Do You Need to Write A Resignation Letter?

So you decided to quit your job?  Congratulations, maybe, depending on your situation.  Hopefully you’re leaving because you got a better job or you’re moving to Fiji to live a relaxing life.  Whatever the case may be, your next thought is “Do I need to write a letter of resignation?”  I’ll cut right to the chase, the answer is no.  There’s only one “but” though, that “but” is, if you’re a high level executive, public official or something along those lines, you may want to write one.

Here’s a quick story before I get into why you don’t actually need a resignation letter, especially in this day and age.  When I was in high school, I had to retire from working at my town movie theater because the summer was over and I was getting busy with my football career.  Well my parents told me I should write a letter of resignation and give it to my boss and give my two week notice.  Being a young high school kid, I wrote my letter and acted all professional bringing it in to them.  I’ll repeat, I was an usher at my town movie theater (which was a great job by the way) making $5 an hour.  My boss, who was in college, looked at the letter and thought it was hilarious that I actually wrote the letter and proceeded to hang it up in the office and told me they enjoyed having me work there.

empty card among pink rose petals

The morale of the story is that, there was really no reason for me to right a resignation letter.  Sure, it made them think I was professional, but more importantly, it gave them a good laugh. 

If you still feel like a resignatiperon letter may be important, let me save you some time and possible money if you’re going to have someone write it professionally.

Resignation Letters Can Come Across As Impersonal

I once had an executive at a Fortune 500 Company tell me that one day when he got into his office, he found a letter of resignation on his desk from an employee he worked pretty closely with.  He said he was shocked by the person leaving and surprised that he wasn’t told in person.  Even though it may seem like a good idea and a great way to let your company know that you are leaving, a move like that comes off very impersonal and actually hurts the resignation letter.  When you are leaving your job, the first person you are most likely to tell is your direct boss who you work with every day.  Even if you are an introverted person, you should be able to have the conversation with someone you work with on a daily basis.  If anything, you should feel happy that once the conversation is over you’ll be home free.  Even though you may not have the most perfect delivery of a resignation speech, your boss will appreciate you telling them in person.

cheerful woman working on laptop and smiling

Timing Out When to Send The Letter May Be A Hassle

Okay so you’re still determined to write that letter.  When are you going to give it to your boss?  Hand it to them as you head out for the day without saying anything and tell them not to open it until you leave?  Or secretly put it on their desk so they find it and have to come to you and bring it up?  Or even worse, send it to your HR Team and have them break the news to your boss?  See what I mean, none of these scenarios seem great.  If you really don’t care when they get it or read it and just want to quit, then why do you want to write the letter in the first place?  All of these scenarios also have a potential to leave a bad taste in your employer’s mouth and not think very highly of you on your way out.  You may say, “who cares I’m leaving,” but a general rule of thumb in life is never to burn bridges.  Again, with the only exception being you burn all of your bridges and move to Hawaii and don’t need to have any old bridges.

Now, if you go back to the beginning of the blog, I did say there are times when you can write a resignation letter.  If you are a high level executive or public official, a resignation letter is probably a good idea.  The thing to remember in those cases though is that you should probably tell someone above you first before just handing out a letter.  The letter should be more of a secondary tool in that case when resigning. 

woman wearing beige dress shirt using laptop computer

With all this being said, when you are resigning, it is a good idea to have some idea of how you are going to tell your boss.  You don’t want to just do it on a spur of the moment speech.  You should put some thought into it.  You don’t need to give the “Gettysburg Address” but you should put together coherent sentences.

So if you see a company offering to write you a resignation letter for a certain price, it’s a good idea to decide if you really need one or not.  I’ll leave you with another saying to end this and to keep in mind, “Less is more.”

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