If the signs you’re ready to change jobs are about as subtle as Dianne Abbott drinking a tinny on the overground and you’ve reached that point where dragging yourself to your desk each day feels like a genuine insult to your existence, once you find a new job it can be tempting to flip the bird at your toxic boss and hotfoot it out of there in an fiery blaze of glory.
Tempting? Yes. Advisable? Absolutely not. Repeat after us: never burn your bridges (especially not in an industry like travel and hospitality, where everyone knows everyone). As a wise little bunny once said, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.”
Here’s how to quit your job without being an a***hole.
And by ‘workmates’, we mean anyone (including Sandra the cleaner who you have DMCs with after hours) – that is, until after you’ve told your boss and checked they’re happy for you to talk about it in the office. No matter how much you swear people to secrecy, one rule of the universe is: gossip spreads.
Before you know it, your boss will have heard you’re leaving – just not from you. And if there’s one way to p*** off your current employer, that’s it. Not only can you wave goodbye to any glowing reference you once might have got, you’re also making damn sure they’ll never welcome you back (you never know where the perfect job might come up in the future) or put in a good word for you among industry friends.
So keep schtum, yeah?
First, make sure in your own head they’re the best reasons for quitting a job, because once you take the leap, there might be no going back. Of course, you might get a counter-offer – in which case, consider what it would take for you to be happy staying? But it’s never a good idea to ‘quit’ in an attempt to get a pay-rise/promotion/the window desk… Your boss might just call your bluff.
Next, tidy those ranty thoughts into a more palatable version (one that preferably won’t land you on the s**t-list forever more) for your boss. For example:
Working for you is awful = I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had here
I’m done working late every night = I’ve reflected on my career goals
I hate every minute in this place = I’ve found another exciting opportunity
You tight a***s won’t pay my worth = I’ve been offered a higher salary
Get the picture? To reiterate: this isn’t an invitation to b**** and moan about your job, your team, or your company – believe us, that’ll bite you in the bum. Hold your head up high and go with grace and style like the extraordinary diva you are.
Wondering how to quit a job over email, or how to quit a job over the phone? The answer is: don’t.
Yes, you need to write a letter of resignation (we’ll get to that), but don’t be thinking about emailing this to your boss with no warning or, worse, dumping it passive-aggressively on their desk. *facepalm* Either of these options are bona fide a***hole moves.
Be a grown-up and schedule an in-person meeting (or video call if you work completely remotely), where you can politely and positively let your boss know you’re planning to hand in your notice and explain your reasons for leaving. Which brings us to…
If you’re on good terms with your manager (which hopefully you are, if you’ve followed our advice so far) they might even go through your resignation letter with you and suggest any edits before it’s submitted to HR. But it’s best to assume anything you write will be seen by the highest powers – here’s how to write a resignation letter:
Include the date – this might be letter-writing 101, but it’s important to record the date you resigned to avoid any ambiguity
Clearly explain that you’re resigning (preferably) in the first line – you don’t want any confusion over this
Confirm your notice period (as per your contract) and outline the date of your last day – this is especially important if you’re giving more notice for any reason
Explain why you’re leaving – to be clear, we mean the boss-appropriate reason; remember: positivity breeds positivity
Say something nice – WWTD (What Would Thumper Do)? Practice gratitude by thanking your employer for the opportunity/the experiences/everything you’ve learned etc.
Ask if your boss can give you a reference – unless you and they are just about tolerating each other at this point, in which case that probably won’t end well
Offer to help make the changeover smooth – whether you’re handing over to a new or existing employee, try not to throw them under a bus, yeah?
Need an example of what to say when you quit your job? Et voila:
Dear [your boss’ name],
I’m writing to let you know I’m resigning from my role as [your role] at [company name]. Since my contractual notice period is [your notice period], my last day will be [date of your last day].
Having reflected on my career goals, I’ve found another exciting opportunity with a higher salary. But I’m really grateful for [everything I’ve learned/the experiences I’ve had/the team I’ve been part of] at [company name].
I would really appreciate it if you could provide a reference for me. From my side, I’ll do anything I can to make the changeover as smooth as possible.
So you’ve handed in your notice, and now you’ve mentally checked out. But you know who does your work if you don’t? Your teammates – including whoever’s taking your place when you leave, whether that’s a new or existing recruit.
We know it’s a hard push to stay motivated once you’re dreaming of pastures new (especially if you’re working a three-month notice), but it pays to try. Aside from the fact your glowing reference might depend on it, you also never know when those teammates you’re screwing over are going to pop up again in your career… And what did we say about burning bridges?
So, be a darl’ and wrap up those projects, write some useful handover notes (or train your replacement if you can), then send a gooey email to your team and put a tin of biscuits in the kitchen on your last day. The universe will repay you.
Shock, horror: has your report just handed in their notice? We can help you find their replacement – find out how.
And finally, our Talent Consultant, Jack Williams (he/him) is here to spill the piping hot tea on companies who refer to themselves as a family below: