How To Tell Your Boss You’re Quitting (+tips for easing anxiety)

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What to do before speaking with your boss 

1. Why are you leaving? 

When it comes to thinking about what to say when asked why you’re leaving, striking the right balance is key. 

While it’s important to provide some explanation, it’s equally crucial to maintain a level of privacy. Remember, brevity is your friend in this situation. Your boss probably doesn’t need to hear all the details about your glamorous new job or the myriad reasons why you’re leaving.

Instead, focus on providing a concise and professional response. Think about a simple, truthful answer that reflects positively on both you and the company. For example, you can mention that you’re seeking new challenges and growth opportunities that align with your long-term career goals. 

This shows ambition and a desire to continue developing your skills. By keeping your response brief and focused, you convey a sense of professionalism and respect for the conversation, while maintaining a level of privacy that can help preserve relationships and avoid unnecessary tension.

2. Consider whether you’re open to negotiation 

Before initiating a conversation with your boss about quitting, it’s important to consider whether you’re open to negotiations. Take a moment to reflect on the reasons behind your resignation. Are any of the issues tied to salary or position? If so, you may want to evaluate if you’re open to a counteroffer from your current employer.

By being open to negotiation, you effectively position yourself for a potential performance appraisal. This can be an opportunity to address any concerns and explore possibilities for improvement within your current role. You need to approach this conversation with a clear mindset and a solid understanding of your own value.

However, it’s equally important to make a firm decision beforehand. If you’ve already made up your mind and are committed to leaving, negotiating might not be the best course of action. Trust your judgment and remember that your career growth and personal wellbeing should be your top priorities. 

Ultimately, the decision rests in your hands, and considering negotiation as an option can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your goals.

3. Have a last day in mind

Before discussing your resignation with your boss, you need to have a last day in mind. Consider a few key questions: Do you have another job lined up? Are you feeling burnt out and need of a break?

Having a planned last day allows you to make a smooth transition from one job to another. It provides a sense of clarity and helps you manage your time effectively. If you have a new job, you can coordinate your start date with your current employer to ensure a seamless transition.

If you’re feeling burnt out, it’s essential to prioritize your wellbeing. Consider scheduling a vacation or time off between jobs. This will give you a chance to recharge and start your new role with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

The standard practice is to provide a two-week notice when resigning, but there are situations where you may want to give more or less time. 

If you have a good relationship with your employer and want to help with the transition, offering more notice can be appreciated. On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a contentious resignation or a toxic work environment, it’s important to prioritize your mental health and consider giving a shorter notice period.

Your decision about your last day should align with your personal circumstances and needs. Take the time to evaluate your situation and make the choice that best serves your career and wellbeing.

4. Write your official resignation notice 

Writing your official resignation notice before speaking to your boss about quitting is crucial for several reasons. First, it adds a level of formality and professionalism to the process. Second, it serves as documentation of your intent to resign, protecting you from any potential issues that may arise.

To get you started, here are some tips on what to include in your resignation notice:

  1. Clearly state your intention to resign: Begin your notice by stating that you’re resigning from your position. Be concise and direct, leaving no room for ambiguity.
  2. Provide an effective last day: Specify the date which you intend to make your departure official. This allows your employer to plan for the transition and ensures a smooth handover of your responsibilities.
  3. Express gratitude and offer assistance: Show appreciation for the opportunities and experiences you’ve had with the company. Offer your assistance during the transition period, highlighting your commitment to leaving on good terms.

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Remember, your resignation notice should be professional, respectful, and concise. It’s also wise to keep a copy of the notice for your records. By having a written resignation notice, you establish a clear and documented record of your decision, which can be important for legal purposes or future references.

Now that you know how to tell your boss you’re leaving with grace and professionalism, it’s time to consider how you want to deliver the news to them. In the next sections, we’ll cover two ways to do that: Over email and in person.

Quitting over email


Quitting over email can be a simpler and more convenient option for those intending to send their resignation letter. By following the three tips mentioned earlier, you can make the process straightforward and effective.

While resigning over email may lack the personal touch of a face-to-face conversation, it can still be done professionally and respectfully. Keep the email concise, yet informative, and maintain a polite tone throughout.

Remember, always follow any specific guidelines or protocols set by your company regarding resignation procedures. If email is an accepted and appropriate method for resignation, leverage its simplicity and efficiency to communicate your decision effectively.

Quitting In Person

Quitting your job in person is necessary because it allows for a more personal and respectful exchange. While it may feel uncomfortable, following a few simple steps can help you handle the situation gracefully.

