Pick One of These 7 Ways to Quit a Job
Which method are you most likely to use when you make your grand exit?
If you're wondering how to quit a job, think of it like dating. Quitting your job is like breaking up with a partner. Sometimes you feel terrible about it; other times you feel pretty darn elated to be moving on. Alternately, you could feel overwhelmingly neutral.
Do you find yourself contemplating jumping ship? Listen up. Harvard Business Review outlined seven different methods of quitting that employees use. Monster took a look at the quitting methods and is here to help you understand when it's appropriate to use each one—and when it's not. (For the record, going out in a blaze of swear words is never a good idea.)
How to Quit a Job: Your Options
1. The By-the-Book Quit
What HBR says it is: You meet with your manager to explain why you're leaving, and you give them a standard notice period.
What it might sound like coming out of your mouth: "I've accepted a position with XYZ. It's a step up for me, and I'm looking forward to a new challenge. My final day will be two weeks from now."
When you should use it: Consider this your default approach. It ticks all the boxes: It's respectful, professional, and gives your employer time to prepare for your grand exit. Choose this route when your workplace relationships are generally positive and when you have respect for your job.
When you should not use it: Avoid this method if your time at the company was filled with negative experiences or if you fear retribution from your supervisors. (If that's the case, see further down this list.)
The Grateful Quit
What HBR says it is: Similar to a by-the-book quit, giving notice by this method focuses more on how grateful you are for the opportunity to have worked at the company, and sometimes includes an offer to train a new person.
What it might sound like coming out of your mouth: "I can't believe I'm saying this, because I've loved every second of my time here and I'm so grateful for the opportunities I've been given...but I've accepted a position elsewhere. I will happily help train my replacement."
When you should use it: Use this approach when you want to end your job on a positive note and acknowledge that your supervisor or co-workers have gone above and beyond to make your time at your job really excellent. Offering to train your successor lessens the disruption and makes your manager's life easier. Not to mention, it makes you look super-professional—you don't necessarily have to be this nice, but it sure doesn't hurt your reputation.
When you should not use it: Skip this option if there's any negative vibes between you and your boss. You don't want your show of appreciation to be perceived as disingenuous. That could make your exit more tense than it needs to be.
The In-the-Loop Quit
What HBR says it is: You told your manager a while back that you were looking for a new job or thinking about leaving, eliminating most of the surprise from your final announcement.
What it might sound like coming out of your mouth: "Remember back in June when I told you I was looking for a new job? I found one and accepted their offer. Thanks for being so understanding."
When you should use it: This approach hinges on transparency and helps your manager plan for the immediate future.
When you should not use it: Avoid this approach if you're leaving for a direct competitor or you're concerned about an early dismissal from your current job.
The Perfunctory Quit
What HBR says it is: This is the same as the by-the-book job-quit option, minus the explanation.
What it might sound like coming out of your mouth: "I'm leaving the company. My final day will be in two weeks."
When you should use it: Your employer is not automatically entitled to an explanation about why you're quitting or where you're going next. If you feel like your employer would cause problems for you or attempt to interfere at your next job, this is a recommended approach.
When you should not use it: Avoid this method if you've got a good relationship with your employer and want to maintain that. If you don't give an explanation for why you're leaving your job, your boss may invent one that has nothing to do with the truth. If you're comfortable with them, just being honest.
The Avoidant Quit
What HBR says it is: You leave your manager a note or send them an email, or you tell HR or colleagues and let the message filter back to your manager.
What it might sound like coming out of your mouth: Silence. (That's the point.)
When you should use it: Give this type of notice if your manager is unavailable or unresponsive, whether they're on sick leave, traveling, or simply never responds to your calls.
When you should not use it: Don't use this method just to avoid an awkward conversation. If you're worried your supervisor will behave inappropriately, you can always tell HR first and ask for someone from that department to be present when you inform your manager.
The Impulsive Quit
What HBR says it is: You haven't thought about how to quit a job. There was no planning, you didn't give notice, and instead you just quit in a hurry and left your company to worry about filling your spot.
What it might sound like coming out of your mouth: Nothing. You leave one day and never look back.
When you should use it: If your employer has a history of unethical behavior or has created a truly toxic or unsafe work environment, ghosting is acceptable.
When you should not use it: If you're on good terms with your employer and want to maintain that after you leave. Ghosting will definitely kill that. Also, if you're living paycheck to paycheck, you don't want to leave on a whim. Prepare for it. Set yourself up so that you have enough money to live on while you're finding your next job.
The Bridge-Burning Quit
What HBR says it is: You attempt to sabotage the company or your co-workers, often with verbal assaults or other unsavory maneuvers on your way out.
What it might sound like coming out of your mouth: Expletives and insults. (This is sometimes done via email or social media, too).
When you should use it: Cursing is always bad form, regardless of your situation, but bridge burning isn't necessarily verboten. The single reason you may want to burn bridges is if maintaining a relationship with the people in your company would somehow have an adverse effect on your long-term career goals or personal brand. If your company is undergoing a public investigation or known to be an abusive environment, it's understandable for you to sever those ties as thoroughly as possible.
When you should not use it: Knowing how to quit a job requires tact. No matter how upset or discouraged you are with your manager or company, don't use your departure as an opportunity to vent all your frustrations. This won't accomplish anything, and it leaves people with a lasting negative impression of you, which can come back to haunt you.
Get a Head Start on Your New Job
Knowing how to quit a job will be a lot easier if you have a new one to run to after you cut ties with your current company. It's common knowledge that this route is better than looking for a job while unemployed. That's why you should always be looking for new opportunities—you never know when you'll suddenly (or not so suddenly) need to jump ship, and having a few prospects to fall back on will help you feel more secure in quitting. Ready to make some headway? Monster can help you get your resume in shape, connect you to recruiters, and send you custom job alerts to make the process easier. The sooner you take action, the sooner you'll see rewards.