Networking and Career Advice

How to Gracefully Quit a Job You Just Started

Natasha Serafimovska

Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Freelance Writer


You’ve just started learning the ropes at your new job, and you’ve gotten to know your colleagues. But you’re already thinking about quitting. Maybe you were deciding between to job offers and realized that you’ve made the wrong choice. Or, a change in your personal circumstances means that you have to quit.

Whatever the reason, handing in your notice is never a pleasant process. Just like declining an offer once you’ve accepted it, quitting a new job can be awkward and reflect poorly on you as a professional. You may have concerns about how this would impact your career prospects or wonder how to navigate this space without burning any bridges. 

Here we look at how to quit a job you just started in a professional way, what steps you need to take before and after you let your employer know, and how to prepare yourself for your next opportunity.

Is it Okay to Quit a Job You Just Started?

Long gone are the days when a person was expected to stay with the same job for years or decades to come. In fact, millennials and Gen Z have disrupted the workplace by normalizing job-hopping and by prioritizing meaning and purpose over traditional perks. For example, a Gallup study found that 21% of millennials report changing jobs in the past year – three times higher than non-millennials.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to quit a job you’ve recently started, don’t feel guilty. Rather than resorting to quiet quitting or indifference, you’d do everyone a service if you’re transparent and honest about your intentions. Companies such as Zappos even encourage employees to leave by offering $2,000 to any employee who leaves within the first week. 

a woman holding a sign that says "I QUIT"

The bottom line is: Businesses want employees who want to be there.

What are a Few Good Reasons to Quit a Job You Just Started?

There can be several reasons you may want to quit your new job.

The Job Isn’t What You Thought It Would Be

Just as you’re selling yourself during the job interview, the company is also selling itself. They might embellish some of the job responsibilities or make it sound more exciting than it actually is. In that case, the first few weeks on the job can be quite disheartening and make you want to quit. 

The Company Culture Doesn’t Suit You

You checked their website and read through online reviews, but nothing could have prepared you for the jarring difference between how the company presents itself to the world and how it actually operates internally. Perhaps you were looking for a dynamic and flexible workplace where you can easily rise through the ranks, only to discover that the business is drowning in red tape. A poor culture fit can be a good reason to leave a job.

You Don’t Get Along with Your Manager

It’s one thing to like your job and the company, it’s another thing to get along with your manager. We all come with our own quirks and flaws. It might just be that you and your new superior have a hard time finding common ground. Perhaps they want to joke around a lot, and that makes you feel uncomfortable. Or, they tend to micro-manage, and you’re not used to that. Whatever it is, not getting along with your manager can quickly make you think of quitting.

You Got an Offer from Your Dream Employer

Hooray! You’ve been dreaming of working for a certain company for years. Now here you are, looking at a job offer from them in your inbox. How exciting! This could be once in a lifetime opportunity, so you immediately start to think about handing in your resignation with your current employer.

You Need to Relocate

Ouch! This one is always tough, especially after you’ve invested months in finding and settling into a new job. While more companies are open to remote working arrangements, not all of them are comfortable with great distances or being 100% remote. In such cases, if you must relocate, then that means you must leave your job behind.

You Have Personal Reasons

Finally, our personal life can also influence our professional decisions. Unforeseen sickness in the family or a change in your personal circumstances may require you to quit your new job.

Be Double Sure This is What You Want

While getting a new job might be exciting, the beginning’s always a bit overwhelming as you learn how to use their CRM, get set up on their internal communication system and go through the usual onboarding materials. 

Make sure that your desire to quit isn’t driven by something that’s temporary or can easily be fixed by talking to someone. For example:

  • If you don’t like the team or your boss, but you like the company – could you move to a different department?
  • If you don’t like some of your job responsibilities, could you ask your manager to change these? Maybe the company has multiple openings, and you can work out a transition plan to another role.
  • If you’re overwhelmed by the novelty of it all, could some time off help instead quitting cold turkey?

If you’ve considered all of these scenarios and you still feel like quitting is the right way to go, then you need to start working on your exit strategy.

How to Quit a Job You Just Started?

a woman quitting the job she just started holding a box with her work belongings

Just like any resignation, treat this new job and employer with respect and professionalism. You never know what other doors might open up from the relationships you’ve already formed or, indeed, if you’re ever going to cross paths with the same company again.

