1. Career Advice
  2. Career Change
  3. Taking steps in your career? Here's how to quit a job the right way!
Taking steps in your career? Here's how to quit a job the right way!

Taking steps in your career? Here's how to quit a job the right way!

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • What is a good reason to quit your job?
  • What is quiet quitting?
  • What is a toxic job?
  • Before you quit
  • How to quit politely and professionally
  • Can I leave a job after one week without notice?
  • Is it OK to quit a job without notice?
  • What happens if I don't give two weeks’ notice?
  • How to write a resignation letter
  • What not to include in the letter
  • Sample documents
  • Key takeaways

Are you ready to leave your job? If so, there are ways to do it that can keep your relationships solid and your career intact. Here are the key things you need to know to quit a job the right way.

The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit, was a movement of employees quitting their jobs in large numbers in late 2020 and into 2021 once the restrictions started to ease up from the COVID-19 pandemic. The quit rate nearly doubled from 1.6% in early 2020 to approximately 3% in late 2021. (What Is the Great Resignation? Definition, Causes & Impact - TheStreet)

While the Great Resignation was a movement of workers shifting the power dynamics by quitting their jobs, the how and why they quit their jobs also became a focus.

If done professionally, quitting a job the right way can mitigate any negative impact on your career.

In this article, you will discover:

  • What is a good reason to quit your job?

  • What is quiet quitting?

  • What is a toxic job?

  • What to consider before you quit

  • How to quit politely and professionally

  • How to write a resignation letter

  • Sample documents

What is a good reason to quit your job?

Quitting a job is not a decision taken lightly, and there are several reasons to quit. Here are 10 situations that can have you leave your job.

  1. You have a better offer with higher pay.

  2. There is no room for career advancement.

  3. You are a victim of discrimination.

  4. The company is involved in illegal and unethical actions.

  5. The company cultivates a toxic environment.

  6. Your career goals have changed.

  7. There was a shift in priorities where you and the company are no longer in alignment.

  8. A major event has happened in your life.

  9. The company is downsizing.

  10. You have learned all you can at the company, and you have become stagnated in your career.

Set your career goals and create your next steps toward career success.

Career.io – Changing Careers Worldwide

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting (also known as soft quitting) is not actually quitting. Quiet quitting is a term used for employees who do the bare minimum of work required. This group of workers does not see the benefit of going above and beyond the requirements of the job description because they feel their efforts are not recognized or rewarded.

According to the Business Insider, “The phrase first picked up steam on TikTok, workers' new digital town square. In essence, quiet quitting is doing your job as it's written — and maintaining firm boundaries otherwise. That means no overtime and prioritizing the bare minimum requirements. For many workers, it's a way to make work more sustainable in the long term.”

What is a toxic job?

Research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) concluded that a toxic work environment does the following:

  • Hurts employee engagement

  • Promotes the spreading of negative energy to other co-workers

  • Leads to unnecessary stress, burnout, depression, and anxiety among workers

According to the research paper, “A toxic workplace environment is a description of the relationship between workers and the workplace. There are two types of workplace environments previously identified by researchers: a collaborative work environment and a toxic work environment. 

A collaborative work environment is a friendly place with the right mix of pleasure, involvement, and organizational citizenship behavior. A toxic workplace environment is defined by narcissistic behavior; offensive, and aggressive leadership; threatening behavior from managers and co-workers; and harassment, bullying, and ostracism.”

Resigning from a toxic environment is a must for anyone looking to be a part of a positive and collaborative work environment and for the sake of their overall health.

Before you quit

Whether to quit a job is never an easy decision. As a matter of fact, there are several factors you should consider before quitting your job.

1. What is your reason for quitting?

Before quitting your job, take time and think through the reasons why you want to leave. Make sure your decision is based on sound reasoning and not just on emotions.

2. Do you have another job lined up?

Before you quit your job, do you have a signed offer letter with a start date with a new company, or is your plan to search for a new job after quitting?

3. Are you financially able to quit?

You must determine if you have enough savings to sustain yourself and your family for a time if you quit. It doesn’t matter whether you’ll be job hunting after quitting or starting a new position right away–there most likely will be a break in your incoming pay.