1. Be polite and firm

This ensures a smooth transition and maintains professional relationships. While it may seem challenging, this approach can help you navigate the conversation with confidence and grace.

Politeness is essential because it shows respect for your employer and colleagues. Remember, burning bridges is never a good idea. And you never know when your paths may cross again. Being polite demonstrates maturity and professionalism, leaving a positive impression even as you move on.

At the same time, firmness is equally important. Stand by your decision to resign and avoid wavering or being easily swayed. Clearly communicate your reasons for leaving and remain steadfast in your conviction. This sends a message that you have carefully considered your options and are committed to your decision.

While it’s important to be polite and firm, it doesn’t mean you have to be overly serious. Injecting some light humor can help diffuse tension and create a more relaxed atmosphere. However, be mindful of the context and ensure your humor is appropriate and doesn’t undermine the seriousness of the situation.

2. Express gratitude for the employment opportunity 

Expressing gratitude shows that you acknowledge the time, effort, and resources invested in your growth and development. It highlights your professionalism and helps foster goodwill, even as you announce your departure. 

This can be particularly important if you anticipate a potentially contentious resignation.

Expressing gratitude also creates a positive atmosphere for open and honest communication. It paves the way for a more constructive dialogue, enabling you to discuss your reasons for leaving with clarity and empathy. 

This can lead to a smoother transition and potentially leave the door open for future collaborations or references.

3. Discuss facilitating the transition 

Discussing your transition ensures a smooth and seamless handover of your responsibilities. Is there a replacement available? Do you need to provide documentation on your work processes? Do you have clients and projects that you need to hand off?

Offering to train your replacement, if one is readily available, allows you to share your knowledge, insights, and expertise and help the new hire quickly adapt to their role and contribute effectively. 

Additionally, providing documentation of your work processes and procedures for internal use can be immensely valuable. This documentation serves as a resource for your colleagues, enabling them to navigate your projects and responsibilities smoothly. 

If applicable, taking the initiative to wrap up loose ends and ensure a smooth transfer of projects and clients can alleviate potential concerns and demonstrate your dedication to maintaining strong relationships.

Remember to approach these discussions with a positive and helpful attitude. Offer your assistance and expertise willingly, and be open to suggestions or feedback from your employer. 

Maintain a constructive and collaborative tone throughout the transition process. This will leave a lasting positive impression and help build on a professional and amicable relationship with your employer even after you’ve moved on.

4. Check about using your boss as a future reference

If you’ve had a great working relationship with your boss, it’s important to lay the groundwork for accessing their support in future job search efforts. How? By expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to work together and your intention to maintain a professional connection.

This sets the stage for discussing the possibility of using them as a reference in the future. It’s a win-win situation as you benefit from their endorsement, and they can take pride in the role they played in your professional development.

If you’re currently looking for a job, consider asking for a letter of recommendation. A well-crafted reference letter can save time and effort when potential employers request references, allowing you to provide a strong endorsement from a trusted source. 

What if your boss asks you to stay?

This is an opportunity for negotiation and potentially improving your current situation. If you’re open to the idea of staying, you can use this as a chance to discuss higher pay, better benefits, or any other changes that would make you reconsider your departure.

However, it’s best to have thought about this ahead of time so you can fully consider what terms would be acceptable. If you need more time to think, don’t hesitate to ask for it. You shouldn’t feel pressured to come up with numbers or a decision on the spot.

Engage in a constructive dialogue with your boss, express your gratitude for the offer, and acknowledge their interest in retaining you. Make sure you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision so you can weigh the potential benefits against your original reasons for wanting to leave.

Choosing to leave a job and start a new role is a big decision that has a huge impact on your life. Here’s how you can avoid making big mistakes:

Congratulations, you’ve tackled the hardest part!

Now that you’ve uncovered all the key tips on how to tell your boss you’re quitting while maintaining a good relationship with them, it’s time to embark on your next adventure. 

Whether it’s pursuing a new job, starting your own business, or taking a well-deserved break, remember that quitting your job is just the beginning of an exciting journey. 

By following the tips and strategies we’ve discussed, you can navigate the process of telling your boss with confidence and ease.

As you move forward, keep in mind that change often brings new opportunities and possibilities. Embrace the unknown and trust in your abilities to adapt and thrive. Don’t be afraid to dream big and set ambitious goals for yourself. 

Cheers to your next chapter!

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