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How do I talk to my HR about quitting?

How do I talk to my HR about quitting?

You've had a great run at that terrible job—maybe it was the best thing in your life. But now you want out. Before you go ahead with such an important decision, make sure you know everything there is to know about whether or not you can legally fire someone from their position without having to pay severance benefits.

In this article, we'll cover some of the most common things people ask us for advice about quitting jobs, as well as answer those burning questions they have about talking to human resources (HR). We will also detail exactly how to go through the process of telling your employer that you're leaving.

So let's get started!

Can HR tell me to quit?

No. In general, employers cannot force employees to stay employed against their will. However, many states require certain types of workers — typically hourly and salaried positions like cooks, servers, security guards, etc.—to receive notice periods, wage breaks, vacation time, and other benefits if fired without cause. This varies between states, so it’s always good practice to check up-to-date state employment laws online.

If you are required by law to be given any type of separation package upon resignation, then doing so would fall under “cause." If you are simply resigning because you don't enjoy working with your current manager anymore, however, then no formal separation agreement may need to be made. The only requirements of an employee who wants to voluntarily resign his/her position are to notify management of his or her intent to exit within two weeks of said departure date.

But even though you might feel comfortable discussing your desire to quit directly with your manager, keep in mind that he or she has more power than you think. Here's why...

An effective "quit" conversation includes three elements: 1) Why you chose to step down, 2) What needs to change to convince you to reconsider, 3) How you plan to handle future contact with your team members. You should never try to pressure anyone into staying, but rather give them options and suggestions and encourage them to find solutions together. Remember that you are both part of the same company family, and your success depends on everyone pulling together toward one goal.

Another reason it's smart to take others' opinions into account first is that they could potentially become allies to help advocate for your interests while making decisions regarding your continued employment. By approaching fellow managers or co-workers privately beforehand, you prevent unnecessary drama later on. For example, if you currently hold the title of VP of marketing, approach another member of upper management privately before letting your boss know your intentions. It won't hurt to suggest ideas for improving communication, either. Maybe your new manager doesn't appreciate being left out of meetings, or maybe your colleagues aren't open about sharing concerns due to fear of repercussions. Either way, asking your peers for feedback could save you valuable energy.

Finally, remember that managers often use threats and ultimatums during difficult conversations. Don't play right into these tactics. Instead, focus on communicating clearly and professionally about what changes must occur for you to remain content moving forward. Remind him or her of your accomplishments over the past year and show appreciation for all the positive contributions you’ve already made. Be honest about where issues lie, and avoid accusations or blame language. Try saying something along the lines of, "I understand that conflict isn't fun, but I really value our relationship and am concerned that conflicts between myself and [your supervisor] will continue to escalate unless we address them head on."

By remaining calm and professional, you send a clear message that you respect yourself enough to speak honestly about problems affecting your performance. At the end of the day, you still deserve fair treatment just like every other employee does. So don't hesitate to request improvements. Just remember to stick to facts and refrain from criticizing specific individuals.

As long as you're direct and respectful in your communications, you shouldn't encounter too much trouble bringing attention to potential workplace issues. After all, it's unlikely that your manager wouldn't care about the quality of his staff, especially considering how crucial it is to his personal growth and success. He's probably been trying to improve himself since hiring onto the team. A little bit of constructive criticism goes a long way.

Can I call HR to quit my job?

Yes. As mentioned above, the main rule preventing bosses from forcing employees to stay employed against their will is called at-will employment. This means that you can choose to resign whenever you wish, as long as you follow legal guidelines. Of course, sometimes circumstances beyond your control make it necessary for you to depart sooner than planned, which is fine. When this happens, it's better to discuss your reasons openly with your manager early on rather than waiting until after you quit to disclose to him. Your boss may be able to offer assistance, or perhaps he or she feels betrayed by your sudden departure. Plus, it gives you peace of mind knowing that you didn't hide anything from him. Now that you've come clean, your next move is up to you.

