Help me quit my job filter!!
August 4, 2006 8:13 AM   Subscribe

Help me quit my job filter!!

Basically, I want to quit my job. My job sucks. Problem is - I recently (6 months) relocated from CA to NY to work at this job. Since then I've had some revelations about what I want to do with my life, and now need to break the news to my very cranky boss.


I've worked for a large foreign company for the last three years out in CA. My manager was promoted up the chain to work in the NY headquarters. She was always telling me how I needed to work somewhere else as my job in CA had no room for advancement. So she got promoted and invited me to come work for her in NY in what was referred to as a "more intellectual and exciting position."

I made the move on my own (I've been a contractor for these three years, and was verbally promised a full time employment after "doing my time" in the NY office.), driving from CA to NY. My BF planned on moving out to NY as soon as his internship was over with and we were going to get a nice place and have a fun adventure on the east coast.

All this time, my manager has been “restructuring” the department. While she waited for the approval on a new company job card to come in (verbally promised 3-6 months), I was to be responsible for the duties of my new fancy job (PR + marketing coordination) as well as covering for an archive / fulfillment person who had left in the restructure. Every time I would speak to my boss to ask when the extra job was going to filled. Repeatedly I was told to “be patient” and to continue doing the fulfillment / archive job as “those are the fulfillment dollars paying you.” It goes without saying that I haven’t been very happy doing two jobs (and meanwhile, my job description was never defined, as a few others in my department are also not sure what theirs are anymore), on top of finding out that I would be getting a pay cut that was never mentioned before I left CA.

So I’ve decided that it would be better for my sanity and my career to move back to CA and finish my degree and get a job in an industry that doesn’t bore me. I had never planned on staying on the east coast for all that long – just long enough to get a new title and use that to move to something more interesting. At this time, (and the last few months) it doesn’t look like that will happen out here + I’m very not happy with the job that I hold now.

The reason I’m asking for your help here, is that before I moved here for this job, my manager was very very very adamant that I stay in this job and not move back to CA. That we were both taking a big risk if this doesn’t work out and blah blah blah. I feel bad that I am quitting, but I cannot keep working here and stay sane. (Plus I'm a sissy and don't want to face her with this news :( )

So fellow mefites: please help me write a letter to quit my job!! (Speaking in person is not an option anymore, as my manager made some unexpected travel yesterday to Austria and won’t be back till the week I was planning to drive back to CA.)
posted by Lizc to Human Relations (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Dear Manager:

I regret to inform you that circumstances beyond my control have forced me to return to California. Effective immediately, I must resign my position in New York. I regret any inconvenience this may cause, and wish you and the rest of my former co-workers success.

posted by Faint of Butt at 8:27 AM on August 4, 2006

Why the rush? Unless you need to get back for school or something you might as well wait until she gets back and tell her in person. You may need her as a reference and you really don't want to burn this bridge if you don't have to. A letter without face-to-face contact is pretty impersonal and will not be taken well at all.
posted by caddis at 8:28 AM on August 4, 2006

It would be better if you could deliver the news face-to-face, but I don't see why you owe your boss anything. She lured you away from CA with a number of promises that were never delivered upon.

And now you're being taken advantage of. You're doing work you never intended to for less money than you got back in the CA. Yes, you were both taking a big risk, and perhaps it will be a drag for your boss should it not work out. But it hasn't worked out!

You are not being treated with respect. Until some backbone is displayed, you never will be. Unvarnished facts will serve you best as you compose your resignation. Your letter need not concern itself with your boss's feelings - your boss is not concerned with yours, nor your future or career.
posted by EatTheWeek at 8:36 AM on August 4, 2006

I would wait until they get back and tell them in person when you present your resignation letter, and make clear that you felt misled about the arrangement. Perhaps she will break down and hire you. Regardless of what she says, you need to be brave enough to tell her in person that she made a mistake in not being honest with you about the position in the company.
posted by parmanparman at 8:39 AM on August 4, 2006

on top of finding out that I would be getting a pay cut that was never mentioned before I left CA.

You owe her nothing.
posted by footnote at 8:40 AM on August 4, 2006

Dear Madam:

Effective (whatever date, usually 2 weeks away), I am resigning, for personal reasons.


