Resignation letters

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

[Today’s Date]

Dear [dude],
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:

[Today’s Date]

Dear [dude],

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.

3 thoughts on “Resignation letters”

  1. Ditto. I got this exact same question from an admin who was leaving to go back to school for her degree. She really wanted to write a “#$(% off and die letter, but I convinced her to be professional, terse, and polite.

    First, you do NOT know where people you piss off might suddenly re-appear later in life – it’s amazing how people show up again (it’s that karma thing), and writing a pissy letter isn’t going to change that person’s personality anyway, so why waste the ink.

  2. > Human Resources is not your friend

    Oh how true, how true!!! Don’t ever be fooled into thinking an HR person is there for your good. You are simply a resource in a corporate entity (well, as long as you work for an Inc. that is). That’s why it’s called the Human RESOURCES department.

    Don’t be tricked into spilling your guts to them while employed or when leaving the company. It will only be used against you. HR people are there for the best interest of the company, not the employees. Sadly, if they would actually listen to employees they would probably help the company. For example, going in and complaining about a bad manager will only label you as a complainer or problem employee. But, if you have a valid concern what can you do? Nothing really, besides private b*tching at the “water cooler”.

    Ah, big business.

  3. Karma works in many ways. Your friend can seek solace in the probability that bad karma eventually catches up with evil-doers (always wanted to use that term). I’ve seen it happen over and over.

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