However, if you'd prefer speaking with HR before actually leaving, we recommend contacting them immediately following your discussion with your manager. HR professionals can provide guidance on navigating the remainder of your contract and possibly refer you to counseling services if needed. They can also advise you on your rights related to unemployment insurance coverage once you officially resign from your post. And finally, they can offer helpful tips for preparing to leave, such as documenting your achievements and outlining your goals for continuing to grow personally and professionally.

It's easy to see why calling HR before you quit is beneficial. Not only does it protect you from possible retaliation, but it also keeps your records updated and makes it easier for you to reference pertinent documents when explaining your situation. With luck, you'll meet an accommodating HR department willing to support you throughout this challenging transition period.

Should I talk to HR before quitting?

Absolutely yes. While your choice to quit is completely yours alone, you should consider reaching out to HR before taking action to ensure your safety. Human resource representatives usually act as mediators between employees and supervisors. Their role is to guide you through complicated situations and help you decide whether it's safe to return to work, apply for disability insurance, file an EEOC complaint, or seek other avenues for resolving disputes. In short, they serve as advocates for your career.

They can also help you organize your thoughts and feelings regarding your upcoming departure, enabling you to formulate a strategy for handling the fallout. Some examples include requesting additional training, negotiating salary cuts, applying for retirement plans, and attempting to reach a compromise instead of walking away altogether. These actions will minimize stress and disruption to your daily routine, thus boosting productivity and morale overall.

Additionally, HR experts can assist you in identifying other opportunities within the organization, particularly if you want to eventually advance your career. Keep in mind that these steps are designed to benefit you, but they can also boost your own self esteem at times when confidence levels are low.

Lastly, HR departments are full of experienced professionals trained specifically in helping former employees navigate complex transitions. Therefore, if you ever have difficulty finding resolution via phone calls, emails, or face-to-face discussions, it's worth consulting with a counselor instead. Professionals skilled in dealing with interpersonal difficulties are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week across North America.

How do I tell HR I'm quitting?

Your final step is to inform your immediate superior and/or HR representative(s) that you intend to terminate your position. To maintain confidentiality, it's ideal to communicate this news to higher ups outside of the office and wait until you've discussed what happened afterward to explain to coworkers. Otherwise, word could spread quickly among your network of friends and acquaintances, and you definitely don't want that happening when you're already feeling vulnerable.

For starters, you can share your intention to quit with your coworker group via email or social media platforms like Facebook. Then, politely ask them to kindly pass along your announcement to other interested parties. Next, you can arrange for a mutually convenient meeting with your manager to discuss your rationale behind stepping down. During this session, review your recent successes and challenges relating to your duties and responsibilities, plus explore ways to overcome obstacles that led to negative outcomes. Finally, highlight progress you've achieved since joining the company, along with strategies for further enhancing your skills going forward.

Resigning from a company is never an easy conversation—and it can be even more difficult if the person leaving has been with that employer for some time or was part of its founding team.

If you’re thinking about giving up your current position in order to move onto other opportunities, we have answers for many common questions below. We also offer advice on communicating this news directly to your human resources department. This article will cover topics like whether you need to speak with your manager first and how to approach any follow-up conversations with your former colleagues.

Before jumping into our tips, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while discussing your plans.

Be prepared to answer tough questions

When someone quits their job, they may face multiple inquiries as well as concerns over the future role. For example, your new employer may want to know why you’ve chosen to leave or why you think another organization would make better use of your skills. You might also receive requests to provide references or feedback regarding performance issues at your old workplace.

It’s important to remember that these types of discussions don't necessarily mean anything bad about your character or abilities — just that there could potentially be room for improvement. As such, try not to take them personally. Remember that each situation is different and sometimes people simply feel the need to vent frustration or stress out before taking action. It doesn’t reflect poorly upon your ability to handle conflict or challenges once they arise.

In addition, because there are so many factors involved, it’s likely you won’t know exactly which specific question will come next until it does show up. Make sure you're ready to address all the possible queries without feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of responding. Our guide on handling tricky interviews provides additional suggestions.