Short and impersonal does it for resignation letters. Nothing to argue with, nothing to negotiate, just give your notice (if that is expected) and go. It's unlikely you'd be using this position as a future professional reference, and most businesses will verify employment dates without comment (for legal reasons) when contacted by future employers. So, you've nothing to gain by negotiating or working a longer notice period.

More and more businesses are taking the position that employees that are voluntary quits are let go immediately, on the date of resignation, to avoid low productivity and morale sucking "goodbye" situations. Sometimes these kind of resignations are paid 2 weeks notice, but released immediately, but in other cases, for short term people that haven't worked out, their notice is simply waived and they are gone, without severance.

Plan accordingly, if your next paycheck is important to your personal finances.
posted by paulsc at 8:41 AM on August 4, 2006

Dear Manager:

I regret to inform you that circumstances beyond my control have forced me to return to California. Effective immediately, I must resign my position in New York. I regret any inconvenience this may cause, and wish you and the rest of my former co-workers success


But seriously, there are better suggestions above than just writing the letter.

Sounds like what footnote says: You owe her nothing. If you don't ever need a reference out of this person or company, then forget the letter and just bolt, what's the difference. If you think you will eventually need a reference, then a letter may be no better than just bolting.

I encourage you to fight your sissy tendencies and stick your chest out: Either confront the person with the truth, or proudly walk out without a word, even on paper.
posted by poppo at 8:48 AM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Part of the problem with a face-to-face conversation is that she may try to compel Lizc to stay, by offering any number of perks (some of which, it sounds like, Lizc should have been getting all along).

If your mind is made up, Lizc, and you don't want your employer to try to change it, I agree that a letter is the best course. It gives you an opportunity to say what you really need to, uninterrupted. And since your boss will obviously resent this news anyway, I don't think it makes much of a difference how/when they receive the news.

I would say the safest bet is to use the letter to underscore your devotion to the company through the ttime of upheaval, your willingness to relocate and pick up the slack for other positions, and that ultimately you have been given no clear job description, no timetable of advancement, and basically no stability or support whatsoever. While you'd like to keep your life on hold waiting for these things to happen, you simply can not in good faith continue to accept this arrangement and don't have any reason to believe at this point that it will improve. It is not a matter of patience, it is a matter of maintaining self-respect, and turning over so many major decisions to them in the last year, with so little to show for it, has shown you what you need to do to get it back.

Be direct, honest, and aloof. You don't owe them any more than this, and if they think you do, well it's the same kind of thinking that has been undermining them (And you) all along.
posted by hermitosis at 8:49 AM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

If I'm reading this right you've been guilted and used -- a cross-country move based on soft promises and resulting in a position you don't want and a pay cut you couldn't refuse? Sounds to me like your boss is dependent either on some skill you have that's hard to replace, or (to be blunt) on you being a sucker willing to put up with a lot of crap.

"before I moved here for this job, my manager was very very very adamant that I stay in this job and not move back to CA. That we were both taking a big risk if this doesn’t work out "

If a job is a "big risk" (and a cross-country move usually is), you should be getitng a bigger reward to balance that risk. Instread, it looks like you're being used to allow your boss to

Your manager got her promotion; her big risk is already being balanced by a correspondingly bigger rerward. You're stuck doing two jobs, one of which is something you don't want to do and that doesn't advance your carreer, for less money, with no permanent offer, after a cross-country move. Of course your mamager was adamant: she's counting on your to suck up all that crap to make her look good.

You're being used.
posted by orthogonality at 8:52 AM on August 4, 2006

Stay late on Friday and leave a note on her desk. By the time she reads it, you could be crossing the Rocky Mountains.
posted by LarryC at 8:54 AM on August 4, 2006

Without your degree, wouldn't the reference she would've given you be invaluable at this point? You've put over 3 and a half years of your life into this job and your next job will want to hear about it from your boss.

My opinion is, unless you plan to complete school immediately and think that your academic references are good enough, do not burn that bridge. You've put far too much of your career into this job to have nothing to show.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:56 AM on August 4, 2006

Which is to say, quit if you want, but give her two weeks and do it professionally. Don't leave her stranded.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:57 AM on August 4, 2006

Agree with the above re: the resignation letter. I've heard that the best resignation letter was Richard Nixon's:

Dear Mr. Secretary: I hereby resign the office of President of the United States. Sincerely, Richard Nixon.

