How To Quit A Job You Just Started

When you are on the unemployment line – the handshake and the contract that comes along with it – are all you want. However, the grass is not always greener on the other side. The job you set your sights on may not turn out to be what you expected. Your moment of clarity can happen within a month, a week, or even a day. If you want to know how to quit a job you just started – read on!

Do You Really Want To Quit? Give Your Decision Some Serious Thought

Once you tender your resignation, there is no looking back. Career decisions can be life-changing. Emotions will run high the moment you realize this job – the one you beat other candidates to get – is not for you.

Don’t get caught up in the moment. Give your emotions time to simmer down so you can think clearly through your situation.

Consider Possible Reasons for Staying

On a piece of paper, create two columns. Label the left column “Pros” and list down all the possible reasons for staying. Label the right column “Cons” and list down all the factors that make you want to quit.

This isn’t a numbers game. It should not matter if one column has more items than another. After all, if you just started the job, there may not be enough substance behind your reasons to quit or stay.

Instead, this is an exercise of self-introspection. The idea is to reconcile your fears of staying with your prospects for future career growth:

  • “Are my fears or reasons for quitting valid only in the short-term?”
  • “Can I hope to have an immediate resolution to my issues with the job if I discuss them with my boss or supervisor?”
  • “Will this decision to quit impact on my ability to get a new job right away?”
  • “Is the job market tight? Will I be able to land a job within a month?”

Be honest with your answers. It would be a good idea to do some research on the company and the industry. The weekend would be the perfect time to think your decision through.

Review Your Employment Contract/ Employees’ Handbook

It is the right of every employee to resign from his/her job. No employer will stop you from leaving the company. However, there are rules and regulations that oversee employee resignation.

In addition to the provisions that are mandated by the local government and labor agencies, your employer may have its own set of guidelines. Thus, it is a good idea to review your employment contract or employees’ handbook before finalizing your decision to resign.

Your employer may have guidelines that cover the following areas of the resignation process:

  • Grace Period of Resignation
  • When and Whom to Submit Your Resignation Letter
  • Schedule of the Exit Interview
  • Turnover of Company Materials – keys, I.D., and documents
  • Endorsement or Proper Turnover of Outstanding Work
  • Payment for Days Worked

Keep in mind that you are still under contract. In some cases, there are industry-specific conditions. An example would be a provision that prohibited you from working for a competitor for a period of 6 months to 2 years.

Some employers may have included a “safety device” in your contract. This safety device is added to protect the interest of the company.

An example of a safety device would be one that requires you to reimburse the company the full cost of the training should the resignation take effect within 3 months.

Get Advice from One Trusted Source

A good way to find clarity in your decision would be to get advice from one trusted source. Even if you have more than one person in mind, it is best to just talk to a single person. This way, you lessen the chance of getting conflicting advice.

Who are usually the best sources for career advice?

  • A parent
  • Your former boss or supervisor
  • A long-time mentor
  • A trusted friend
  • Your spouse
  • One of your college professors or adviser

Sometimes you see more clearly through the eyes of another. This is because your confidante will filter your reasons for quitting through an unbiased and objective filter.

Be Considerate and Give Your Employer Proper Notice

Your decision to resign will not only impact on your career. Likewise, it may have negative repercussions for your employer especially if you were hired to fill an key role in the company.

Companies factor in a grace period that covers an employee’s resignation. Basically, your resignation cannot take effect right away. In principle, the grace period gives the company enough time to recruit, select, and train a replacement for you.

Although the grace period is included in the employment contract or the employees’ handbook, it is not set in stone. Usually, the prescribed grace period will take 15 to 30 days.

However, it is not unusual for the employer to forego the grace period especially if the position is not important or if a replacement can immediately be found.

Resign In a Professional Manner

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your reasons for quitting a job you just started, resign in a professional manner. Observe proper decorum when discussing your decision with your boss or immediate supervisor.

Here are 3 useful tips on how to resign like a professional:

  • Resign in PersonFor sure you will feel embarassed about leaving a company that just hired you. However, resigning in person will help you save face. In fact, your boss will admire you for it because it is a sign of professional courtesy.
  • Follow Company ProtocolCompanies have a set protocol for filing resignations. Each company’s resignations will differ from one another. Some may ask you to submit a written submission to your immediate supervisor first. Others may ask you to speak with Human Resources before submitting a written resignation.

    The bottom-line is: Always follow company protocol. It shows respect for the company’s rules and regulations. At the same time, it will speed up the resignation process.

  • Don’t Burn Bridges – Leave on a Good NoteAs the saying goes, “It’s a small world”. One day, your path may cross again with your boss or supervisor. At the time, you may need his/her assistance.

    When you resign, don’t burn your bridges with the company and leave on a good note. Don’t write a deeply personal and overly emotional resignation letter that spews venom and vitriol.

    Forget the personal stuff. Once you’ve left the office, those bad experiences will just be part of your history.

    You should also keep in mind that you may need a recommendation from your boss for your new job. Similarly, your prospective employer may contact your previous employer to do a character check.

    You would want your previous employer to give your prospective employer nothing but glowing reviews.

Finish Strong – Don’t Slack Off

If you still have pending work to complete, give it your best! Don’t slack off and give only 50% effort. Finish strong and make sure all pending work is completed according to the company’s standards.

What should you do if the grace period has passed but the pending works have not been completed yet?

  • Offer to stay until such time that all pending jobs have been completed and approved. However, set a realistic timetable with your boss or immediate supervisor.
  • Offer to assist the replacement for a few hours every week until the job is completed to the satisfaction of your previous employer.
  • If possible and acceptable, propose to spend a few hours per day to work on the project from your home until it is finished.

Keep an Open Mind

For the same reason that it is your right to resign, it is also your boss’ right to ask you to stay. There are many plausible reasons for your boss to try and convince you not to resign:

  • Your boss has an immediate remedy for your situation.
  • The company cannot find a replacement right away.
  • The project is currently ongoing and cannot be delayed.

Even if you have decided to resign, keep an open mind. It always pays to work toward arriving at a win-win situation. If the problem can be rectified by your boss and you can get assurances, staying onboard the company may be the best decision you can make.


If you are thinking about quitting a job you just started, don’t be embarrassed or feel ashamed. You are not the only one.

Countless other newly-hired employees have found themselves staring at a pile of papers and thinking, “This is not what I signed up for.” There are also people whose first thought once they got home from their first day at work was, “I hate my job.”

The key takeaway from a resignation is that your decision does not only have implications on your career. It will have repercussions on your employer and if you have a family, they too will be affected.

Give resignation some serious thought before finally drafting that letter. If you submit the letter with a clear mind and conscience, it will not mark the end of a career but the beginning of a new one.

I founded ResumeOK in 2011, with the goal of helping people increase their chances to get a better job. I am a career and online marketing expert that has reviewed and written thousands of resumes. During my career, I have found certain patterns that make a resume successful, and I’m sharing all my insights in the samples that you can find on ResumeOK. My work has been published by reputable publications such as BusinessInsider, FoxNews, SmartRecruiters,, HuffPost, ZipRecruiter, SnagAJob. If you need help with your resume, or just want to say “hi”, send me an email. Read more about us here .

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