How to quit your first real job.

Two weeks ago I had to do something that absolutely terrified me — I gave my two weeks notice.

Lets rewind a bit to get the full story.

As college seniors we’re pretty much wired towards finding a job and being pushed out into the real world to start this “career” that you’ve been training for…but more often than not, you’re not sure what that means. I studied Economics, Biology and Organizational Psych so by that standard I should be…working in HR Analytics for a Pharmaceutical company? There is no straight path and the only thing I really knew is that I wanted to be in D.C. and tada, I made it as one of the 43% of college grads who were employed post college. This is nothing to be taken lightly, my mom was thrilled, family so proud, etc and so I packed up my bags and moved down to D.C.

New job was great, and wow these paychecks are awesome! But there was a lot of adjustment socially (where are my best friends from college?!), financially (excuse me Comcast – Internet is HOW much a month?) and just lifestyle wise (9-5 is not really a thing, its more like 8:30-6:00 on a good day). However, I was learning a lot and everyone around me was supportive of this hard time. I don’t know what other jobs are like, so lets keep rolling with this one!

Fast forward 8 months, I have learned SO much. About the business world, working with people, office structure and about what I can officially cross of my list of what I want to do for the rest of my life – a necessary part of discovering your career! I accept that while I love the office and people I work with, there is no room for advancement of any kind where I am.

Two months later, an opportunity to change companies and positions arrives at my door (or in my LinkedIn inbox to be precise) and I decide to apply, heck why not? One month after that, I’ve just signed an offer letter with a new company and I will be transitioning in a month. Oh the excitement!!

But there is one problem… I have to tell these great people who took a chance on my as a silly little new grad and taught me so much that I will be leaving them, after less than a year. Oy.

I had never quit a job before. Internships ended, I graduated high school or college, tennis season came up but never actually quit.  Quitting is no easy feat, and in this town and in this economy your number one goal should be to NOT BURN BRIDGES.

So this leads us to my advice in this matter, having just gone through the same ordeal.

So you’ve officially decided to quit, regardless of having another offer in hand:

1. Give two weeks notice.

Check your company hand book but two weeks for someone in an entry level position (as us new grads usually are) should be appropriate. Some companies may have given you a bonus stipulating that you stay there for a year so if you haven’t hit that mark yet take that into consideration. Also consider how much time they are going to need to replace you– have you been key on a project for months? Two weeks may not be long enough. There are also some companies that will tell you to leave that day. This saves them money, or they’re angry, or it’s policy…whatever it is just know that you will get your check in the mail and that will be it.

2. Tell your direct supervisor before anyone else. 

You may work in a company where there are tons of young people and you all are friends, go out and tell each other everything. It doesn’t matter, DO NOT tell them first. Word spreads like wild fire and my boss was very happy to hear that he knew before others, as this had not usually been the case. It shows respect and consideration of their needs in the matter.


Walk into their office after a meeting or schedule a time to chat. If you can do it in person, do so. If you can’t, phone in at minimum. NEVER email them your resignation without a conversation first.

3. Put it in writing.

After you’ve told your supervisor, put it in writing. Preferably email. Just for documentation sake.

4. Be positive.

This applies for both job interviews and exit interviews but never dis your current employer. Regardless of the fact that you hated it, the hours were long, your supervisors were mean or whatever you find the issues is. You stay positive, you mention the only reason for moving on is about you and growth and wish them the best.

The art of Manliness Suggests:

“Thank your boss for the opportunity, and if she asks why you’re quitting, simply emphasize something about the way in which your new job aligns better with your key interests than your current one does. “I’ve always wanted to do more teaching, and in my new job, that will be the biggest part of my responsibilities.” If there isn’t a reason like that to give (maybe you’re just jumping ship because of the downer culture of your current company), just tell your boss (and this goes for your colleagues too) something positive and general like, “I’m ready for a new kind of challenge” or, “This is a better opportunity for me.””

5. Don’t have one foot out the door

You gave your two weeks, now work for them. Make sure projects are transitioned, any phone numbers or clients are contacted, etc. Don’t just start surfing the internet because you suddenly can and don’t care. If that’s the case you’re just using them and wasting everyone’s time.

6. Say goodbye.

There must have been people you genuinely enjoyed working with or talking with at lunch. So say goodbye to them in an appropriate manner — I suggest a short personal email or card. Also, I will be bringing in cupcakes for all because, who doesn’t like cupcakes?

Good luck! D.C. is known for being a revolving door, they’ll understand.
&if you need any advice, you’re always welcome to ask us.


Categories: Self Improvement, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “How to quit your first real job.

  1. This is so true, people think leaving a job is the end of them being there but when people call to see how you did at that job the last thing they are going to remember was you walking out or giving one day notice. Brilliant post.

  2. Pingback: 100th Post! What’s Getting Us Through the Week | Liberty On Less

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