Nothing more is needed beyond that.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:02 AM on August 4, 2006 [4 favorites]

You're being used, and you owe your boss no loyalty.

While you might not be able to get a good reference out of boss-lady after quitting, many companies these days have a policy forbidding bad references (or anything other than verifying "yes, so and so worked here between such and such dates") to avoid any possibility of a lawsuit.
posted by adamrice at 9:10 AM on August 4, 2006

That policy is difficult to enforce (unless the person that's calling is taping the conversation or is honest enough to tell the person who is being spoken about).
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:11 AM on August 4, 2006

While I agree with paulsc's letter, I cannot in good conscience advise that you resign by letter. As much as it may suck for you to do it in person, suck it up and do it. It is part of growing up. It will also be much more professional and will likely prevent you from burning bridges.

If your boss tries to talk you out of it or gives you grief, a simple, "I am sorry, but my decision is made." will be the proper answer. Do not get into an argument about promises or personally attack your boss or anyone else at the company.

Be a pro and do it face to face even if it means waiting to leave for a few days.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:13 AM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm inclined to agree with hermitosis on this. Unless you're 100% certain you must leave, explain all the issues you are having and give them time (no more than two weeks) to rectify - sort of a "two weeks or else notice," because it seems some of the issues can be rectified if it were a priority for them to do so.
posted by andifsohow at 9:13 AM on August 4, 2006

Without your degree, wouldn't the reference she would've given you be invaluable at this point?

Lizc, you know your boss better than we do. From the facts you've given, it seems true that she's been unfair to you and you shouldn't feel bad at all about quitting despite any agreement you made to stay in NY.

But other things you mentioned (e.g., that she wanted you to have more intellectual work make it sound like your boss thinks that she has your best interests at heart. If that's true, and if you still have some sort of friendly connection with her, then it might be appropriate to try to salvage the chance of a good recommendation later down the line by writing a long, honest but unaggressive, asskissing letter about how your expectations have not been met and although you're grateful for the chance and her wonderful mentorship you have to move on, etc. etc. Assuming your boss is being selfish rather than evil, a letter like this might work.

On the other hand, if the new field you're going to go into after you graduate has nothing to do with this one, then there's not much to lose. Just make sure you do a few internships during school to get professional references for when the time comes.
posted by footnote at 9:16 AM on August 4, 2006

It is - for whatever reason - extremely common to abuse the hell out of contract employees, and to string them along with promises that something better will come along real soon now, just wait a bit longer.

There are two types of bosses that do this:

-- one type is affirmatively using you
-- the other type is incredibly passive. They feel they should ask their boss for something better for you, but they just can't ever get up the nerve to ask on your behalf, and they can't say anything bad to you, so they just string you along. It's all about their (the boss') personal issues with confrontation.

Hard to tell which one your boss is, there are some indications of both in your post.

Short and sweet is the ticket for a resignation email. Do not wait until she is back. Just send her an email. (If she were present in your office, you would have to do this in person, but since she isn't, you get a pass.)
posted by jellicle at 9:21 AM on August 4, 2006

Have you REALLY made up your mind to quit? If so, in the really long run, it doesn't matter how you exit... two weeks notice or moving out in the middle of the night. They won't close the doors on the business because you left, or died, for that matter.

Hopefully, this entire experience will improve your judgment for future jobs. It seems like there have been abundant learning experiences in this one.

For your own emotional health, it may be in your interest to express your reasons, just so you won't regret keeping all of this internalized. If you have a personnel department or a department head above, I'd copy them, too.

It SOUNDS like you got screwed, but that you helped it along and allowed it through passivity. Passivity sucks compared to being assertive. I'd use the exit to be assertive. It's an opportunity to address a wrong and a weakness in your personal makeup.

No one reads long exit letters. A page or less should do. You'll feel better getting it off your chest, I'll bet.

Again, it doesn't really matter. If you are going to leave, in six months no one will remember but you. I'd make some noise before going, were it me.
posted by FauxScot at 9:23 AM on August 4, 2006

I agree with what people have written above about your letter of resignation - it should say very little other than 'I resign effective XYZ'.

That said, there's no way your actual letter of resignation will be your only communication with the company on this. There will be emails and phone calls and such, as well. So write a short, blunt resignation, but mentally prepare your answers to the inevitable questions, because, well, they're inevitable.

