When & How To Resign

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I started two years ago as a temp to hire with the belief that my salary would increase when I became full time. It did not and I was already into the position for months, and made the decision to stay because when my review would come then my salary would increase. It did, about 30 cents. Also, I have had enough with bad communication with senior management. I have a good work ethic and do not believe in quitting until another opportunity is available. However, I am looking to go into work tomorrow with my resignation letter in hand. Any advice would be appreciated.”


There is nothing wrong with quitting without another opportunity lined up, as long as you have the financial resources to afford it.  Looking for a job is much easier when you can do it full time, and are free to meet with people for networking meetings and interviews during the day without needing to request time off from work.


Even though you feel like you have not been treated well at your current employer, you need to put that aside.  Leave on a positive note, without burning any bridges.  You never know when you might run into some of these people again, and you want every potential hiring manager to see you as a true professional, not someone who says negative things about people/companies they’ve worked with before.


Next time, don’t simply hope your salary will increase.  Sit down and make a list of what you’ve accomplished in your job, and what results that produced for your employer.  Try to quantify those results.  And look at what your job pays in the market.  Then approach your boss about how much you look forward to continuing to produce results like those, and could you talk about an increase in compensation to reflect the contributions you are making and expect to make in the future.

5 thoughts on “When & How To Resign”

  1. My situation was worse. My salary decreased by about 10K a year. There was no way I could have known this early on. Also, I did the list of accomplishments in order to negotiate a better salary. They gave me about $2K more a year and then justified the low salary with a change in title that was worth less, even though my job description didn’t change.

    In addition, I have a micro-manager who was gone on maternity leave during most of the time I was a contractor. She’s back now and I can’t take it. I have tried to talk to her AND her boss, but everyone is fine with what she says is her style of management.

    Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to just quit, so it may take me a little longer to find another job.

    Good advice though, on not burning bridges. I’ll have to remember that when I proudly hand in my letter of resignation.

  2. "There is nothing wrong with quitting without another opportunity lined up, as long as you have the financial resources to afford it. Looking for a job is much easier when you can do it full time, and are free to meet with people for networking meetings and interivews during the day without needing to request time off from work."

    Wow! Are you sure about this? I personally feel there is nothing wrong with quitting without having another job lined up and I agree that looking for a job is much easier when one’s days are free to interview.

    The problem is that it is much more difficult to get an interview, and likewise a job, unless you currently have one. I have learned this from personal experience and have also heard it numerous times from recruiting firms and others. Because I have quit or been laid off a few times, my resume is full of "gaps". I don’t have a problem with the gaps, but I have discovered what employers are thinking: "Hmm was this guy fired …or did he land in rehab or jail or…?"

    John, How do you reconcile your advice with the common recommendation to not quit unless you have another job lined up?

    As for me I have chosen to live my life the way I want, but doing so has made it tremendously difficult finding jobs. Sure I’ve got all sorts of free time to network and interview – for all those interviews I never get!

    Incidentally, I’m an actuary, which I think is relevant to this discussion as actuaries and their employers are known for being quite conservative.

    Thank you.

    1. Dean: I don’t think the problem you are describing is so much whether you are employed or not when you are looking, it’s the large set of ‘gaps’ you already have. I have worked with more than one candidate (one of whom was an actuary) who had been out of work for 2 years. In both cases, it was mostly a matter of getting them really clear on the package they had to offer and how to market it effectively. In both cases, it took only 3 months to land a job they were excited about, back at the job and compensation level they deserved. The issue wasn’t whether they were employed or not, it was whether they knew how to market themselves.

  3. I’d like to submit some Qs instead of comments, if possible.

    1) Is HR crossing a line when asking whether an employee knew about her/his recently discovered disability before joining the company which unknowingly has obviously affected her/his performance?

    2) Is it also discriminatory to put that employee on a PIP program even after her/his specialist wrote a note to support reduced hours to ensure that employee would adjust to the treatment for recently diagnosed disability?

    3) If HR and Management team up purposefully to make such employee so uncomfortable, should he/she seek legal help before resigning? If so, how soon? If not, how to resign in dignity and grace?

    Thanks, John for your professional comments regarding the above Qs.

    Kind regards,


    1. Betty:
      The questions you are asking are really legal ones – you would need to talk to an attorney versed in employment law in your state to get proper answers.

      Here are some thoughts that occur to me on them:

      (1) I don’t know about the legality of HR asking the question, but the issue is a valid one. It is my understanding that while an employer is not permitted to discriminate against a disabled person in deciding whether or not to make an offer, neither is the candidate permitted to withhold information about any disability that might affect their ability to perform the job requirements. The offer is contingent on that ability, and if the job requirements cannot be performed without reasonable accommodations, then the offer may be rescinded.

      Thus it would seem to be a valid legal question as to whether the employee had reason to know about the disability prior to accepting the job offer.

      (2) This would seem to relate back to #1.

      (3) How does the employee know that they are teaming up purposefully to make the employee uncomfortable? Is there any other way to look at what they are doing?

      Definitely it would be wise to seek legal advice on all of these questions prior to taking any action (such as resigning), to understand all of the options and ramifications. If the decision is to resign, also get legal advice as to anything to say (or not to say) to avoid prejudicing the situation.

      Generally, the wisest way to resign is as simply as possible, not saying or writing anything negative. The exception would be if legal advice (and remember that this should be from an expert in employment law) suggested saying or writing something to preserve or support your legal position.

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