5 Tips Before Quitting a Job (or Breaking Up With It)

Quitting a job

It’s just before the holidays, so break-ups are in high gear. It usually ends up like this: Someone breaks someone else’s heart, that someone else is devastated but quickly finds a new love, the heart breaker is confused. People spend a lot of time feeling sorry for the person who is left alone, but consider the person doing the heart-breaking.

In most cases, this isn’t the easiest decision, and once the decision is made, deciding how to break the news is no less than stressful. It’s very difficult to leave something you once loved behind, and then expect to suddenly feel confident and relaxed. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the heart breaker’s troubles do not stop at his/her love life—this nervous feeling unfortunately also occurs during a business break-up.

Quitting your job (whether it was an easy decision or not) is never fun. You are likely to leave for one of two reasons:

1. You got a better job offer and are hoping to further your career. You feel excited, but nervous about whether or not you’re making the right decision. What if your old company was better than your new company?

2. You can’t stand your boss or your co-workers and you dislike the job. In these situations, you can’t wait to get out of there. You feel excited, but nervous about what the future now holds. What if you can’t find another job with equal pay?

5 Must-Know Tips for Quitting Your Job

In both situations, leaving a job is bound to make you just as nervous as if you were leaving your boyfriend or girlfriend. Consider a few of these tips to help prepare you and give you confidence you’ll need when quitting a job:

Write Your Resignation Letter

This is the first thing you need to do if you’re quitting a job. A resignation letter is usually very short, and it does not need to specify exactly why you are leaving the company; just that you are. You will likely have a period of notice in the contract you signed when you first became an employee of the company, and this is something you must adhere to unless your boss says otherwise. Usually, a notice period is around two weeks.

Spread the Word

If you want to tell your co-workers you are leaving informally, this is usually accepted. However, it is never a good idea to tell a co-worker before you hand your boss the resignation letter. If rumors start to spread that you’re leaving and your boss gets wind, you will not look good in the eyes of your boss.

Continue Working

Many employees check-out once they’ve decided they’re going to quit their job. After all, what does it matter anymore? Believe it or not, this will matter a lot. Bosses admit that they pay special attention to the work an employee does after receiving a resignation letter. You will likely need your employer’s recommendation sometime in your future, so you want to do everything you can to stay in his/her good graces.

Get Feedback

This is a good note to end on when leaving a company. Chances are your boss will be happy to give you feedback about what you need to work on for your next company and what you do well. If you’re leaving because you do not get along with your boss, still consider asking for feedback. Although negative, it might help smooth things over.

Stay Positive

The important thing to remember is that you need to remain positive. You always want to leave on good terms because you never know whether or not your current company will be able to help you in the future. Believe it or not, some companies have been known to take back employees who quit in the past.

With careful thought, quitting your job will likely open up your career to bigger and better things. The nervousness will last for a little while, but eventually you will move on, and you will be glad you did so while still staying “friends” with your company.

What steps would you follow before quitting a job? 

Photo by Neal.

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Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for an online resource that gives inbound call center and telephone answering service advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs at Resource Nation.


  1. Mokhtar on the 2nd November

    thanks, this really helps 🙂

    • Amanda DiSilvestro on the 2nd November

      I’m glad! Good luck with whatever it is you’re pursuing next!

  2. Mollie Nothnagel on the 2nd November

    Great list! I think “Continue Working” is one of the most important things to keep in mind. No one will remember how hard you worked on a project last year, but they will remember if you spent your last two weeks completely checked out.

  3. Chris on the 3rd November

    “Get feedback” goes both ways. I’d recommend asking for an exit interview if it’s not company policy. Employers, like employees, should know what they’re doing well and what they need to improve upon.

  4. Swamykant on the 3rd November

    Working after submitting the resignation letter is very uncommon nowadays.. Thanks for that tip.

    Nice post.

  5. Ramesh Bishnoi on the 7th November

    “Continue Working” after submitting the resignation letter is MUST & shows your Professionalism. And why not, you are getting paid for work till last day/last hour. We always remember those people who gave their best till last minute.

  6. Amanda DiSilvestro on the 8th November

    I admit, the whole “continue working” thing has been a bit hard for me in the past. I definitely wouldn’t sit there and do nothing, but the caring just never seems to be there when you know you’re quitting. However, it is extremely important and it could very well backfire on you in the future. I think many people ignore this point, so I’m glad you all picked up on its importance!

  7. Rudi on the 10th November

    Very interesting indeed. I was brought-up in the old school way: “You are not allowed to quit your job if you haven’t got another one already”. Well, that changed about 5 years ago for me when I started doing freelance contracting, because “today you have a job, tomorrow you don’t…”

    I recently quit my present job (still one week notice period left of 6 weeks) to go and further my studies, I have NO idea if I’ll get another opportunity next year in this field, I can just hope and pray.

    The close it gets to my date of leaving and the idea of not getting a salary at the end of the next month, eats me up inside and give me second thoughts. But the decision was made and I’m sticking to it.

    • Amanda DiSilvestro on the 17th November

      That is obviously an extremely difficult decision, and I don’t blame you for feeling a little bit nervous and having second thoughts. I have second thoughts about everythinggg, so I can’t imagine making a choice about something so important.

      However, I love that you are sticking with your decision. Once it’s made, you must stay positive!

  8. zama on the 16th November

    Its not easy indeed to quit your present employer, colleagues and of corse your friends. What is the next step after submitting your resignation letter? what is my boss going to do or say?

    • Amanda DiSilvestro on the 17th November

      Your boss will likely ask you why you want to leave in the first place, and most of the time they ask if there is anything they can do to make you stay. This can sometimes be a good thing, and some people actually don’t end up leaving after all. However, your boss may just say good luck, and then you’re on your way!

      Make sure to ask if there is anything you can do to help smooth the transition, and then on your last day say goodbye and thank them for the opportunity.

  9. Susie on the 18th March

    Thank you for the five steps. I’ve been going back and forth on this decision for the last 6 months and I have finally realized that something in my life right now is more important to me than working at a company that makes me miserable and unhappy. I have decided to do the right thing for me and just walk away for my well being. I’ll keep the 5 steps in mind while I transition myself from being employed to not being employed. I just know there is something else out there for me…

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