4. Will there be an employment gap in your resume?

Once you quit, will there be a gap in your resume? While this may not be an immediate thought or a deciding factor, gaps in a resume will need to be addressed during the job search and in an interview.

5. Will your 401k and stock options be affected?

Will you lose out and leave money on the table if the company matches your 401k contributions? Will your stock options be fully vested at the time of your departure? If not, you could be losing thousands of dollars.  

6. Are there any legal ramifications?

If you are under contract with your employer to work a certain length of time and decide to quit, there could be legal consequences. Also, if you have a “non-compete” agreement, you narrow your options when looking for a new job. 

7. Education reimbursement program

One perk that many companies offer is an education reimbursement program. These companies are more than willing to invest in your professional development. But with this great perk comes a tradeoff. In exchange for the company paying for your education, certification, or license, you agree to remain with the company for a specified time. If you decide to leave before that end date, you are responsible for repaying the company. 

8. How long will your health plan cover you?

When you resign, do you have a plan in place for health coverage? When an employee resigns, paid company health benefits expire immediately or at the end of the month.

Now, let’s dig deeper into how to quit a job.

How to quit politely and professionally

1. Give at least two weeks’ notice.

Although most states are employment-at-will, giving your boss and the company a two-week notice when leaving is a very polite thing to do as it will allow him or her to transition your workload and begin the search for your replacement. Believe it or not, how you leave your current employer says a lot about you to your new employer. Your new employer will want you to give a two-week notice as well.  

2. Schedule a time to meet with your boss

When you resign, it is polite to meet with your boss to inform him or her in person that you are leaving the company. This should be a sit-down meeting and not a “pop your head in the door” encounter. As a professional, treat this meeting as any other important meeting with your boss and schedule the appropriate amount of time.

3. Meet with your boss face-to-face

Meeting with your boss face-to-face is a professional way to resign. It will not only inform your boss that you are leaving but it will also permit your boss to ask questions. The meeting will provide you the opportunity to express your appreciation for what you have learned during your time with the company and what your contribution has meant to you.

Expert Tip

Because not all team members are co-located, you may need to hold your meeting with your boss via phone or online (i.e., Zoom). Because this is a virtual meeting, you will send your resignation letter electronically (email) after the meeting.

4. Write a formal resignation letter.

Is it necessary to write a resignation letter? Yes, it is. It's an official document that is the best way to give official notice you want to leave your job.

5. Train your replacement.

If time allows during your last two weeks of work, you should offer to train your replacement. Just think about your first day of work and how nervous you were in a new position and environment. 

While you may have the technical know-how to perform the duties, each company does things differently regarding processes and procedures. Helping the new employee get acclimated is the polite thing to do. Introduce the person to the team, point out key stakeholders, and the one go-to person that gets things done. Do this even if it’s just a temporary person filling in so the work continues smoothly when you leave.

6. Say goodbye to your team.

Depending on how long you have been with the company, chances are you have developed some great relationships. Try and have a brief conversation or send an email to everyone notifying them that you are leaving the company and when your last day of work will be. Let them know that you appreciate them and you would like to stay connected via LinkedIn.

7. Keep your exit professional.

No matter the reason for your decision to quit the job, always remain professional, and exit with grace. At this point, you are starting a new chapter in your career; let bygones be bygones. Even if the work environment was toxic, it is best to say nothing as you leave than to share every bad thought and emotion that has built up inside of you over the years.  

Can I leave a job after one week without notice?

Yes, you can leave a job after one week without notice. No federal or state law says you must give notice when quitting, and most states follow the rule of employment-at-will.

Is it OK to quit a job without notice?

Now that we have established that you do not need to give notice when you quit, the question now turns to whether it is ok to quit a job without notice. The answer is no, it is not ok to quit a job without giving proper notice. You want to remain professional no matter the circumstances; this includes submitting a two-week notice when quitting a job.

  • As a professional, you want to tie up any loose ends and leave the position in a better place for your replacement than when you started.

  • A professional does not ghost an employer but provides their boss time to transition the workload to other team members.

  • A professional will think about the team and provide as much assistance before leaving as possible to ensure a smooth transition.

What happens if I don't give two weeks’ notice?

