How to Quit a Job You Just Accepted

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What's for you will always be for you, but what if a new job you just accepted simply... isn't? 
Sometimes, this happens: you extensively research a company, carefully read the job description and submit a thoughtful application, but come to find that the job isn't the best fit. So, you're faced with a tough decision: Do you stick it out, or quit?

No matter what the circumstance, resigning from a newly accepted position can be mentally and logistically challenging — but you're not alone. Below are five reasons why people quit shortly after they start, plus a few tips on saving your reputation when you quit and how to find the right fit during your next job search.

5 reasons people quit after they start.

1. To escape a hostile work environment.

Whether it be after one week or a year, a toxic work culture is a clear reason to leave a company. Toxic can refer to a lot of things: inappropriate coworkers, a horrible boss or a company that requires you to work overtime for no extra pay. This Fairygodboss user's experience says it all.

2. The company fabricated the job description.

Ethical interviewing isn't always practiced in the hiring process. Some roles are made to sound much more desirable in writing or when summarized during an interview than they really are. And for new positions at a company, employers may not have the details of the role hashed out before the interview process, so responsibilities aren't accurately defined for the candidate until they start.

3. You're overqualified for the position.

This Fairygodboss user quickly realized she was overqualified for a position she accepted only after she started working there. There were no opportunities for her to grow, either. After a candid conversation with her manager, she decided to leave after five months, freeing up the position for someone who might be a much better fit.

4. You received a better offer from another company.

It's not always a push factor that makes employees want to leave a newly accepted position. Sometimes, candidates receive two or more employment offers during their job search, with one offer letter being sent to them after they've already accepted another position. In these cases, candidates may opt to quit after a short time because they'd rather work somewhere else. 
If you find yourself in this predicament, think long and hard about whether you're willing to risk ruining relationships at your current company. Hiring is a lengthy process, and no hiring manager will be thrilled to hear you're leaving for a better opportunity so soon after accepting their offer. If, however, the new offer is worth it, then go ahead and give notice at your current job, but try to be as accommodating as possible. That means if they'd like you to transition your responsibilities to the next person and stay for two weeks (the standard notice timeline), do so with a cheerful attitude.

5. You realize it simply isn't the right fit for you.

Sometimes, jobs look a lot different from the outside than they do from within. Even our dream jobs can sound better on paper or in an interview than they really are. But you don't truly know what a job's going to be like until you're in it. Take it from this Fairygodboss user who accepted a position and within her first week, quickly realized it wasn't for her.

4 disadvantages of quitting too soon

If you're not careful, you may burn bridges with the employer.

Your relationship with your employer may be jeopardized by leaving too soon or too suddenly. Though not always the case, this is important to keep in mind because you may not be able to use them as a reference or maintain a professional connection with them for future networking opportunities.

Your professional reputation can be on the line.

Quitting after a short period of time can leave a bad impression on your company. This impression can potentially trickle down into the industry you're in, if it's a particularly tight-knit one.

You might ruin relationships with colleagues.

When you leave, your coworkers may wind up needing to own the tasks you were assigned until they can be delegated elsewhere. This could cause some tension between you and them if they didn't see this coming or if they already have a lot of their own responsibilities to juggle.

The financial struggle can get real.

But before it does — and before you leave — you want to make sure you save. Keep in mind that companies may ask you to leave immediately, so be ready to go well before your effective resignation date.

5 tips for quitting a job you just accepted.

1. Resign in person.

Emails may seem safe, but they're highly unprofessional in this matter and could show that you don't value your relationship enough with your manager or company to be fully present while you still can. Resigning in person can be highly uncomfortable, but it's the most professional and respectful route to take. A face-to-face conversation will allow your manager to hear your emotions and give them an opportunity to express theirs. 
Here's an example of how you can start this conversation:
The day or week of (in person or via email): Hey, can we chat for 20-minutes sometime today/this week? Wait for the response, then say: Okay, great. I'll look at your calendar and schedule time for us.
During the conversation: Thanks for meeting with me, [insert manager's name]. Since joining the company last week/month, I've learned [insert skills] and really enjoyed [insert highlights]. But after some careful thought, I think it's in my best interest to resign from the company effective [date]. [Optional sentence or two here about why you're leaving]. 
Give them a chance to respond, then continue: I'm willing to help train my replacement and am happy to aid the transition in the weeks to come.

2. Speak honestly and positively.

Let your hiring manager know that this decision wasn't an easy one for you to make and keep a positive tone when you do. If you're leaving the job because you'd like to accept another offer, you don't have to tell your employer where you're going if you don't want to. But you can share the parts of the job that don't align with what you're looking for, or the responsibilities you don't feel like you're ready for, if you're resigning because the role was simply not a good fit.

3. Have a letter of resignation ready.

Before you leave, you'll need to submit a typed letter of resignation to your employer for them to begin the off-boarding process. You should have this ready before your conversation to enable as smooth a transition as possible. 

4. Provide two week's notice.

It's generally polite to provide two week's notice, if you can. This gives your employer enough time to source qualified candidates for your position and delegate responsibilities to your colleagues before you leave. 
Upon hearing of your resignation, some companies may also ask you to leave immediately which you need to accept as a possibility before you resign. To prepare for this scenario, you should back up the files in your work laptop, find another health insurance provider and have a solid savings account which you can lean on as you transition. Plus, the onboarding process isn't always the most speedy, so it could be a while before you earn your next paycheck even if you do have a job lined up.

5. Accept your decision.

It's easy to feel guilty about leaving a company when you've only just started with them. Your employer may have expressed extreme excitement toward working with you, the company may really need someone with your expertise in that position or your decision to leave may have been so out of the blue, that guilt and confusion were simply your immediate response. But only you know what is best for you, so whatever your reason, know that it's a completely valid one.

Do you get paid if you quit without notice?

The Fair Labor Standards Acts of 1938 states that your employer must pay you for the hours you worked until your effective date of resignation. If you find that your earnings are being withheld from you, you're entitled to an employment tribunal which is a special court of law that provides justice for HR cases such as wrongful termination, sexual harassment, etc.

Finding the right fit

There are a number of ways you can approach your next job search, but you want to do so with intention, patience and optimism. Start by making a quick list of your top three priorities: Do you value high morale and a strong company culture? Are you looking for opportunities to collaborate across teams? Or, are you searching for specific health benefits and company perks? Jot down your dream role must-haves and filter your job search with these priorities in mind.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Stephanie Nieves served as a SEO & editorial associate on the Fairygodboss team. Her words can also be found on MediumPayScale and The Muse.

What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for if you want to quit right after you start a new job? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!