Resume Tips

How to Quit a Job You Just Started Professionally


It’s official — you’ve passed all the interview rounds, accepted the job offer, and done a new professional title. You should feel as happy as a kid on a sugar high (especially in the current job market). Instead, you feel as miserable as if you’ve been stepping on a Lego brick every night for three weeks in a row. 

And here comes the tough, but possibly right decision: Calling it quits. But how do you quit a job you’ve just started without leaving a foul first impression? Here’s our take. 

Is It Bad to Quit a Job After a Week?

The decision to quit a job you’ve just started is neither particularly bad nor uncommon. Almost 30% of workers decide if the job is a right fit for them in the first week and another 40% — during the first month. 

From an employer’s perspective — yeah, losing a new employee in a week feels bad, given how much time and resources they’ve invested in hiring one. But it’s marginally better having someone who’s highly disengaged and unhappy in their role either.  To create a better career opportunity for yourself and for someone else who may thrive in the role you’re leaving, resign from a job that doesn’t feel right for you the moment you realize that.

What Are the Cons of Quitting a Job You Just Started?

Quitting a job after a week or a month comes with its bag of tricks, however. You may leave some people upset and get your reputation slightly tainted. Here’s why hitting eject too soon might just be the plot twist you didn’t see coming: 

  • Getting on a do-not-hire list. You probably won’t be able to re-apply with the same company in the near future. In some cases, hiring managers at other companies may also get a whiff of your job hopping and refuse to consider you. 
  • Extra gaps on a resume. Your short-term stint won’t look good on a resume. Sure you can omit it, but you’d still have to explain the gap on your resume
  • Financial sacrifices. People who quit voluntarily, rather than get terminated, are not eligible for unemployment insurance or any other state benefits. If you’ve also received some sign-on bonus or another financial perk, you may also be asked to return that. 
  • Missed opportunities. You’re not just walking away from what you’ve got to experience so far, but also from potentially good things like uncashed learning opportunities, new professional connections, etc. 

How to Quit a Job You Just Started Professionally 

Leaving a new job too quickly can singe some professional bridges and result in an awkward pause when you get asked about the reasons for leaving your last job the next time around. But if you’re certain this is the right thing to do, here’s how you proceed. 

1. Give Yourself a Final Reality Check 

Be honest: do you have good reasons to quit? Or are you acting on emotions? 

Rage quitting a job after some early frustrations or temporary setbacks can feel quite painful in the retrospective. In fact, 80% of workers who left a job during the Great Resignation now feel regrets. In particular, people regret changing industries or feel that the new position didn’t do much to improve their work-life balance or mental health (as they originally hoped). So go through your reasons for quitting once again before making the final call. 

Good reasons to quit a job you’ve just started 

  • Toxic work environment where you feel disrespected, gaslighted, or downright harassed. 
  • Poor employment terms that bend employment policies or government regulations or underemployment — aka you’re given too few hours and too few opportunities to use your skill set.
  • Inadequate resources. The company offered “amazing work conditions and total support for all employees”, but you’ve realized that they could care less about offering extra support or even covering your basic needs. 
  • Mismatched expectations. The actual job responsibilities differ a lot from the glossy job description you’ve been given and you feel slightly deceived.  
  • Unsafe work conditions are something you shouldn’t walk, but run away from, and so do pretty fast. 
  • Competing offer. This was your “compromise” position and you’ve then received an offer from your dream company. 
  • Ethical concerns. The employer has some shady practices, contrarian to your values and beliefs.  

Bad reasons to quit a job you’ve just started 

  • Early day setbacks. No one immediately becomes a rock star from day one. On average, new employees need 12 months to reach their full potential in the role.
  • Personality clashes. Your superiors and coworkers need time to get to know you and you’ll eventually find your footing with different people. 
  • Impostor syndrome. If you’ve been hired for this role, you’ve got what it takes to succeed in it. Don’t quit a job because you’re afraid to fail. 
  • Grass-is-Greener Syndrome. Unless you have a written job offer that is objectively better in front of you, don’t be tempted to think that every other company is so much better than your current employer. 
  • Peer pressure. Just because your second cousin is paid more in a similar role or Aunt Rosy believes that this employer is shady, doesn’t mean you should conform.  

2. Approach Your Manager 

Breaking the news may be gut-wrenching. But for most jobs, you’ll have to do so face-to-face, rather than through a cheeky quitting email

Schedule a 1:1 with your direct manager and voice your decision. If you’re not sure how to phrase things professionally, we’ve got a working script for telling your boss you’re quitting. Use it as a quick prompt to gather your thoughts before walking into the meeting. 

A good manager will try to understand why you’re leaving so soon and perhaps try to retain you. Consider their counter-offer(s) before making the final say. Perhaps, they can adjust your responsibilities, adjust your work schedule, or even increase your pay. But make sure all those promises are made in writing to avoid false hopes. 

If the company didn’t bother with retaining you or you’re bent on quitting the job nonetheless, submit an official resignation. 

3. File Your Two-Week Notice  

Want to know the best excuse to quit a job without notice? There isn’t one unless you have some special clauses in your employment contract. 

In all other cases, you’ll have to write and file a standard two-week notice to the HR department, plus cc your manager and any other people who may be affected by your decision. Keep your letter short and professional. State your intention to leave and mention your last work day. You can grab a two-week notice email template from our previous post.  

Better Jobs are Out There

The decision to quit a new job isn’t an easy one — and it also means you’re back to customizing your resume and practicing common interview questions. Don’t treat this as a setback though, but rather as a temporary detour on your career path! 

Author

  • Elena ProkopetsElena Prokopets

    Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice… more



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