Once in a while, everyone gets an irresistible urge to quit their job. It’s easy to romanticize the notion of leaving it all behind to travel the world. Remember Jack (played by Edward’s Norton0 in the cult-classic Fight Club? The character delivered one of the most steeling job quitting scenes in the history of cinema. Inspired by his new lifestyle, Jack attempts to blackmail his boss resulting in him quickly being fired. In response, Jack begins to violently punch himself while begging his boss to stop. The end result? Jack gets to keep his paycheck and has also intimidated his senior. Don’t try this at work: 1) it will be caught on camera and 2.) it’s better to keep things classy and write a resignation letter.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the desire to make a big dramatic exit. You’ve signed on the dotted line at your new company, and now there’s nothing standing in between you and your fabulous new job. Whatever the circumstances of your departure are, it’s better to gracefully quit your job to ensure you don’t burn any bridges and your career stays on track.
How do you write a resignation letter?
Assuming you’re going to need help write a resignation letter, The HR Digest has a listed useful tips along with a sample resignation letter template.
A. THE BASICS
Now is not the time to be poetic. As a general rule, it’s better to keep a resignation email as minimal as possible. Just state the position you’re resigning from and the effective date. Be crystal clear that you’re leaving the job. Limit any explanation to the basic, you don’t need to describe why you’re leaving, whether you’re accepting a new opportunity, or have concluded this job isn’t the right fight.
Dear Mr./Ms. [Supervisor’s Last Name]:
The purpose of this letter is to give two weeks’ notice of my resignation from my position as [position title] with [company name]. My last day of employment will be [two weeks from today’s date].
B. EXPRESS GRATITUDE
Do you remember the Goldman Sachs’ banker’s explosive resignation letter? Of course, you do! The whole world remembers to this day. Five years ago, Greg Smith addressed a public letter of resignation to his former employer, lashing out on the firm’s toxic and destructive culture. His devastating critique of the company caused quite a stir in the investment banking industry. It led to several parodies, such as the one below:
When I started here, there was an entire refrigerator stocked with coconut water. Now, that fridge holds nothing but agave juice. I don't care for it.
—Bob Randolph, “Why I'm Leaving Google,” San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 2012
Don’t take your resignation letter as an opportunity to air grievances or rant about someone who did that mean thing to you. Whether you love your job or can’t wait to leave it, it is professional to write a concise and classy resignation email. This will keep you connected and door open to networking and future jobs. Put in a positive statement: You’ve enjoyed “aspects of the job” or “learned a lot.” The latter phrase comes in handy, especially when you want to be vague about what you’re learned and it could mean anything.
I would like to take this opportunity to say that making this decision has been extremely difficult; as working at [company name] has been such an incredible experience one for which I am grateful. I have gained much here and I have enjoyed working with you and my other colleagues in [department/section/project name].
C. BE PROACTIVE
It is a standard courtesy to offer to help bring the replacement up to speed with what your duties and responsibilities have been. You definitely don’t over promise anything you can’t deliver, but a couple of lines stating you’ll ensure a smooth wrap-up of your duties will show that you want to provide support and assistance till the very end.
I am conscious of the need to provide support to the [name of department/section/project] until my departure and I shall give my full commitment until then.
I wish [company name] every success in the future and thank you for the opportunities I have been given during my time here.