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Monday, August 24, 2009

How to Quit

I am very happy with my job and I'm on good terms with my boss. My husband recently got a job several states away and will be starting work there in one week. The plan was for me to stay at our house and work until it sold--well, it sold in the first weekend! Now I only have 3 weeks until I'm homeless in this state! My boss is traveling for business for the next two weeks. I'd prefer to resign in person, but there isn't time. Do you have any etiquette recommendations on giving my two weeks by phone or email?

Holy cow! You sold your house in one weekend? I am super-de-duper jealous. I thought we were beyond lucky to sell our house in 2 months.

Now, just so we're clear with everyone reading, this is a special circumstance. This is not the preferred way to resign from a position. Although, I will admit that I once quit via e-mail. I know, I know. Tacky. My boss was in a different office and I kept calling and getting his voice mail and I certainly didn't want to leave a message saying, "I quit!"

Since you are on good terms with your boss, let's do everything to keep it that way--especially since you'll need a reference. (Assuming you'll be looking for a new job.) Here are my recommendations:

  • Phone calls are more personal than e-mails, so call
  • Apologize profusely for doing it over the phone
  • Tell her why you are leaving, how much you enjoyed working for her, and how you learned a lot
  • Explain about the unexpected house sale and apologize again for the short notice
  • Still write a formal resignation letter, sign it, and give it to her after the fact. You can send a copy via e-mail, after the phone conversation.
One thing that I will mention, is that you've been looking towards this for a long time. People are frequently afraid to tell their bosses that they are planning to quit in the near future. You could have made this easier on yourself by telling your boss your plans when your husband accepted the new position. Granted, some bosses will fire you because they know you are leaving, but not usually ones with whom we have good relationships.

When I quit my last job, I told my boss as soon as my husband had a verbal job offer. I told her there was a 90% chance I would be leaving and gave her tentative dates. I then helped figure out what the department's options were for replacing me, gave my opinion on internal candidates and did what I could to help. My boss was extremely understanding, but she's always been a great boss. (And for the record, her boss was understanding as well. I actually left the best job on the planet. What was I thinking? Oh yes, chocolate. I was thinking about chocolate.)

Good luck with your move! And with quitting your job. it's actually a difficult thing to do when you like the people you work for and with.


Anonymous said...

If you are feeling guilty about it, then offer to work out of a hotel. Assuming you do not have a job lined up in New Destination, and assuming that you make a reasonable wage, you will easily be able to afford it. Or, offer to work an extra week if they'll put you up in a hotel.

Your boss is unlikely to accept. But she is likely to remember your offer of flexibility, in a good way. And if she DOES accept, it's not so bad in the end.

Anonymous said...

I am in a similar circumstance, sans the housing situation. My husband has gotten a job offer in our home state (we were aiming to move back in the near future) but this was a bit more sudden. We decided that I will work at my current job while applying for other positions in the other state.
1)What is the reason I should give for leaving without sounding unprofessional (ie: my husband plans on relocating and I am going to follow him there) and affecting the reference they give me after I leave the job.

2)Will prospective employers frown down upon my decision to leave a great job in this economic climate? Will they see it as risky etc?

3)I have a manager and a 'boss' i work with...Should I set up a meeting with both at the same time or talk to my manager first?

ANY help on this is greatly appreciated!