The university that I work at is asking me to resign in lieu of termination. I have basically been told that if I don't resign I will be terminated. My manager and HR have asked me to send them my resignation letter. In the letter, should I write that I was "asked to resign" as the reason for leaving my position? Or should I not include this? For more context, this is a private university in the New England area.

  • 20
    Check with your state's unemployment laws. Depending on your reason for resigning, you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits. You may be better off being terminated (assuming you don't already have another job lined up)
    – sf02
    Oct 20, 2020 at 19:17
  • 4
    HR serves the needs of the organization. As you are no longer a part of it, be careful of what you assume from them. If the resignation is not your fault, why must you resign? Oct 20, 2020 at 19:54
  • @Joe Strazzere: I ended up having a meeting with HR & my manager last week and they said this would lead to termination if I didn't resign. They said they wanted to give me a way to exit the university more gracefully instead of being terminated. I felt strong pressure from both of them to agree to this. The HR lady said I would be able to receive unemployment as this counts as a termination, but it would be written as a resignation on my file. I ended up talking more to my manager and we negotiated one more week, which he had to get approval for. My end date will be the end of the month.
    – Nia
    Oct 20, 2020 at 21:39
  • 14
    "The HR lady said I would be able to receive unemployment" sounds like a flat lie
    – Fattie
    Oct 21, 2020 at 11:23

4 Answers 4


In the letter, should I write that I was "asked to resign" as the reason for leaving my position?

No, just do something along the lines of:

"I regret to inform you that I will be resigning my position with [blah place], effective on [mm/dd/yyy]." Keep it as simple and brief as possible.

If you are serving a notice period, add that as well if you wish.

Resigning is viewed more favorably than being terminated, so be appreciative of the fact they are asking you to resign versus being terminated.

One thing for you to consider, are unemployment benefits/insurance an option for you? If so check out your state's regulations as if you resign versus being fired you may not qualify.

  • 1
    Yes, they did let me know i could collect unemployment.
    – Nia
    Oct 20, 2020 at 18:44
  • 36
    @Nia They who? Check with the unemployment office to be 100% certain.
    – Neo
    Oct 20, 2020 at 18:49
  • 24
    What @Neo said a thousand times, its in their interest to have you out of the doors, and there is no penalty for them for giving you bad advice regarding unemployment benefits, so before you will send over this letter triple check the unemployment eligibility yourself.
    – Aida Paul
    Oct 20, 2020 at 18:52
  • 4
    When it comes to forced resignation letters you cannot beat the short, simple example of Richard Nixon. images.app.goo.gl/dGj9zS2k8dT7xPQt7 Oct 21, 2020 at 2:22
  • 2
    This is basically wrong, delete "I regret to inform you that" and "will be"
    – Fattie
    Oct 21, 2020 at 11:25

The university will ask you to do what's in their best interest. You can be reasonably sure that it's not in your best interest. The only times when you would resign yourself are (1) if you want to leave and they don't want to let you go, and (2) if you did something that exposes you to criminal charges, and you are given the choice of resigning or the police getting involved.

If they want to get rid of you, make them pay for it.

  • 1
    As I never -1 without a comment: there is a third reason to resign, so you can honestly say that you've quite the job and control the narrative this way, without having to lie or otherwise hide the fact that you've been fired. It can also easier for the HR department, but that certainly is a relatively often given out and better for the soon-to-be-ex employee.
    – Aida Paul
    Oct 21, 2020 at 17:00
  • 1
    @TymoteuszPaul In the last five years, resigning would have cost me a very large five digit number.
    – gnasher729
    Oct 21, 2020 at 22:19

If you need unemployment insurance benefits more than a spotless employment history, then let them terminate you. If you need to control your employment history so that there's nothing to explain from this job, then resign. (If you resign, make the letter short and to the point; disregard the 'forced' part.)


They want you to resign instead of directly terminating your employment. They have a reason - it can only be guessed at why.

Use this to your advantage. Negotiate as to what they will do for you to resign as opposed to firing you outright. Severance pay? Continuation of benefits at employee rates for a period of time? Usage of outplacement resources?

Do not tale the HR opinion that you will remain eligible if you resign as opposed to being terminated. Get an answer from your states employment security office before resigning. Do not believe HR - they represent the company and not your interests.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .