Strategies to help you quit the job you hate

Every situation is unique, but you can use these tips as guidelines to help ease your way.

Strategies to help you quit the job you hate

Be organized and professional when quitting your job.

If you’re giving off “I hate my job” vibes to the point where the phrase may as well be stamped on your forehead, you're probably counting down the seconds until you quit. After all, with so many job opportunities out there today, why stay put when you can move on to greener pastures?

While it’s great that you’re so eager to make a change, resist the urge to run out the door and leave everyone in your dust. Tact still counts. Use these approaches en route to the nearest exit.

Be discreet

When you’re unhappy at work, venting to co-workers for emotional support is a natural stress reliever. But that’s very different from announcing your plans to quit, especially if your boss finds out, warns Ashley Stahl, a millennial career and business coach. Workplace etiquette 101: Break the news to your manager before telling your co-workers. The other way around is very bad form.

Pro tip: Ask your boss how she’d like you to notify the rest of the team. “Some managers want to be the person who delivers the news,” says Stahl.

Don’t go on a rant

Rest assured, your boss is going to want to know why you’re leaving, but saying, “I hate it here”—or some variation of that sentiment—will only burn bridges, says Amy Glaser, senior vice president at worldwide employment agency Adecco Staffing.

Instead of making it about what you dislike about your job, explain why you couldn’t resist your new job opportunity. By presenting it that way, “your boss will be more receptive,” says Jaime Klein, founder of New York–based HR consulting firm Inspire Human Resources.

Write a resignation letter

In addition to having a conversation with your boss, you’ll want to put your announcement down on paper so that HR has it on your record. A resignation letter should include the following:

  • a statement of intent that you will be leaving your job
  • the name of your official staff position
  • the date of your last day on the job
  • gratitude to your employer for hiring you
  • an offer to train your replacement
  • well wishes for the future of the company
  • your contact info

Give at least two weeks’ notice

With few exceptions (an abusive work environment, illegal company activity, etc.) walking out on the spot is not cool. Timing is crucial for when you announce your intent to depart. Two weeks’ notice is the standard amount of time, says San Francisco–based career and executive coach Rebecca Zucker, but some companies even have a set policy for how much notice is required. And, if you have the flexibility, you could offer to stay on for longer to help train your replacement. (Even if your boss doesn’t take you up on the offer, she will appreciate the gesture.)

Ace your exit interview

Many employers conduct formal exit interviews with departing employees. However, this isn’t the time or place to express your anger. In other words, it’s important to keep your emotions in check, says Rich Diaz, president at Advanced Resources, a staffing and outsourcing solutions provider. By having a positive conversation, you'll be better positioned to ask your boss for a reference, which will benefit you when applying to future jobs.

The exception: If HR will perform an anonymous exit interview, you can speak freely, but make sure you have it in writing that what you say will be confidential, advises Hannah Seligson, author of New Girl on the Job: Advice from the Trenches.

Find your next job before you peace out

Though this might seem like an obvious first step, some job seekers still make the mistake of quitting a job before lining up their next gig, says Zucker. But, if you leave voluntarily, you won’t qualify for unemployment.

Another reason to lock in your next job before you quit: Research shows it’s easier to get a job offer when you’re still employed. Could you use some help with that? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox so you can spend less time combing through ads and more time applying to great new gigs.