Home Work Career Confessions How to Quit Your Job with Grace

A big welcome to Melody Kiella!  This is Melody’s first guest post on MsCareerGirl.com!

Recently I made a job change that required me to reevaluate my career goals, step out of my comfort zone, and resign from my first professional position. I had been working as an in-house attorney for a small Atlanta-based company for a little over a year when I started to feel antsy, and in mid-September my eyes began to wander.

My wandering eyes had nothing to do with the people I was working with or my working environment.  It simply had to do with the fact that I wasn’t being challenged enough and I wasn’t growing at the rate that I wanted to be growing at. During my down time I started looking into potential job openings. Since I work in the legal field I wasn’t too positive that anything would happen, but in mid-November I got an email from a young lady indicating that her law firm wanted to interview me.

I went on the interview with no expectations and no plans. Part of me didn’t want to get my hopes up, and the other part of me knew that I had nothing to lose. I had a job and an incoming paycheck so there was no added pressure on me to nail the interview and please everyone I talked with. For the first time in my career I was able to actually enjoy the interview process and not stress out about what I said or didn’t say.

When the lunch interview was done I knew that everything had gone well. I had no doubt that I would be called back for another interview, and I was. The second interview was a little more intense because I met with about seven attorneys at the firm for a three hour period, but three days later I got the call that I was being offered the job. The second I got off the phone with the law firm I called my husband and we both cheered together. It was a great opportunity for me professionally and for us financially.

It wasn’t until the following morning that it hit me that I would have to tell my boss, whom I greatly admired and enjoyed working for, that I was leaving to go work somewhere else. I knew that he was going to be completely caught off guard and shocked, and I wasn’t looking forward to answering his why questions. Why are you leaving? Why didn’t you tell me you were unhappy?

The week leading up to “the talk” I asked a lot of people for their advice. Many of them told me that quitting was not a big deal; quitting was simply part of business. One of my friends told me that employers know when they hire young professionals that the chances are high that they will leave when a new opportunity arises. While I knew that all of this was true, it didn’t make going into my boss’s office any easier. I ultimately decided that breaking the bad news was best to do on a Friday. My husband convinced me that Friday would be the best day because it would allow my boss time to collect his thoughts over the weekend.

The week leading up to the Friday of “the talk” I wasn’t really that nervous, but when Friday morning arrived I could feel the nerves expanding in my stomach the closer I got to the office. When I arrived at the office I typed out an official resignation letter emphasizing how much I enjoyed working at the company and even typed out exactly what I wanted to say when I walked down to his office. I found that going over what I was going to say a few times in my head made my nervousness dwindle ever so slightly.

When my boss came in around 9 I walked down to his office with my shoulders pushed back and my head held high. I quietly knocked on the door and asked if he had a minute to speak. I sat down and tried to gather myself, but the moment I saw his happy, smiling face sitting across from me all of my preparedness went out the window. I took a deep breath and got right down to the facts. I was resigning. I was putting in my two weeks. I had a great opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. I was not leaving because I didn’t enjoy working for the company. Please don’t take this personally.

I am not going to go into details about what happened exactly (because that is between my boss and I), but it was not easy to tell someone that you enjoyed working for that you were resigning. In fact, I got teary eyed when I broke the news to him. Something about the shocked look that slowly crept onto his face and the close, personal bond that we had established throughout my tenure with the company made it impossible for me to keep my emotions inside. Looking back I wish I had refrained from letting those few tears come to the surface, but what could I do? I am human after all.

After the meeting was over I felt as if a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. While I was sad about leaving my position and the people with whom I had grown close with, I was excited to have my first resignation under my belt (and hopefully my last) and have a new opportunity to learn and grow from.

As I know from personal experience, putting in your two week notice can be extremely nerve racking and difficult. While you are bound to be nervous before you walk into your boss’s office, remember that at the end of the day business is business no matter how much you like working for a particular employer. Your boss knows that resigning and moving on is a part of life. I am sure they have resigned from positions before and understand that sometimes an opportunity is too good to turn down. The most important part about giving your two weeks notice is to be respectful and to allow your boss enough time to find someone to replace you.

I am a firm believer that when it comes to your career and your life you need to take all of the opportunities that come your way. You never want to look back and wish you had done something different. So, if you are blessed with a new career opportunity but are scared of letting your boss or current company down, just make the decision that is best for you and never look back.

Have you ever had to leave a job you enjoyed?  How did you deliver the news?  What was your boss’s reaction?  

What tips do you have for others who want to resign with grace?

11 replies to this post
  1. I feel that if you’re leaving for the right new opportunity, you should be psyched to turn in your two weeks notice! Especially if you hate the job you’re currently in. It also pays to leave your letter short, sweet and professional. Even though you may want to totally grill the company you’re leaving, you’ll look like a disgruntled fool if you rip them to shreads in your letter (which WILL go in your personal file). Good luck to those in this situation and off on your new journey!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story, Melody! I went through my first resignation last May after working for a company that I loved dearly for almost three years. It was one of the most nerve wracking and heart wrenching things I’ve ever had to do. And I too got teary eyed during it. I was really embarrassed to let out a few tears, but at the same time, I’m glad that my manager saw just how much my first job really meant to me. I hope you are enjoying your new position!