Know that resignation isn't always necessary

There are times where employees decide to exit a particular industry or field rather than seek employment elsewhere within the same company. If that sounds familiar to you, consider speaking with your supervisor about transitioning out instead of moving on altogether. Many companies allow certain positions to remain vacant due to changes in business needs or goals. Your employer may see potential for growth down the road and wish to retain your experience.

While this type of scenario typically requires less planning and communication compared to making a major career change, you still owe it to yourself to explore options outside of your current role.

Think ahead and plan accordingly

Even though you may ultimately choose to stay put at one company forever after receiving offers from others, it’s beneficial to give thought to what happens next now that you’ve resigned. Ask yourself questions like “what am I qualified for in terms of promotions and salary increases?,” “is there anywhere else I'm interested in working?” and “do I really need to find new housing?” Then set aside some time to research those things online and connect with recruiters who specialize in the areas you’d most enjoy exploring.

As a general rule, look for jobs that align with your passions and strengths. That way, you’ll end up finding something that feels right even if you switch industries later down the line. And since you’re already looking for something new, it helps to get started early.

The sooner you start networking, the higher your chances of landing great gigs. Check out ways to network effectively to learn how to break into new fields.

Stay positive throughout the process

You’ll undoubtedly encounter plenty of doubts along the way. But regardless of the outcome, remind yourself of your long list of accomplishments and personal achievements. Think back to all the positives you brought to your previous roles and projects. Talk through your reasons for wanting to pursue your interest again. Tell yourself stories about past successes and failures, too. In doing so, remind yourself that you’re capable of turning around situations for the best.

Keep track of everything going on

During stressful moments when you’re weighing decisions about staying or leaving a company, it’s helpful to organize your thoughts using digital tools. Set reminders for tasks and events, write notes, and create checklists. Some apps also include templates for helping you determine next steps.

Then, refer to these items often so you’re able to prioritize your workload or schedule meetings based on priorities. Use whatever works best for you, but ensure you aren’t missing deadlines or forgetting details.

Finally, keep tabs on applications you submit via email (or similar) and your resume. Having an organized workflow makes searching for openings easier and eliminates confusion about where you stand.

With practice, you'll eventually become comfortable talking to your HR department about quitting. Keep reading for tips on approaching your departure in the most effective manner.

Should I talk to HR about quitting?

Yes! When you resign from your current job, especially if you were hired by the company, it’s highly recommended that you reach out to your human resource representative. The reason being is that your company wants to help facilitate a smooth transition for you and avoid complications during the hiring process. Plus, if you haven't spoken with anyone in your organization yet, it gives you a chance to share your vision with your superiors.

Don’t worry, however, if you have reservations about reaching out to your HR department. There are several approaches you can take depending on your personality. Here are two popular methods.

Talk to your boss first

Some people prefer to approach their bosses about quitting first. While this strategy obviously depends on the circumstances surrounding your decision, it’s worth considering if you’re worried about coming off as negative. After all, your goal is to present a clear picture of the direction you’re heading. Even if you’re nervous about having an awkward discussion, it’s probably best to go straight to the source anyway.

Another advantage of starting with your boss is that he or she will be open to hearing your rationale for leaving. They may understand your reasoning for wanting to step away and be willing to support your choice. On top of that, you can build trust by telling him or her beforehand that you’re contemplating exiting the company and asking for his opinion.

Ask for advice

Alternatively, you can let your managers know that you’d like to discuss quitting with HR. To do so, send a message explaining your intentions and requesting guidance on navigating upcoming conversations. Be upfront that you’re hoping to hear constructive criticism and advice from them.

This tactic allows you to gain valuable insights about your capabilities without worrying about appearing impolite or unqualified. However, be careful not to overwhelm your supervisors with too much information. Only mention specifics related to the reason you left. Lastly, be patient and appreciative when they reply back. Don’t expect immediate responses, either. Depending on your relationship with your manager, you may need to wait days or weeks before getting a response.

Once you've decided to proceed, you can continue learning about the best practices for dealing with internal departures. Read on for strategies on addressing questions from coworkers, managing reference calls, and preparing to depart.

Should you talk to HR before quitting?

