How to Quit a Job You Just Started Without Ruining Your Rep, According to Executive Coaches

Woman with laptop in front of her looking up left to a window.

Adobe Stock

Profile Picture

You’ve just landed a new job after months of not working and there’s a sinking feeling in your stomach: this isn’t going to work out.

You might feel devastated, frustrated or even heartbroken. It’s disappointing to land a secure gig only to realize it’s not the right one, and it’s even more complicated when you’ve just begun. Here’s how to quit when you’ve just started — without damaging your reputation.

1. Consider why you want to leave.

This exercise isn’t a way to convince yourself that you shouldn’t leave, but rather one to reaffirm why you’re making this choice. Think about what’s bothering you and why the job doesn’t feel right. Is it the field you’re working in or the company you work for? Does it have to do with the workplace culture or your everyday tasks and responsibilities? Knowing exactly why you want to leave will help you make sure you’re prepared to resign gracefully — and prepared to explain this move in future interviews.

2. Resign face-to-face.

In the remote working world, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to resign in person. Still, Zoom or another video chatting program is a better option than Slack, email, text or even a phone call. “So much of our communication is nonverbal. Our gestures, our facial expressions, our tone — all of those things you can pick up over video,” says Margaret H. Greenberg, executive coach, speaker, and positive psychology pioneer. Setting up a video call ensures you’ll be communicating with your manager as effectively and honestly as you can.

3. Offer advanced notice.

Because you’ve just started working, it’s best to offer advanced notice before officially leaving the company. Unless your company has another policy, giving two weeks’ notice is most appropriate. If you can stay for a week or two longer to help, you can offer this option as well; however, carer and executive coach Rebecca Zucker warns, “The company may just want you to leave immediately.” 

4. Set your coworkers up for success.

The best way to make a positive exit is to leave the workplace better than it was when you first arrived. Your manager and team might be scrambling to find your replacement and will be taking on heavier workloads once you’ve left. Make their lives easier by helping them on your way out. Give them the resources they’ll need to continue your projects and manage your tasks, whether that means leaving detailed project notes or sharing access to any relevant files or accounts.    

5. Work hard until the very last day.

Just because you’re on your way out doesn’t mean that you’ve already left the company. Persevering until the very last day will not only help ease your transition, but it’ll also leave a good impression on your colleagues and manager. Staying positive will ensure you’re not leaving with any hard feelings; staying responsible will show your work ethic when you need a reference in the future.

6. Move on and move forward.

It’s normal to feel uncomfortable or down about yourself once you’ve left a job you’ve just started. Know that you’ve made the best decision for you and embrace your new job search journey. Moving forward is the best way to move on and get you closer to landing a job you really love.

What's your no. 1 tip for quitting with class? Leave your answer in the comments to help other FGB'ers!

This article does not reflect the views of Fairygodboss.