'Personal reasons' is a workable answer to those questions if you really don't want to get into it.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:25 AM on August 4, 2006 [1 favorite]

Never, ever burn a bridge.

Even if the person on the other end of the bridge is a complete jerk. You never know if your next boss just so happened to know someone who thought the world of your boss way back when she was great... or you never know when you'll need a professional favor and she'll have just the right contact.

Be a little nerdy and role-play with a friend-- practice what you'd like to say to her, cut it in half, and say half of that. Short, sweet, aloof, factual, unemotional. Start nice, say the ugly stuff, finish nice. "I have enjoyed being adventurous and appreciate that you nudged me to go for this opportunity. However, I was told this this this, and instead I got this this this. This is not working for me. I don't want to leave you in a lurch, so I'd like to give you the opportunity to make good on what you promised me. What can be done to improve my situation?"

And if she says, "Nothing, go flip sand," then you say, "I'm sorry to hear that. Surely you understand my disappointment, as I have enjoyed working with you and learning from you. You will find a resignation letter on your desk in the morning."

No bridges burned, you gave her a chance to change your mind, but if she can't make it better for you, you're out of there and you still look professional. Never, ever burn a bridge.
posted by orangemiles at 9:32 AM on August 4, 2006 [3 favorites]

One more thing-- if she makes more promises, ask for a timeline.

(I'm speaking from experience here, as a natural-born conflict-avoider-turned-woman-with-a-backbone. One valuable lesson she's teaching you is how much you crap you will take. Be grateful for that lesson-- every person needs to learn how much he or she will take before standing up for him or herself. Next time will be a hundred times easier. Now, wear something confidence-boosting, practice your speech, and go get 'em.)
posted by orangemiles at 9:38 AM on August 4, 2006 [2 favorites]

I am going to second organgemiles suggestion - have a conversation with your boss and give your boss an opportunity to make changes first. Then submit a letter of resignation if you do not then obtain what you need to do well at your job.

The fist time you do this it will be difficult. However, after doing this a few times (at this job and future jobs), you will realize that before accepting a job or when immersed in a miserable job, frequently you have the power to make the changes. Ask for more money. Ask for the opportunity to work on such and such project(s). Wouldn't it feel great if after having such a conversation, you are then offered a raise? Or a promotion? Even if you decide to leave, you will have the skills to do this at a future job.

Learn from this and make these negotiations before you agree to work for someone in the future.

Best of luck.
posted by Wolfster at 10:10 AM on August 4, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses so far. <3>
The last time I had spoken with my manager about my job was about a month ago, stating that I was unhappy in this position and so forth. That was also when I found out about the future pay cut. About two weeks ago, my bf booked a flight to arrive two weeks from today. I'd been planning to speak with her in person, to sit down and outline all the things that were promised before the move and how few of them are being fufilled. Yesterday afternoon she booked the first flight to Austria, so face to face is plainly out the window. I don't feel right not giving her two weeks notice, but she will not be returning to the office untill the Monday before I leave.


Thanks everyone, I feel so much better about emailing a short goodbye and sticking out the last two weeks.
posted by Lizc at 10:13 AM on August 4, 2006

Orangemiles has it right. Do not say anything that won't get you a reference. Wait until you have another job to complain about how you've been treated. Don't burn a bridge, since you don't have a degree, her reference is solid gold.
posted by pomegranate at 12:12 PM on August 4, 2006

I forgot to say you can just call her, they have phones in Austria too.
posted by pomegranate at 12:13 PM on August 4, 2006

Before you quit - uh, who paid for the relocation? If you quit now, is there any way that the company could slap you with a bill/eat your final paycheck?

if your finances are in order, and you're miserable in the current job, then bail and go back to school. If your boss is angsty and cranky, you might not have to worry about burning bridges because once you quit, that bridge will be gone anyway.

A pay cut + more work isn't acceptable. Sorry that you got stuck in that situation.
posted by drstein at 2:16 PM on August 4, 2006


"I made the move on my own (I've been a contractor for these three years, and was verbally promised a full time employment after "doing my time" in the NY office.), driving from CA to NY. "

that doesn't sound like paid relocation to me.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:27 PM on August 4, 2006

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