How to leave a job after a short time
January 31, 2013 11:30 AM   Subscribe

I hope this will be my last job-related question for quite a while. I want to give two weeks' notice today or tomorrow at this job and I'm not sure how to go about it.

I got an offer today for a new job that is very different from the one I have now: 25/30 hours a week instead of full-time; on-site, not remote; doesn't involve sitting at a desk all day; very family-friendly and flexible bosses. I started my current job just last summer, so it hasn't been long at all, and I feel bad about that. I didn't realize that it wouldn't be a good fit, and they promised more flexibility (with my schedule) than they delivered. I hate working from home (and they discourage working at coffeeshops or whatever), and I want to have more time with my young son. And even though I'm a writer, I want a job with less writing (and therefore less anxiety).

How much do I go into detail about my various reasons for leaving, especially after such a short time and since I basically told them last year that this was my dream job? If it matters, it's a nonprofit organization and my (all-remote) department is a great group of people. They may be shocked to hear that I'm leaving so soon, so I'm dreading giving notice.

Bonus question: Does anyone know what happens if you quit a remote job where you bought home office stuff and got reimbursed? File cabinet, keyboard, etc.? Are they likely to just charge me for it, or would they want me to give them anything that they could reuse in one of their offices? I'm talking about $800 or so.
posted by trillian to Work & Money (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You do it by giving at least a 2-week notice, more if you can. Include something semi-bland about it not being a great fit, and possibly an apology for the inconvenience your departure may cause. You may want to preface it with a conversation with your boss that lays everything out on the table, but I wouldn't include all of that in writing; doing so is more likely to do harm than good.

Regarding the home office equipment, the short answer is "it depends." If you have an employment agreement or employee handbook it probably speaks to how this is handled.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:36 AM on January 31, 2013

Best answer: Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Bossypant,

This is to notify you that I will be ending my employment with YourCompany effective two-weeks-out. I have gained a great deal from my time here and hope that our paths cross again.


posted by trinity8-director at 11:51 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Just give them your notice, tell them you've enjoyed working there, but the new job is going to work better for your schedule and your family. There's nothing to gain from going into detail about how the job wasn't as described. Never burn a bridge you don't have to.

If you want to keep the great people in your department in your network, after your bosses have had a chance to let people know you've resigned, send the rest of your department a gracious note about how much you've enjoyed working with them - thank your boss for the opportunity, remind them of some great achievements you had together, mention by name any colleagues that have been particularly helpful.

The equipment is theirs. Unless you want to buy it from them, ask them how they want to get it back.
posted by IanMorr at 11:51 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

just want to agree that telling them negatives about why you are leaving is not a good idea at all. just tell them you need more time with your young child. i'm sure they will understand.

the equipment belongs to them because they paid for it. if you want to buy it from them you will need to negotiate a price. do not say nothing about the equipment and hope they forget about it as they will likely remember down the road and then demand it back. be professional.
posted by wildflower at 12:19 PM on January 31, 2013

ack. sorry about my comment about the equipment. for some reason i got the impression you were going to try to just keep it but that wasn't what you said. i need more caffeine.
posted by wildflower at 1:33 PM on January 31, 2013

Just resign without going into reasons.

As for the equipment, they bought it for you; absent any paperwork to the contrary, it is yours. It might be nice to give it back if they're really worried about it, but you certainly have no legal or moral obligation if nothing was specified in writing.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:57 PM on January 31, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, all. Really appreciate the advice ... and I'll give my notice today.
posted by trillian at 7:41 AM on February 1, 2013

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