  3. Hi Melody, I enjoyed reading your story Melody. You are right it is hard saying goodbye to amazing bosses, even though, you must move on. I think just focusing on the positive helps and thanking them for the wonderful experience they have given you.

  4. I went through my first resignation at the end of November. They were completely shocked. My paranoia had made me think that they had some idea that I had been interviewing (I had interviewed with 10 different places), but they apparently had no clue.

    I went in with a list of all my current projects, notes on whether or not I could have them finished by the time I left and who could take over the remaining projects. I also offered to write a job description. One thing I didn’t do was give them a letter. I preferred to do it in person.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Melody. I also let go of a few tears (despite my best efforts not to) and I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one.

  5. Thank you for this.
    I glanced over it about 30 minutes ago and I have resigned since then :)
    It went so well, albeit slightly emotional for both my boss and I.

    Here’s to new ventures. *clink*

  6. Because she is tall, people assume Emily Boerger is a basketball player. No, she explains, she is a volleyball player.And even that was almost by accident.The 22-year-old Boerger, a 2009 graduate of Marysville-Pilchuck High School, was in eighth grade when a friend asked if she wanted to try volleyball at the Marysville Boys and Girls Club.”She didn’t want to do it by herself,” Boerger said, “so she got me to go with her.”The next year Boerger tried out for the high school team, “and then as I got better I just fell in love with the sport more and more,” she said. “Volleyball just clicked with me.”Years later, Boerger has turned into a top player for the Western Washington University volleyball team, which was ranked eighth nationally in NCAA Division II and had a 14-1 season record before dropping a 3-2 decision to Alaska Anchorage on Saturday night. The match was a showdown for first place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.Disappointing though it was, the Vikings still have hopes of a postseason berth and perhaps making a run at an NCAA title, just as they did in 2007 when WWU placed second nationally.Getting through the regional tournament and advancing to nationals “would mean a lot to me,” said Boerger, a senior. “It would be an incredible experience that not many people can say they participated in. But we’re trying not to focus on that as a team. It would be incredible and awesome, but what’s most important is winning the next game and the next match.”But I think we have the potential (to reach nationals),” she said. “If we keep staying in the moment every game, and keep following the game plans and playing our steady game style, then I think we definitely have that potential.”Her coach, Diane Flick, agrees.”I feel really good about this team,” said Flick, who is in her 14th season as WWU’s head coach. “I feel good about where we are and how we’re progressing. … Do we have the potential? Yes. But I’ve also thought that about the teams we have every year because I think that’s just the direction this program is going.”Western Washington’s 16-player roster — which includes redshirt freshman Bryce Larson from Mukilteo’s Kamiak High School — is comprised solely of in-state players, “and we take great pride in that,” Flick said. “There is plenty of great talent in the state of Washington to do good things in Division II and beyond, so we’re definitely beating the bushes around here to find great talent.”The 6-foot-1 Boerger — “and she’s maybe closer to 6-2,” Flick said — is a middle blocker and the team’s only senior. Her job is to use her size and savvy at the net, both offensively and defensively.”She’s very smart, she has really good vision, and she really understands the game, which is something that really impressed me from the moment we started recruiting her,” Flick said. “As a result, she’s able to hit a variety of shots at the right time.”You can’t teach height, so that’s always nice to have. But she always seems to have a nose for the ball.”Boerger was named the GNAC Defensive Player of the Week for Sept. 29-Oct. 5. Through games of Oct. 13, she ranked first nationally in Division II in hitting percentage (kills minus errors divided by attempts) at .434. Teammate Kayla Erickson, a junior from Gig Harbor, ranked second at .426.Though Boerger had been a good high school player, she had never thought much about playing in college. But when Flick and Vikings assistant coach James Suh got in touch, “I decided to come to the school on a visit to check things out,” she said. “After I met the team and the coaches, saw the school and went to class with one of the girls on the team, it just seemed like a good fit. And I also realized I wasn’t done with volleyball yet. I still wanted to play.”After redshirting her first season, she has since won three varsity letters, and along the way has also managed a 3.89 grade point average in biology/anthropology. She does not expect to play volleyball after college, but instead would like to join the Peace Corps before pursuing a graduate degree in community health or public health.The plan of joining the Peace Corps “just feels like it’s the perfect thing for me,” Boerger said. “I feel like I’m really an independent person who wants to experience everything. I’ve had experiences in the past of doing volunteer work and I just like the idea of doing something larger than myself.”
    [url=http://ushoppit.com/images/customnfljerseys.aspx?7]throwback steelers jersey[/url]

  7. I see a lot of interesting content on your blog. You have to spend
    a lot of time writing, i know how to save you a lot of work, there is a tool that creates unique, google friendly posts in couple of seconds, just type in google – laranita’s free
    content source

Leave a Reply