How to quit your job the right way

It is 8:30 AM. You have only been in the office for 15 minutes, but is already dreading the work ahead of you. Another day to grind through of answering 80 to 100 calls and emails from customers and your bosses.

Frequent day dreams about the weekend and partying with your colleagues keep you sane. But no matter how much fun the previous weekend was, you always feel drained and unenthusiastic to go back to work on Monday.

How to properly quit

Probably you’ve previously felt tempted to tell your boss that you’re quitting. Maybe you even considered just not showing up the next day.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling apathetic and unengaged at work, as long as you don’t let these feelings affect your career and finances. After all, what will resigning accomplish, if you’re so desperate for cash that you end up in a worse job?

1. Mulling it Over

Don’t Quit Your Job Without Trying to Make it Work

Wondering what to do when you want to quit your job? You have to think things over first.

Like a relationship, you shouldn’t quit a job before doing your best to make it work.

A little introspection goes a long way here. Ask yourself:

  • Can transferring to a different team or department make you happier?
  • Would you be more comfortable with a different schedule?
  • Do you think your salary isn’t commensurate to your workload or contributions to the company?
  • Do you have any grievances with your boss or coworkers?

Once you find out what makes you unhappy, schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss the issues. Try not to be accusatory when you bring these up, even if the problem lies with your boss. And if you can, come up with two possible solutions so your boss won’t feel that you’re just complaining.

Your manager’s willingness to make things work is a good indication that you’re a valued employee, and there’s hope for your situation within the company.

Pro Tip: Don’t tell your boss about your plans to resign. Doing this is like hanging the resignation over their head, and will likely result in burned bridges and an unexpected termination.

Write a Pros and Cons List of Your Job

But what if the root of the problem is something beyond you or your boss’s control?

Now is the time to consider other employment options.

The first thing to do when you hate your job, and there’s no way to fix it, is find out exactly what you dislike about it. Be specific because every bit of info serves as a clue to finding a career you’ll love—or at least won’t hate as much.

Create a pros and cons list detailing every aspect of your work, such as:

  • Schedule
  • Management support
  • Your boss’s leadership style: micro manager or hands-off leadership style
  • Salary
  • Career advancement and learning opportunities
  • Employee benefits: 401K, healthcare, daycare, gym, etc.
  • People that annoy you or make your work harder
  • Tasks you love
  • Tasks you find boring
  • Tasks you’re underpaid for or beyond your job description
  • Company red tape you don’t like
  • Comments about your coworkers

Nothing is too petty to be included in this list, because this depends on your individual situation at work. One person may find admin tasks a welcome break from excess brain draining work, while another employee might not have enough analytical work and complain of the ‘too easy’ and repetitive tasks on their plate.

Let the items on your pro list serve as a guidepost in finding an ideal job that fits you best, while you avoid jobs with items on the negative list.

Know Your Losses and Plan for It

Your budget and savings will take a hit the moment you resign.  

How soon you can get a new job depends on your industry, market demand for your skills, and desired salary. Keep in mind: 

Money Constraints

If you have no savings, you’ll soon feel anxious and start missing the paycheck that came with your previous job. On the other hand, having a sizable savings account buys you time to look for a job you’ll like, without worrying about your rent, groceries, and other utilities.

In both cases, having a monthly budget will show you how long your money will last. Worried your funds won’t last until you find another job? Limit unnecessary expenses, such as eating out and shopping, or find a part time job.

2. Preparing to Jump Ship

Don’t Slack Off

Working hard when you hate your job is hard. It’s even harder if you have to do that while searching for your next employer, but just bear with it. Don’t take unnecessary absences and don’t slack off on your current projects. You might get reprimanded or fired before you’re ready to go. 

It’s better to handle this situation professionally. Even if you can get away with sloppy work and tardiness, you’ll regret it once a potential employer conducts a background search on you.

Send job applications and schedule interviews after office hours. Tell the recruiters you’ll need to work with them to keep things under wraps. They will understand. If you have no choice, use available leave days for interviews when your schedule isn’t compatible with interviewer’s availability.

It’s also good to pace yourself. Don’t schedule too many interviews in the same week, or when you’re rushing to deliver a project on time at your current job.

Vent Your Frustrations in a Trusted Crowd

Want to know how to cope with hating your job? Share your problems to people close to you. Be selective though.

Don’t tell al your buddies about your grievances with your job and boss. They may be trustworthy, but you never know who else is listening in on your conversation.

