What to Say When Quitting a Job so You Don't Burn Bridges

What to Say When Quitting a Job so You Don't Burn Bridges
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You’ve Decided to Quit Your Job

Quitting a job can be both an exciting time and a nerve wracking time too. Some people are never quite sure how to handle the actual resignation, or how to handle the exit interview. Knowing what to say when quitting a job can prevent employees from burning bridges, and to leave on a positive note.

Be Sure You are Ready To Quit

Never use a resignation as a negotiation. If there are issues, negotiations should be done before you quit.. Be sure you are 100% committed to leaving your job.

When speaking with your supervisor, if there are issues within the work environment, be prepared what to say if the company offers to fix them. If you are having a problem with a manager and they offer to switch you to a different section, what do you say? The best thing to do is tell them you appreciate their effort to accommodate you, but your decision still stands. Or if the changes are truly what you need to stay and you want to stay, you do have the right to change your mind.

The Resignation Letter

The resignation letter should be written in a timely manner according to company policy. The standard is usually to give two weeks notice, but different companies may have different policies. So make sure you follow company policy appropriately.

Try to make the letter of resignation positive, by saying such things as:

1. I have enjoyed working here.

2. The decision to resign my position has been a difficult one.

If you are leaving due to undesirable work relations or conditions, it is best to not go into any great detail. You do not want to leave on a bitter note, and you never know when you may encounter any of the people you are currently working with again. As tempting as it

may be to “stick it someone” - don’t. They are staying and you are leaving, so it is unlikely management will put great stock in what you say. The best ways to approach this are:

1. Explain you are looking for a better “fit” for you.

2. You are leaving for an opportunity that is simply too good to pass up.

The Exit Interview

Many places of employment hold exit interviews with a member of the Human Resources team and the resigning employee. The exit interview questions are usually designed to gain valuable feedback from employees, on topics such as how to improve working conditions, benefits, and training methods etc. Again, it is important to try to remain positive. It is okay to offer brief suggestions for improvement such as: I think employees should have access to their vacation time in 6 months instead one year. As opposed to: I think Joe in Accounting does a horrible job.

If exit interviews are not part of the company’s resignation process, at least contact the Human Resources Officer to:

1. Make sure they know where to send the final check.

2. Find out options for COBRA.

3. Ask how the 401K and pension plans are handled upon termination of employment.

What to Say to Fellow Co-workers

When it comes to saying goodbye to fellow coworkers it can be a sad situation, especially if you have worked at the company for any length of time. It is best to just say you are leaving and will miss them (even if you won’t miss some of them). You never know when you may have to count on one of your former co workers for a reference at some point.


When quitting a job it is best to remain positive. Even if the job is being quit due to job dissatisfaction, it is best to try to remain positive. If you are leaving for a better opportunity just say so. If you don’t have another position lined up, perhaps it is best to say the position wasn’t the best fit, or you felt you weren’t being productive in your current position. What to say when quitting a job is as important as what not to say.



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