No matter what method you decide to use, it’s crucial to speak with your HR representative before departing. That said, you shouldn’t feel obligated to meet with your department prior to actually quitting. Instead, focus on ensuring you’re equipped to manage a successful transition.

For instance, it’s smart to review policies related to severance packages and benefits offered by your employers. Also, consider scheduling sessions with your counselor or therapist so you can deal with feelings of anxiety and depression. These professionals can assist you with coping mechanisms and help you sort through emotions associated with losing your livelihood.

Lastly, think about any training courses or certifications you needed to complete before leaving. Now’s the time to grab them and apply. With these qualifications under your belt, you’ll appear more confident when you communicate your plans to your employer.

What do I say to HR when resigning?

Whether you choose to talk to your bosses first or not, the actual words used to describe your desire to exit vary slightly. Still, there are some standard phrases you can incorporate into your speech whenever presenting your case. Consider practicing delivering these statements aloud at home and then listening to recordings. Pay attention to voice inflections, pronunciation, and tone. You’ll notice variations among individuals, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

Below are examples of commonly asked questions and corresponding replies you can use:

"I'd like to thank [insert relevant title] for the opportunity."

"My last day will be [date]. During this period, I hope to [complete task]."

"[Insert name], although I’m excited to explore other opportunities with you/your firm.]"

"Unfortunately, I cannot commit beyond today. My final date will depend on [specific criteria]."

"[Fill in blank]: What are you currently pursuing?"

"Although I enjoyed working at [company], I believe [fill in the blanks] will serve me better overall."

"At this point in time, I’m seeking a full-time position that allows me to contribute further."

It’s hard enough getting a new job in this economy. What if that new gig comes with an ultimatum—stay for two months or get out?

You have three options when it comes to telling your current employer why you want to leave. You can email them, call their office line, or send them a letter via mail (or fax). Whichever route you choose, be prepared because there are some things you need to know ahead of time. Here’s everything you need to keep in mind so you don't accidentally burn bridges while searching for employment.

What to say when you call to quit your job?

Before we discuss whether you can actually pick up the phone to break the news, let’s go through exactly what needs to happen. First off, make sure you're ready to take action. It might sound obvious but many people think they can just “quit without giving two weeks' notice" since they believe they won’t really miss the money anyway. This is not true. In most cases, employers will require written notification at least 30 days before any resignation date. So, even though you may feel fine now, remember that tomorrow could bring another day where you’re scrambling to find something else fast.

When you’ve taken care of all these steps, here’s what you should always consider saying:

I would like to notify [your manager] that I am no longer able to continue working at [company name], as I'm moving overseas soon. My last day is [date]. Please provide me with a list of references who can verify my good performance.

If possible, please arrange a meeting between us to discuss my future career trajectory within [the company]. I also realize that due to our financial situation, I cannot afford relocation costs and therefore I will be returning home immediately after I finish my project.

Next, walk your manager through the timeline. If you’re going abroad, explain why you’ll only have a short stay before coming back to resume normal duties. Tell him or her that you’d like to set up a follow-up meeting to discuss next steps. Ask if there’s anything more you can do to help facilitate a smooth transition. Make sure he or she knows that you’re planning to return stateside once the trip ends. And finally, make sure you end by thanking your manager for his or her support. At this point, hang up. Don’t wait around for a response. Call again in 10 minutes to check in. That way, you can still evaluate what happened and see if you made the right decision.

The key takeaway from all this is to stick to facts and avoid being emotional. Your goal isn’t to stir drama or create conflict. Instead, focus on keeping things professional during the conversation so neither party feels attacked in the process.

Can you give your 2 weeks notice over the phone?

Now that you know how to handle yourself, you may wonder if you can simply call in sick one morning and announce that you’ve decided to move away forever. Unfortunately, there are certain regulations surrounding telecommuting employees which vary depending upon location. The best thing to do is contact your human resources department first to ensure that you aren’t violating any rules or policies. For example, if your position requires face-to-face meetings, then you probably shouldn’t try to skip those altogether.

