How to Leave a Long-Term Job on Good Terms

Resignation Cake via Buzzfeed

Everyone who hates their job dreams of the day they can march into their boss’s office, and let their evil employer know that they’re moving onto bigger and better things. It’s a common fantasy for many individuals, but it’s a far different story if you’re presented with a better offer when you have a job you enjoy and you work with people you genuinely care for. It can be hard to let a long-term employer know you have decided to move on, but there are ways to do so in the most professional and painless way possible.

Give Ample Notice
It can be tempting to put off telling your employer the good (well bad for them) news, but the considerate thing to do is let them know as soon as you find out, preferably with at least two weeks’ notice. Even if you’re afraid things will be tense around the office for the time you’re still employed there, your boss will be grateful that you have given them enough time to try to find and train a replacement.

Keep Your Letter of Resignation Short and To the Point
Many places require you to give a written letter of resignation after you’ve confronted them verbally, and it can be easy to get carried away when thinking of what to write. Keep in mind it’s not a college essay; your letter doesn’t have to chronicle all the events that led up to your decision to leave nor does it have to gush at how grateful you are for the opportunity. Say you’re resigning, mark the date, and end it with a short thank-you. Letters of resignation are typically required for legal reasons, so straight and to the point is the most painless approach.

Offer Your Assistance
Make it clear to your employer that you’re willing to help tie up any loose ends on your part; this could mean finishing up a final project you’ve been working on, or it could be as simple as helping to train your replacement. Many people possess the attitude that once they quit their job, they can slack off a little bit, but working just as hard as you usually would lets the company know you value and respect the time you’ve spent there as well as helps secure a solid reference for the future.

Clue Your Favorite Co-Workers In
It’s natural to make stronger bonds with certain co-workers over others, so make sure you let the ones who helped you the most, had the best listening ear, or shared the most laughs with know you’re leaving before the word spreads around the office. You don’t owe everyone in the company a lengthy explanation, but letting those special co-workers know of your plans to resign will mean a whole lot more coming from you than anyone else.

Send a Thank-You Card
To really help end things on a good note, prepare a thank-you card with a positive sentiment about your experience there. It does not have to be overdone, but express your gratitude for the company along with some happy wishes for everyone you’ve met on your journey. Either present it to the office on your last day, or mail it in a few weeks after. Showing your employer and your co-workers that you’ve given them an afterthought will be a respectful final closing to your employment.
Life is full of unplanned events, and you don’t always know when a better opportunity will pop up for you to grab. While it can be hard to let a period of employment you’ve thoroughly enjoyed come to an end, there are ways to do it to make sure you leave in a respectful and kind way. There’s no reason to feel guilty; just be grateful you’ve been lucky enough to have a job you’ve enjoyed, and after you’ve said your final goodbyes, get ready to start a job you love even more than your last.

Arlene Chandler is a freelance writer who loves helping people face the uncertainty of tomorrow. When she’s not relaxing in the hills with her two dogs, she writes about finance tips, career advice, and income protection insurance (Suncorp).


Nichelle Stephens is a blogger, cupcake enthusiast, editor, event producer, and social media strategist. Nichelle is the co-founding editor of Cupcakes Take The Cake, the most popular blog about cupcakes. Nichelle lives in suburban Atlanta after toiling for years in Brooklyn, New York. Nichelle is also the founder of Keeping Nickels, a personal finance and business accounting blog for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Nichelle is also the founder of lifestyle and pop culture blog, CoolBlkPpl.