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Tips for Quitting a Job Without Saying Why

written by: N Nayab•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 4/13/2011

Although the accepted convention is to inform the employer regarding the reason for quitting a job, disclosing the reason is not a mandatory requirement, and at times disclosing the real reason may not be appropriate. Read on for ways on how to quit a job without saying why.

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    How to Quit a Job Without Saying Why Providing the reason for quitting a job is an accepted professional etiquette. At times, however, not stating the reason may be in the employee's best interest. The real reason for quitting the job may be something embarrassing to the employee or employer, the employee’s deep-seated personal conviction or resentment, or other factors which if disclosed, may create avoidable bad blood or impact the issuance of a favorable reference check by the employer.

    The best way of quitting a job without saying why is to craft a brief and to the point resignation letter. Informing the supervisor and manager of the resignation is part of the accepted resignation process, and the reason for quitting invariably comes up in such discussions. Many companies also have exit interviews to discuss reasons for leaving. While trying to sidestep or ignore the reasons for quitting is one approach, at times, disclosing and even discussing the reason for quitting becomes inevitable.

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    Stick to the Truth

    The best approach on how to quit a job without saying why is to stick to the truth as close as possible, by remaining vague about the reason and not discussing the issue at length. For instance, if the reason for quitting is romance with a colleague gone sour, the reason stated can be personal reasons.

    Never lie by inventing a reason or stating the wrong reason. Lies are invariably discovered, and lying unnecessarily places professional integrity at needless risk.

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    Downplay or Blunt Offensive Reason

    At times, revealing the real reason for quitting might touch a raw nerve and do more harm than good. For instance, an employee deciding to quit after having discovered embezzlement taking place in the high echelons of the management can hardly expect to make such an accusation and still leave on good terms. In such situations, downplay the real reason or indicate the reason in a less offensive manner. For instance, in the example above, possible vague reasons could be “unhappiness with the system," “lack of adequate processes" or “wanting a new work environment."

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    Focus on General Reasons

    Many employees quit or change jobs for better salary, better work-life balance, better working conditions, or wanting a different career direction. One approach of how to quit a job without saying why is to state general factors as reasons for quitting. The important point, however, is to ensure that such reasons remain relevant. For instance, better pay or working conditions might be a secondary reason for quitting when the primary reason may be the inability to work with supervisor. In such cases, omit the primary reason and focus on the secondary reason.

    The underlying consideration when quitting a job is to leave on good terms. Most employers do not probe too much into the reason for quitting if the employee remains reluctant to speak about it, but at times, remaining adamant on not disclosing the reason or discussing the given reason for quitting can create unnecessary tension and discord. In such situations, smooth exit depends on the skills of the departing employee to maneuver the situation.

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    1. Hansen, Randall, S. “Resigning with Class: How to Diplomatically Resign From Your Job." Retrieved April 8, 2011.
    2. “Resigning from a job." retrieved April 08, 2011.

    Image Credit: Moss

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