How to Quit a Job You Just Started

Tips and advice for resigning from a new job

A woman leaves her job
••• (c) Greg Blomberg / 123 RF

Sometimes, even when you do everything right, a new job isn't what you expected it would be. You may be feeling like you want to quit already, even though you just started. You don't have to stay, but you should do your best to leave on a positive note.

If you are thinking about quitting a job you have just started, be sure to think about it again and consider these reasons for not quitting right away, before making your final decision. Be absolutely sure you want to quit before you mention it. Since your employer has probably spent considerable time recruiting and orienting you, your supervisor will most likely not be thrilled to hear about your resignation.

However, you need to do what's best for you and not staying may be the only option. It can even be better to quit than to stay, so the company doesn't invest any more resources in getting you on board and training you. That way, both you and your employer can start over.

The Best Way to Quit a Job You Just Started

If your resignation is inevitable, you should do your best to resign in a tactful manner so as not to unnecessarily burn any bridges. Review these tips for quitting a new job as gracefully as possible.

© The Balance, 2018

Give Appropriate Notice

Whenever possible, give your employer a considerable amount of notice regarding your intended departure. Consult the employee handbook for your organization to identify the minimum notice required, which is usually two weeks depending on the type of job. However, offer the maximum amount of notice if you can manage it. It’s not acceptable if you can help it, to give less notice just because you have less tenure with the organization.

Most employers will not want to keep you around for an excessive amount of time following your resignation but will appreciate the gesture of good faith. 

If you have an employment contract, the amount of notice required may be listed there. 

How to Resign

Once you've decided to resign, arrange to meet face to face with your supervisor so you can discuss your resignation in person. Be prepared to explain why you're leaving. If possible, share reasons that center on elements of the job that don't fit your skills or interests. You should avoid any disparaging remarks about your recruiter or any other staff. 

Bring a written letter of resignation with you that references your expected last day of work. Your letter should be brief, polite, and professional.

Avoid making any negative comments which might come back to haunt you, especially if they are delivered in writing. 

If you have been around long enough to learn some valuable information, offer to help train your successor. Again, your employer will probably decline but may appreciate your inclination to help. 

Consider Options for Staying

Can you work something out? If you can imagine a way that your position could be modified to fit your preferences, then you might consider inquiring about this. Your supervisor may even suggest some possible accommodations. Some employers might even consider you for a different job vacancy at the company if you are open to that discussion. 

Is it worth staying for a while? In some cases, particularly if you have had trouble landing a job or keeping a job, it may be a good idea to ride out your initial reaction to a new job. You might find that the job is more appealing than you first anticipated after an adjustment period of two or three months. If there are other reasons you'd like to stay, like the people or the perks, it might be worth giving the job more of a chance.

Can you find a new job fast? Another option is to start job hunting immediately while you're still employed. You may be able to line up a new position quickly, then turn in your resignation. Be prepared to answer interview questions about why you're leaving the job when you start interviewing but don't stress too much. Hiring managers understand that sometimes jobs aren't a good fit.

Try Not to Let it Bother You

Regardless of whether you stay or go, don't feel bad about it. Sometimes, the job you end up with isn't what you expected it to be. The company could have sold you on how great a place to work it is, and it may not be. It happens, and the best thing to do is to chalk it up to experience and move on.