In general, however, the answer is yes. You can legally drop whatever excuse you use to justify remaining silent long enough to gather your thoughts and figure out how to proceed. But how much notice should you give? According to a survey conducted by, the average amount of time workers gave was 11 days, but 56 percent said they didn’t receive any advance warning at all. One person told the site: "My supervisor called me into her office and asked me 'Why did you decide to leave?' After I answered, she stated that I had until 5 p.m., Thursday, December 7th, 2008 to pack my belongings."

Keep in mind that you’ll likely want to consult someone who has experience dealing with layoffs. Even if you’re technically allowed to leave whenever you want, if your departure means other employees lose their jobs, your company may argue that you were terminated rather than laid off. A lawyer specializing in labor law can advise you further regarding local laws and regulations. Regardless, if you plan to relocate permanently, it doesn’t hurt to get advice from legal counsel beforehand.

So what happens next? Depending on your policy, your manager may offer assistance finding a replacement employee. Or, she may schedule a final review session to determine whether you earned any outstanding wages or benefits. She may even suggest training programs designed to enhance your skillset. Whatever she says, document the outcome carefully so you can refer to it later on when applying for positions elsewhere.

Finally, remember that you are entitled to severance pay if you were employed under contract. Many companies automatically include this benefit in standard agreements, but double-check before signing anything official. Also, make sure you understand the terms of those contracts and read them thoroughly. Read the agreement multiple times to familiarize yourself with its contents. You never know when you might need proof of having signed it — especially if you ever file for unemployment compensation.

What questions should I ask HR before leaving?

Once you’ve broken the bad news to your manager, it’s time to address the elephant in the room: Human Resources. Before approaching anyone in management, research potential exit strategies so you know what to expect. Find out what kind of paperwork you’ll need to fill out. Know what documents must be turned in if you want continued access to company data such as emails and records. Learn who handles the details and who oversees the entire hiring process. Keep track of deadlines and timelines so you aren’t left wondering what comes next. Then, sit down with a trusted colleague or advisor and draft statements explaining why you want to leave and what you intend to do next. Finally, practice delivering your speech so you’re comfortable talking about sensitive issues. Remember, you have every right to express dissatisfaction as a worker.

After that, you’ll need to submit those documents to your immediate supervisor along with a copy of your termination papers. He or she will sign the forms acknowledging receipt so you officially begin the separation process. Once that’s done, you’ll usually have five business days to vacate your desk or otherwise remove personal property. During this period, you'll need to report your hours accurately each week to prove that you weren't slacking off.

But what happens after that? There’s a lot to cover, so speak with a lawyer who specializes in the area of human resource law specific to your state. Most professionals recommend holding onto your old laptop or smartphone for 72 hours so you can download important files and contacts, and transfer accounts so nothing gets charged incorrectly. Some experts also suggest asking former colleagues to reach out to you before you completely cut ties with the company. They may be willing to share useful tips and referral info specifically geared towards helping you land a better job.

Lastly, be aware that some types of visas and permits may expire during this timeframe. Contact your nearest U.S. consulate to learn when yours expires and renew accordingly. Otherwise, you could potentially violate visa restrictions and risk deportation.

Should I talk to HR before resigning?

Yes! Speaking with an experienced representative early gives you peace of mind knowing that you’re protected against fraudulent practices and unfair firings. Plus, you’ll gain valuable insight into the actual processes involved and learn about additional benefits you qualify for.

Remember, you’re not obligated to disclose confidential information relating to your case unless required by law. However, if you’re worried about repercussions from speaking freely, rest assured that any attorney handling your case will respect that confidentiality. Additionally, your workplace may already possess relevant documentation related to your role at the company. Check your computer trash folder, recycle bin, and shred everything that contains private correspondence or other sensitive material.

Additionally, you’ll want to look for evidence of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, etc. As mentioned above, speak to a lawyer specialized in labor law to help identify violations. Be proactive and document situations involving questionable behavior instead of waiting for someone else to step forward. For instance, if you witnessed discriminatory remarks directed toward a coworker, write down your concerns immediately and note who uttered them. Similarly, if you received negative feedback about your work product, record the incident and describe the comments that prompted it. Documenting events helps build stronger arguments in the event of a lawsuit.



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