A friend of mine is going back to school because she’s felt frustrated in her field, and especially with her employer. She asked me about what she should put in her resignation letter.
Some of her friends have suggested her letter should contain a “go to hell, do not collect $200” theme. Although there may be some short-term catharsis, nothing good will come from being unprofessional. Resignation letters should therefore be short and pass the “would I be embarrassed if my parents read this the front page of the newspaper?” test … unless the first installment of your multi-million lottery winnings has already cleared the bank.
Example #1: to the point
Please accept this letter as [two weeks’] notice of my intention
to leave my position as [whatever your title is there].
I wish both you and [company] every good fortune and would like to
thank you for having me as part of your team.
[your name here]
Example #2: Tell them you’re going to school, suggest that you’re
willing to accept freelance work at surprisingly high billing rates,
leave the door open:
After careful consideration, I have decided to realize my
professional and personal goals of pursuing study at [school] in
[field]. This is an exciting opportunity for me and one that I hope
you will both understand and support. Please accept this letter
as [two weeks’] notice of my intention to leave my position as
[whatever your title is there].
[Should you have any need for my skills in [whatever it is you’re good at], I might be available for short-term, contract work.]
[ I would, of course, consider returning to [company] once I have completed [my degree.]] In the meantime, I wish both you and [company] the best of luck and thank you once again for having me as part of your team.
[your name here]
Similarly, be terse in exit interviews. Human Resources is not your friend and no company has ever changed its ways from comments received during an exit interview. Any complaining just reflects on you, the ex-employee.