How do I gracefully quit this job?
December 3, 2007 3:48 PM   Subscribe

I need help with formatting a resignation letter. It's a bit complicated.

I work for a major medication corporation as an IT geek. I've been working here for a few months, after graduating from school this past year. It's a good job with a good pay, far higher than other companies offered me, but it's almost time for me to leave.

I've always wanted to have my own business, and I've finally hit upon an opportunity that I've grabbed that will let me make about 2/3 of what I'm making now, with only 1/2 of the work (officially). Unofficially, I'll be working a few hours a week, and the rest will be free for me. It's an IT contract with an old client of mine, and very lucrative and an awesome opportunity. Between that, my other IT work and a writing business that I'm starting to be overwhelmed with work in, I'm finally in a position to quit my job and make as much and more money than I'm making working my current 8-5.

So, Hive Mind, tell me, how do I write a letter to these nice people who gave me this job? It was a real blessing, and I would have been out on the street if not for it. But I'm through with it. I want my last day to be on or close to January 1st, and I want to draft a letter to give to them in a couple of weeks to prepare for that date. My trouble is that I've only worked here for a few months, we're going through performance reviews/next year's goals and I do, to tell the truth, feel a little bit bad for being here for such a short time and then leaving. But it is a big place, and though the IT department doesn't have a huge turnover, the place as a whole does, I'm sure.

What do I say? Do I tell them thank you for the job? Do I tell them about my businesses? Do I ask them to keep me in mind if they have any contract work they need done? This is my first *real* job, and my first resignation letter I'll be writing, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

(Note: Please don't suggest I stay here any longer. I really hate working for a company, I can't stand working under unnatural light and looking at a grey cube all day and I've worked my arse off the past few months every spare moment I've had to make myself opportunities to get out of here, and I'm not staying any longer than I have to. I *love* working for myself and I'm so excited about doing it. I just need help figuring out how to write a resignation with these slightly odd circumstances in mind.)
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Give them as much notice as possible, explain you have an unanticipated opportunity you can't pass on (they really don't care about the details). Thank them for the chance to work for them.

If you are really interested in working for them in the future, let them know.

Don't over-think this...
posted by HuronBob at 3:58 PM on December 3, 2007

If you like your boss, tell them in person. Thank them. Etc., etc. But there's no need to put it in writing.

Your official resignation letter should say as little as possible.

I, [YOUR NAME], resign from my position as [JOB TITLE], effective January 1st, 2008.

--Your Name

cc: [YOUR HR REP]"

And actually give a copy to your HR rep as well.
posted by Gucky at 3:58 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

If it was me, I would tell my line manager in person, and treat the resignation letter as a quaint formality. Then, just pull it out of the nearest "career advice" book.
posted by Leon at 3:58 PM on December 3, 2007

Tell them that you appreciate the opportunity to work with them, and that you have enjoyed the time you've spent with them. That's all you really need to say to them (other than your last day of work will be Jan 1st).

You did work for them. They paid you. It's a business transaction. Don't get emotional about it. You don't "owe" them anything.
posted by Rabulah at 4:00 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

Gucky is right. By all means discuss this with your manager and colleagues, but the actually letter should say as little as possible, as formally as possible.
posted by caek at 4:04 PM on December 3, 2007

Another vote for short and to the point. You can write people letters about how much you appreciate what they've done for you, etc. But the letter of resignation itself is something different, it's an official document.

I'd ask for a time to meet alone with your boss. When you meet, you explain that you're leaving and why, and express whatever gratitude, etc., you want to express. The letter of resignation is just the formal document needed for the company's paperwork -- it's not how you announce you're leaving.
posted by winston at 4:17 PM on December 3, 2007

Dear Boss,

I, NAME, resign from Company, effective Date.

I've enjoyed the X years I've spent with Company, however I feel that I must pursue new opportunities to further my personal growth. (or "however I have decided to take my career in a different direction" or something similar.)


posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:19 PM on December 3, 2007

Richard Nixon resigned with just one sentence. So can you.
posted by xil at 4:23 PM on December 3, 2007 [4 favorites]

yep, don't worry about it. they'll be mildly annoyed at having trained you just in time to lose you, but whatever. it happens all the time.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:25 PM on December 3, 2007

I'm going with HuronBob on this but I do want to add that I love that you care enough to give this more than a passing thought. I seem to only see contention between employers and employees and rarely see this kind of thoughtfulness. Good luck with your new venture!
posted by susandennis at 4:35 PM on December 3, 2007

Meet with your boss, ask him what to put in the letter so that the people who made the decision to hire you in the first place won't look any worse than they have to.
posted by jamjam at 4:43 PM on December 3, 2007

Huron Bob has it.

Say something like "thanks for the opportunity", throw in some flattering lines about the company and let them know that you do regret leaving after only such a short time with their wonderful company. Telling them you have an unexpected opportunity is optional though, imo.

But as HB said, don't overthink this. People resign from companies all the time, and behind you there's like a thousand people itching for your spot. Not to put too fine a point on this, but they will survive once you leave.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:44 PM on December 3, 2007

Be gracious, and always leave the door open for a return, contract work, or at the very least, a good reference. Thank them for the opportunity, highlight the good points of the job (the team spirit, the learning opportunities, the boss' attitude, the company ethic, whatever), and if possible, offer to be flexible about handover. Leave well.

Do it in person - the letter is just for the files, so keep that short. But have it ready to hand over at that meeting so you can't get suckered in to "thinking about it" if they try and get you to stay. Good luck!
posted by finding.perdita at 5:19 PM on December 3, 2007

While it is not graceful, the pirate resignation letter is always appropriate.
posted by MCTDavid at 6:23 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]

People change their minds and life situations come up all the time. The gratitude will be appreciated, but guilt is not necessary.
posted by salvia at 6:51 PM on December 3, 2007

Don't feel so bad about it, either. Be gracious, appreciative, all that good stuff, but it's all business. If they needed to make major cuts at the end of the year, and couldn't afford you anymore, they would graciously fire you if need be.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:07 PM on December 3, 2007

Like shinynewnick says. Since this is your first job, you've been spared being handed a box and told to pack your stuff and leave immediately because your services are no longer needed. You're very lucky that you know what you want to do (and don't want to do) with your life. Best wishes to you.
posted by Joleta at 9:18 PM on December 3, 2007

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