How to Quit Your Job During the Great Resignation
The Great Resignation has shaken the job market to its core. Experts claim more workers are quitting right now than ever before in the history of the United States.
If you find yourself wanting to join them but afraid that doing so will ruin your professional relationships, we're here to help. This trusty step-by-step guide will help you quit your job without burning any bridges. There's even a handy tool that will write your resignation letter for you.
Quitting professionally has never been easier.
What Exactly Is the Great Resignation?
More people quit their job in 2021 than in any other year in recorded history. About 4.3 million people sent out resignation letters in December alone.
The trend has been called the Great Resignation or the Big Quit, inspiring endless thought pieces and op-eds about the how and why of this mass job exodus.
The numbers have somewhat cooled down, but it is expected that people will continue quitting in droves for a while.
Why Is Everyone Quitting Their Job?
If you believe what boomers have to say about it, young people are lazy and don't want to work.
But if you ignore the bitterness and look at the numbers, most people quitting their jobs are actually mid-career professionals. There are several possible reasons that have been presented to explain the Great Resignation, but it boils down to a simple factor: People want better jobs.
Most employees are leaving for jobs that offer flexibility (particularly the option to work from home), pay better and have better benefits. Many service workers are also heading to industries that don't require them to be surrounded by people.
After the global disaster of 2020, people have realized that they want more from their job and life in general.
How to Decide If You Should Quit Your Job
Before jumping into the Great Resignation bandwagon, consider whether it actually makes sense to quit your current job.
There has been a shift toward calling for a Great Renegotiation instead, meaning that you should try to renegotiate for the pay and benefits you want in your job before seeking them somewhere else. There is always a learning curve at any job, and building professional relationships takes time and effort. Talk to your supervisor about the things you want and see if they are willing and able to meet them.
If not, research other positions to make sure there are actual jobs out there that offer the benefits you're seeking at your desired pay level.
Then, start getting ready to quit.
How to (Gracefully) Quit Your Job
Quitting a job is like breaking up. If you do it right, you can keep an amicable albeit distanced relationship, but if you are inconsiderate in the way you do it, you'll end up being the jerk in the story.
The difference is that, unlike romantic interests, your professional network actually matters for the future of your career. People move around, and you never know when you'll meet an old coworker in a future job. Plus, people talk. No one wants to hire the applicant who everyone knows quit by storming out of the office in the middle of the busiest month of the year.
To help you quit your job like the graceful professional you are, Resume.io suggests the following seven steps.
Step 1: Find the Right Time
Why Finding the Right Time Is Important
No matter how well you do the other steps, if you quit at a terrible time, chances are you'll earn the scorn of everyone at work.
Of course, the time should be right for you as well, but a little flexibility and pre-planning can help you avoid giving the bad news in the middle of a major project that will not function without you.
Leaving people to try to survive in the vast ocean of work without a life vest is a surefire way to burn every bridge you've ever built.
Step 2: Decide How Much Notice to Give
Why Giving Notice Is Important
Finding a good time to leave your job won't be any good if you decide to quit on the spot.
Remember, you want to avoid this being as dramatic as a romantic breakup, so instead of springing it on your boss, leaving them wondering what went wrong, give them a heads-up. Doing this will let people prepare for your departure. They'll be able to move schedules around and start looking for a replacement.
Also, if you're in a good workplace, giving notice may mean a goodbye party. And who doesn't want free cake?
Step 3: Write a Resignation Letter
Why Writing a Resignation Letter Is Important
Ah, the goodbye letter. This is the moment to bear your soul out and let your boss know your deepest feelings and all the reasons why, ultimately, it just didn't work out.
No, we're kidding. Don't do that.
A resignation letter is a formal and professional way to quit. Of course, nowadays, it's more often an email, but the idea is the same.
If the idea of writing a resignation letter is daunting, keep reading, we'll provide you with tips and samples to do it well.
Step 4: Arrange a Meeting With Your Boss
Why Arranging a Meeting With Your Boss Is Important
You know when you're quitting and how much notice you'll give, and you have your resignation letter ready. Now the only thing left to do is to actually quit.
The best way to do this is to arrange a meeting with your boss, letting them know there is something important you want to discuss. Since you've prepared, the meeting won't be too terrible.
You basically have to state what you wrote in the letter, letting them know the dates, the plan, and leave with a positive message.
Step 5: Create a Job Manual
Why Creating a Job Manual Is Important
If it doesn't already exist, create a manual for your replacement. What to include depends on what your job is, but it should work as an onboarding document.
Don't spend too much time on this, especially since onboarding is probably not your responsibility. However, if there are things that you know will help make your replacement's transition smoother, leaving a handy manual will earn you many professional cookie points.
Step 6: Work Harder Than Ever During Your Notice Period
Why Keeping Up the Good Work Is Important
It's easy to be tempted to slack off when you know you're leaving your job soon. Sure, this attitude won't hurt you in the moment, but things like this have a tendency of lurking like a shark underwater, waiting for the right moment to strike.
Don't catch yourself in a few years running into an old colleague at a job interview. You may not get the job if you've earned yourself a slacker reputation. Remember, people actually remember their last impression of you much more than they remember their first impression.
Step 7: Prepare for an Exit Interview
Why Preparing for the Exit Interview Is Important
Doing an exit interview can feel a bit like the glass bridge game in "Squid Game." One wrong move and all your hard work comes crashing down.
The way to make it out alive and well is not to lie and pretend everything was rosy, but to give helpful and constructive feedback. What systems could have helped you do your job better? What steps can the company take to make improve the workplace?
Your boss knows there are things you don't like, so avoidance can simply make you seem insincere. Prepare a few pointers beforehand and make suggestions in a positive tone that shows you care about the company even if you're leaving.
Bonus: Keep in Touch
Use modern technology to your advantage to keep your professional network strong. Following people on LinkedIn is a must, but don't just leave it at that.
Keep up with what people are doing professionally and catch up once in a while. This is as easy as liking or commenting on posts, or saying congratulations when someone announces a career milestone.
Elements of a Good Resignation Letter
A good resignation letter should be concise and to the point. It should touch on three things.
The first one is, of course, simply stating that you have the intention of leaving the company. You may give a concise reason for leaving if it's not negative. Otherwise, it's better to not say anything at all.
The letter should then explain exactly when you're planning on leaving and make it clear that you'll support the transition. If you have specific actions that you are planning on doing, like creating a job manual for your replacement, you can state that.
Finally, end on a positive note by thanking your supervisor for the professional opportunities. You don't have to get overly mushy, but try to be as specific as possible about the things you appreciate.
Resignation Letter Sample 1: Short But Sweet
Resignation Letter Sample 2: Detailed and Personalized
Resignation Letter Sample 3: Formal and Heartfelt
Resignation Letter Generator
Still feeling lost about writing the letter? You can use this simple resignation letter generator tool that will basically do it for you. Just click on the buttons that apply to you and, poof, like magic, you'll get a ready-made letter.
You should still go over it to tweak it and personalize it as much as you can, but the tool is very useful as a template.
Good Luck Quitting Your Job in Style