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Quit Your Job the Right Way

Sooner or later you'll need to quit a job. You may have a better opportunity, or you may leave for personal reasons. Whatever the case, it's important to quit gracefully so that you maintain a good relationship with your employer. This way you can use them as a reference later and also keep your reputation within the industry intact.

Before you consider quitting, figure out what's making you unhappy at your current job. Make a list of pros and cons and review it. If you and your supervisor are close, you might consider sitting down with him or her to discuss this list. Try to come up with ways your situation could be improved.

If you still want to leave, you need to give proper notice. You'll want to plan to drop by your boss's office with a letter of resignation. The letter should be professional and should include your proposed final day. An additional copy should be sent to human resources, and you should keep a third copy. This letter can explain your reasons for leaving (though be careful about giving too much detail), apologize, or thank your employer for all that they have done for you—but it doesn't have to. You can write handwritten notes for the people who have helped and mentored you along the way if you'd like.

Your boss may request that you leave that day, even if you've given plenty of notice. If he or she does, don't take it personally. Leave quietly, but don't be afraid to request a reference letter.

If you stay for another week or two, try to help with the transition. Either finish the tasks that have been assigned to you, or find someone to finish them for you. You may want to offer to review resumes for your position or to train your replacement.

It can be difficult to stay positive when breaking free of a job you dislike, but it's important for your reputation that you do so. Your relationship with your co-workers and the company is not necessarily over: you may need their assistance someday, or you could end up working with them again. Leave gracefully.

Elsewhere on the Web

Know When to Quit, and When Not To
Today Would Be a Great Day to Quit Your Job
Sample Resignation Letters


A Working Stiff's Manifesto
Don't Quit Your Day Job!: Adventures for the Working Stiff
Before You Say "I Quit": A Guide to Making Successful Job Transitions


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