Skip to main content

These managers share the worst ways employees quit their jobs

You don’t want to leave your job on bad terms; don’t let a grudge turn your career into a dead end.

These managers share the worst ways employees quit their jobs

Breaking up with your boss via email or text message is one thing. (And, sadly, such methods have become commonplace.) But turning in your resignation in the form of a ransom letter, or trashing the office on your way out? Err…talk about making an exit.

“People are all too quick to burn bridges,” says Amy Glaser, senior vice president at worldwide employment agency Adecco Staffing. The reality is leaving in poor form can be detrimental to your career. In fact, according to a 2015 survey by national staffing firm OfficeTeam, nine out of 10 human resources managers say the way employees quit affects their future job opportunities.

We spoke with a few managers about how their former employees made quite the spectacle during their exit and the lessons you can learn should you find yourself in a similar spot.

The office meltdown

“Roughly seven years ago, I had a sales manager that was let go and decided to leave using a scorched-earth technique. He threw a bunch of file folders against the wall, verbally trashed just about everyone on the team, and made a raucous exit as he was walked out. I’d never seen anything like it. My favorite part is that six months ago, he reached out to me via LinkedIn looking for work.” —Bill Fish, president of

What you can learn: Keep potential references happy

“He may have enjoyed that burst of adrenaline—as if he tripped the boy who bullied him in third grade—but think twice about the cost of the momentary satisfaction of 'showing them who’s right,'” says business communication coach Nancy Ancowitz.

Throwing a tantrum could hurt your job opportunities in the future. You may cross paths with colleagues later on in your career, says Glaser. Also, many hiring managers will contact a job candidate’s former boss—even if the person isn’t on your referral sheet—so keep your emotions in check when you quit.  

The subtle—but public—burn

“About a year ago, I hired an entry-level employee who had just graduated with a creative writing degree. While working here, she wrote an article on LinkedIn titled Should I Stay or Should I Go? detailing why you should quit if going to work puts you in a dark, black mood. This was three weeks before she quit my company.” —David Patterson, president of The Kineta Group, Inc.

What you can learn: Vent in private

Put yourself in a future hiring manager’s shoes, says Ancowitz: “Would you hire someone who just publicly aired her dirty laundry—rather than working through her issues privately? How do you know she won’t publicly vent if the going gets rough with you?”

Instead of sharing negative thoughts about an employer publicly, Glaser recommends starting a career journal where you can document your feelings and reflect upon them in the future.

The creepy call-out

“Three years ago, an employee wrote a resignation letter that not only slammed several colleagues but was written in what looked like a ransom letter. All of the characters were different colors, fonts, and sizes. When he delivered the letter, he became extremely hostile, yelling and screaming before he walked out. I didn’t see it coming, since he was typically a happy-go-lucky individual, which made the situation even more disturbing.” —Monica Eaton-Cardone, co-founder and COO of Chargebacks911

What you can learn: Express gratitude, not attitude  

Your resignation letter is an opportunity to thank your boss and co-workers for your experience at the company. “It should be phrased in a way that is diplomatic, constructive and kind,” says Glaser. Rather than express your distaste for the organization, focus on positives like how working directly with clients improved your communication skills.

The ultimate lesson here is that your reputation is at stake when you quit a job. Therefore, leave your boss and co-workers with a great impression. (If only Jerry Maguire realized that before he raided the fish tank.)

Find your next job on Monster. 


Back to top