It depends on factors like whether you are under contract or have a non-compete clause. We have already established that most states are at-will employment, so “technically” nothing will happen if you leave without notice.

However, with that said, there are some possible career repercussions.

  • You may want to come back to the company in the future. Leaving the company in the lurch without notice could sour them and reduce your chances of being rehired.

  • You may want a professional recommendation. Not providing the company with a two-week notice may all but close the door on your request.

  • The HR world can be a tight-knit community. If an HR representative from a potential employer knows another HR representative from your current company, chances are they will get the uncut truth about your time with your previous employer and your level of professionalism.

In short, you should always conduct yourself as a professional when quitting–which means giving the proper notice.

How to write a resignation letter

To repeat: When quitting a job, it is vital that you communicate it in the right way: in person and with an official resignation letter. The letter will act as an official two-week notice and should  be handed to your boss whenever possible.

Here are some helpful tips for a professional resignation letter.

  • Keep it brief and concise.

  • Keep it professional and positive.

  • The first paragraph should state the purpose of the letter: your intent to resign.

  • The second paragraph should express your willingness to help with a smooth transition.

  • The third paragraph should express how grateful you are for the opportunities provided in the role and during your time with the organization.

  • Finally, conclude by thanking your manager and providing the team and organization well wishes moving forward and perhaps asking to maintain a professional relationship with your manager via LinkedIn.

NOTE: While you can add a sentence about why you are leaving (i.e., pay increase or title change), you do not have to add your reasons.

Know that you will have an opportunity to provide more context behind your quitting with the exit interview. It will provide the company insight into what competitors are doing differently and what the company can do better to increase their employee retention rate.What not to put in a resignation letter

What not to include in the letter

Grievance against the company

  • The resignation letter is not the place to air grievances or unload on management, with negative feelings built up over time.

  • Do not speak ill of co-workers.

Negative emotions

  • Do not express anger or threatening language in the resignation letter.

  • Again, you will have time to professionally express your thoughts and feelings in the exit interview.

Sample documents

Here is a sample letter requesting a meeting with your boss.


Resignation Meeting Request (Hard Copy or Email)

Subject Line: Meeting Request

Dear Mr./Ms. [Manager’s Name],

I would like to request a meeting and get on your calendar this week. I have a personal matter I need to discuss with you, and it will take no longer than 15 minutes.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

[Your Name]

Next is a sample email resignation letter.


Resignation Email Sample

Hi [Manager’s Name]:


This is to inform you that I have decided to accept another job offer, and my last day with [Company Name] will be [Day, Month, Date, Year].


To help make a smooth transition over the next two weeks, I have updated and documented my project status, and I am more than willing to help train my replacement.


I want to thank you and [Company Name] for the opportunity to be a part of an amazing team, and I am very proud of the work we accomplished together.


I will submit my formal letter of resignation by the end of today. (If done virtually)


Again, thank you, and I hope we can stay connected through LinkedIn, and hopefully our paths will cross again.

[Your Name]

This is a sample resignation letter.


Formal Resignation Letter Sample:


[Current date]  

Dear Mr./Ms. [Manager’s Name],  

Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from my role as [Position Title] with [Company Name]. As I am tendering my two-week notice, my last day will be [ Day, Month, Date, Year].  

To help make the transition seamless, I have created a list of ongoing projects with POC’s, status, and next steps. In addition, I am more than happy to assist with any on the job training for my replacement during my final two weeks on the job.

I would like to thank you and [Company Name] as I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities provided to me during my [Number] years with such an amazing organization. I have gained valuable experience and developed many professional relationships, and I will always be eternally grateful for my time here at [Company Name].

I wish you, the team, and [Company Name] all the best, and I hope our paths will cross again in the future. 


[Your Name] 

Key takeaways

  1. Quitting a job is not a decision that should be taken lightly.

  2. Review your specific reasons for leaving to be sure it’s the right decision for you and not an emotional reflex.

  3. There is no state or federal law that says you must give notice when quitting. Most states are recognized as at-will employment.

  4. You want to remain professional when leaving, no matter the circumstances, including submitting a two-week notice and telling your boss in person.

  5. Always submit an official resignation letter. 

Share this article