How to Quit Your Job

Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” To this brief list, we might also add, “quitting a job.”

It’s crucial to quit with integrity and tact, since you will almost certainly need to use your current supervisor as a reference for your next several jobs. Also, you never know when you’re going to need advice or a favor from a previous employer. It’s best to keep it honest and straightforward.

Common practice is to provide at least two weeks’ notice of your leaving. You’ll want to give notice in writing, directly to your supervisor and the HR manager, if applicable. Your statement can be brief, but it needs to clearly say that you’re leaving and when. If you are on good terms with your boss, you should tell them in person that you’re leaving, then hand them a signed letter as a formality.

Ideally, you’ll also explain why you’re leaving, although this isn’t required. In most cases, this should be both positive and professional; for example, “I am interested in pursuing work in a different field.” (If you have negative reasons for leaving, you should discuss this with HR in a face-to-face conversation instead.)

Be sure to express sincere gratitude and leave on a positive note, whenever possible. If you have learned anything important, either trade- or life-related, it would be nice to say so. If, however, you are most grateful to be moving on, simply say, “Thank you for the opportunity,” and leave it at that.

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