When you’re ready to hand in your notice, take the following steps to leave on good terms:

Talk to Your Manager in Person

Giving your notice in person is important because it shows your respect for your manager and your employer. Starting out with a written notice can come across as cold and careless. On the other hand, an in-person conversation will allow your manager to assess your overall state, ask questions, and even offer some advice.

Make sure when you do talk to them, you express gratitude regardless of how short your employment with them has been. Don’t feel the need to elaborate on your reasons for leaving, but show that you appreciated the time and money the company has invested in you thus far.

Write a Formal Resignation

Once you’ve talked to your manager, you need to send out a formal resignation letter as well. Keep the contents of the letter short and professional without going into details about what you liked or disliked about the job. Exit interviews are the place for that.

Hand Over Any Ongoing Tasks

Depending on your job and your employer, your notice period can vary in length. So, once you’ve handed in your resignation, you can still have another two weeks or several months of work to do. In order to leave on good terms, keep your colleagues informed of your departure and leave plenty of time to hand over tasks and train your replacement. 

Prepare for an Exit Interview

Exit interviews are becoming more commonplace as companies try to understand what works and doesn’t work. If you’re invited to one, make sure you arrive prepared. The goal of the exit interview is for the company to understand what you liked about working there, but also what areas they could approve upon. Don’t use this as an opportunity to vent about everything that annoys you. Instead, stay professional and offer constructive feedback. 

Resignation Letter Sample for Such a Case

If you aren’t sure how to format and phrase your resignation, here’s an example to get you started:

Jessica Knowles

Account Executive

The ABC Co-op

1234 Maddison Grove

New Jersey, NY

456-338-5763

January 12, 2023

Brendon Anderson

Sales Director

The ABC Co-op

1234 Maddison Grove

New Jersey, NY

456-335-2245

Dear Mr. Anderson,

Please accept this as my formal resignation from my role as Account Executive at The ABC Co-Op. I will resume my regular duties until January 26, 2023, which will be my last day with the organization.

While I loved working with you and the sales team, I’ve recently received an offer to work in the real estate sector, which aligns more closely with my career goals. I truly enjoyed learning about The ABC Co-op and the textile industry, and I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such a great team.

I’m happy to help with the hiring and training of my replacement. Sincere apologies for any inconvenience this might have caused you, and I wish you all success in the future.

Kind regards,

Jessica Knowles

What Are a Few Things That You Don’t Want to Do?

So, you’ve handed in your notice, and you feel ready to check out mentally. Not so fast! Being careless in the final days can hurt your reputation just as much. Some things to steer clear of are: 

  • Bad-mouthing your boss, co-workers, or the company – it may feel good at the moment, but you don’t know how far your gossip can go;
  • Slacking at work – even if you’re leaving, your company needs your input until they find a replacement. Make sure you show up and do a good job until the very end;
  • Use the new job as a bargaining mechanism – perhaps you got the new job only to ask for a better position with your old employer? This can easily backfire, especially if you’re working in a niche industry where people know each other.

Start Looking for a New Job Right Away

Depending on your financial situation, maybe you can’t afford to have a gap in employment. So, if you’re itching to hand in your notice, start looking for a job as soon as possible. The good thing here is that if you’ve applied for many vacancies before getting this job, there might still be some openings that haven’t been filled. Reach out to those recruiters and continue sending out new applications.

Is Quitting a Job Early Going to Have an Impact on Your Future Job Search?

It depends. While the rule of thumb has always been to keep a job for at least a year (if not longer) to demonstrate that you’re loyal and trustworthy, things have changed in recent years. The Great Resignation has given people the permission to experiment, change careers and change several jobs in a span of a single year. 

Whether your early quitting will impact your future job search really depends on how you leave. Were you cordial and professional all the way to the end? Did you resume your job search in time? Did you apply for the right jobs? All of these things can influence how quickly and easily you get another job after your early exit.

Final Thoughts

Finding and keeping a job we like can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Sometimes we may like the job but not like the working environment. Other times we may adore our colleagues but detest the job responsibilities.

You may have made up your mind to quit a job you just started, but leaving is never easy. You can make the process smoother and easier for everyone if you remain professional throughout. Talk to your manager as soon as you’ve decided to leave, inform your colleagues, and put it all in writing. Most importantly, show up and do good work until the very end. Your reputation will thank you.

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