I went, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, declined the reschedule, and included a note that I was leaving. I think we exchanged like two emails in my remaining two weeks.

    And while I didn’t plan it that way, I have no regrets. He deserved to get notice that way.

    1. NotRealAnonForThis*

      I mean, is it really doxxing though? I gave the Jerk@$$ from my above comment about the same notice. He just wasn’t my direct supervisor. But he scheduled me for an out of town (pre-Covid) travel required meeting for my last week of notice via Outlook, and I just flat out declined with a “nah, I’m leaving effective date blah blah…”

      1. PD James*

        Stranger things have happened than two people who had the exact same specific details in the circumstances of their resignation, right down to the supervisor-driven 5 min reschedule of a 1-on-1 meeting. We should start a club.

    2. Corrigan*

      Haha! I can relate.

      I was planning on giving my notice at our allegedly weekly scheduled 1-on-1. But often he…just wouldn’t be in the office. Or someone else would be in his office and I’d have to come back later. I spent like half the day trying to chase him down just so I could give notice face to face.

      1. Going Underground*

        Haha, that reminds me of when I was trying to speak to my boss to give her my resignation letter last November – her office was opposite mine, but people were popping in and out to speak to her all morning, then every time someone left her office she’d go off somewhere in the building or take a phone call.

        I was popping in and out of my office trying to catch her for about 3 hours, until in the end I spotted her in the corridor, followed her back to her office and said ‘have you got a few minutes?’, and luckily she did – the letter was burning a hole in my pocket!

        I’ve never enjoyed a notice period more, to be honest – suddenly all the things I’d been trying to get off my insanely full plate for a year could be magically reassigned elsewhere if only I’d stay on, and ‘we could talk about’ the many issues at that place which I’d been very persistent about trying to talk about for many months… I really enjoyed saying no, there wasn’t anything they could say/do to make me stay!

  10. On to Greener Pastures*

    I just spent a week playing phone tag with my boss before submitting an email resignation at 3:45 on the Thursday before a long holiday weekend.

  11. EQ*

    Just resigned from my first ever post-college “grown up” job and my last day was yesterday! I was so nervous to give notice but I read a lot of articles on AAM and it really helped.

  12. Chirpy*

    Fantasizing VERY HARD about this right now, as it’s Perpetually Understaffed Wednesday and, as usual, my coworkers in other departments are yelling at me for not magically doing the work of 4 people, and won’t help in even the smallest way. And management (if I can even find one! they’re also not here half the time! ) just shrugs. GAH

  13. Employed Minion*

    I recently gave my resignation and consulted AAM for best practices. I adore the team I work with but due to larger company and family stuff it just doesn’t work anymore.

    My last day is Friday and I have nothing lined. I’m burned out from the last year. The plan is to relax, regroup, and jump into job hunting this summer. We are so fortunate to have built up enough savings to be able to do this!

  14. RedinSC*

    I tried to make an appointment with my boss to resign, but she rescheduled, so I wrote a letter, dropped it with her admin and HR and the boss barely spoke to me for the two weeks. She called me in once, and I thought here’s our chance to talk about transition, but no, she just had some questions about some of our donors.

    I did leave a 20 page “calendar” of activities, so who knows if that will be shared or not.

  15. Gemstone*

    Extremely timely, thank you. I’ve just made the decision to start job hunting due to extreme burnout, and if I can’t find anything in 2-3 weeks, just bite the bullet and leave.

  16. automaticdoor*

    AHHHHHH great timing, I’m resigning my toxic job next week once I get a final written offer from the new org. Planning to write in to good news Friday in a few weeks! :)

  17. Violet*

    I have been contemplating quitting my job since January. Lots of factors go into it, but mainly a critical piece of my onboarding was not done and my manager oversteps, micromanages, leaves me out of critical conversations. Other team members have the same experiences with this manager so I have validation. One person who came to our team the same time as I did left the company less than 6 months later and it was due to this manager and the stress and confusion they cause.

    I keep going back and forth because it’s good money. But money isn’t everything. I am an older worker. Thinking about taking a year off. The ACA has made health insurance easier but that’s still a consideration when you don’t have another job lined up.

    Great set of links here. Thank you!

  18. joesilvahhh*

    I put in my resignation this afternoon and took this post as a good omen. Went as smoothly as I could have imagined. Thank you, Allison!

  19. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    In all the times I had uit jobs – I did three things ..

    1) Gave a verbal two-week notice – directly and privately to my manager. AND TOLD NO ONE ELSE. This gave management the opportunity to counter-offer. And a few times, it made sense to accept it. But once word spreads through the facility, politically they CAN’T counter.
    And if it’s final, then prepare a GRACEFUL resignation letter.

    Yes, some headhunters will tell you never accept a counter. However, there are times that it makes sense. Your boss will be going to the wall for you to get that counter-offer.

    2) Keep your decorum up. You may be willing to put in extra time to wrap things up and transition things to your colleagues. Do not be tempted to “coast” unreasonably in your notice period. Go out professionally.

    3) You may be goaded or baited into conflict, arguments, etc., so that you might be painted as a bad employee. DON’T TAKE THE BAIT. Your management may pull stunts and unprofessional actions. Don’t burn your bridges. You can’t prevent your management from burning them, but as an employee, avoid traps.

    4) Be of good cheer. You’re likely moving onward and upward. Some of your co-workers will be very happy for you. Others may be resentful over your forward progress. Don’t gloat in it, and don’t sneer or be flippant. just be cheery, happy.

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