It’s also unwise to rant on social media networks. Twitter posts are searchable online and almost anyone can view your Twitter feed. You can edit your post’s publicity settings on Facebook. But this can’t guarantee mutual friends you have with your boss and coworkers won’t see your rants, and tell on you.

This doesn’t mean you can’t vent, just choose your audience carefully. Share your feelings with non-office friends over a cup of coffee, or talk to coworkers who already left the company because of the same problems you’re having.  While complaining won’t fix anything, it’s a good outlet for pent up frustrations. You’ll feel better afterwards.

Save Everything You’ll Need for the Job Search

Send non-proprietary information about work to your personal email. This includes documents that can be included in your portfolio, certificates of training sessions, awards won, and information about previous projects that can be included in your resume. The same goes for business cards, email addresses, personal email and contact information of coworkers and your boss, in case you need information about a project you worked on.

Some companies are stringent about allowing resigned employees back in the office, so collect everything you’ll need, along with your personal effects on your last day. Consider everything you leave behind inaccessible the moment you leave the office.

Prepare Your Resume and Cover Letter

Use the information you gathered in the previous step to update your resume. If yours is already two pages, remove old employment details and unnecessary skills (i.e. MS Word) to make room for your latest career achievements

A quick update won’t be enough if you’re aiming for a bigger salary, a promotion, or a career transition. That calls for better care in writing your resume. Why?

For a recruiter or HR manager to give you what you want, you must first prove that you’re worth it, and the first step to accomplish that is to write a resume that depicts you as a high-value and in demand candidate.

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Start Your Job Search

Start your job search discreetly, and don’t broadcast that you’re looking for a job on LinkedIn. Instead, check general and niche job boards, and send private messages to recruiters you’ve worked with in the past via LinkedIn. You can also reach out to your alma mater’s career office to see what kind of opportunities they have available.

Aim for quality, not quantity in your job applications. You’ll have a better chance of getting an interview with a tailored resume and personalized cover letter.

Interview Like a Pro

Off the cuff answers feel more natural but free styling makes you prone to mistakes, embarrassing moments, or worse—awkward silence.

You don’t want the recruiter to think you’re not comfortable explaining your work, right? Because that’s the impression you create when you ramble and forget what to say.

Avoid all this with research and practice. Look up typical interview questions for your target job then write your answers to them. 

You don’t have to recite the answers on the actual interview. Just read them a few times one day before and an hour before the interview, so you can easily recall vital points in case you get stuck.

An interview is a two way street, so interviewers expect good applicants to have a few questions of their own.

3. After Securing a New Job

Keep it Professional

Whatever your reasons for resigning, keep it professional. Don’t humiliate your boss, or make it embarrassing for your co-workers. Going out in a blaze of glory isn’t the best way to quit a job, no matter how badass it feels.

How to Properly Quit a Job in 4 Steps:

  1. Write a professional resignation letter thanking your boss for everything you’ve learned while working together. Keep complaints and grievances to yourself.
  2. Hand over your resignation to your boss or to their assistant. You can also send it via email, but giving it in person is best.
  3. Your boss will likely talk to you after reading the letter. Depending on your skills and the difficulty to fill your position, you will either be asked to reconsider your decision or be permitted to move on after rendering the notice required in your contract.
  4. Ask for a recommendation letter. 

Whatever you do, don’t tell your boss about your new job. While I assume most supervisors want the best for their employees, this isn’t always the case. So leave nothing to chance.

Some companies conduct exit interviews to uncover trends in employee attrition. This is normally conducted by HR or a third-party company, so you can divulge your reasons for leaving. But don’t be too critical, as parts of this interview might be shared to your boss as part of the company’s improvement efforts.

Give the Required Time Notice

Render the required notice time indicated in your job contract. It’s normally two weeks, but I’ve heard of companies that require up to one month of notice.

Use this time to help your supervisor find and train your replacement. Wrap up pending projects and if possible, create a manual or hand off document to make the life of your replacement easier.

Resist the Counter Offer

I’ve seen this multiple times: an employee resigns but is dissuaded from leaving because of a counter offer.

It never ends well.


Management will think of you as flight risk who’s not loyal to the company. They will also doubt your career goals, because an increased salary was enough to lure you back. On top of all that, management has higher expectations because you’re now paid more than your peers. Unless your performance breaks your previous record, management will think the added salary they offered you isn’t giving the returns they expect. 

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This is quite an insightful article, Mwangaza.


Thank you Sylvia

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