When writing a letter of resignation where you are not happy with the company's direction, is it good form to add a detailed laundry list of what those things are or just keep it generic like "the direction of the company..."?
is it good form to add a detailed laundry list of what those things are or just keep it generic like "the direction of the company..."?
If you want to keep it professional you should avoid the detailed laundry list. There is no need for you to give detailed explanations, and doing so unrequested could burn some bridges.
Saying such things would be more appropriate if there were some sort of exit interview and were asked about your reasons in detail. Anyways, you also want to keep it professional and constructive if such interview ever happens.
or just keep it generic like "the direction of the company..."?
Don't even go that far. No reasons are necessary. Just something like this is sufficient and clear:
I hereby give X days notice of my resignation. My last day with the company will be [date].
Giving even a vague reason opens the door to bad feelings ("What's wrong with the direction of the company? It seems fine to me!"), and the consequences that can come from that (which will vary depending on where you are in the world).
I'm surprised that I need to write this, but apparently a lot of people consider resignation letters and exit interviews to be things that should be handled the same way, so: This is only advice about what to write in a resignation letter. I do not recommend saying this in an exit interview.
It's not mentioned but some companies request you do an exit interview and there are times you can mention things like:
- I've capped out in my position and I'm looking for more opportunities
- didn't feel like I was growing within the company
- new position is offering a better salary
And a few other things that you can mention that may not necessarily burn a bridge. If you're never wanting to go back and have an exit interview then fully disclose.
Resignation is a very formal milestone in the life of an employee. It it is the one action he can take without any possible recourse for the employer - the employer has no say in it whatsoever. It is not a discussion, it is not something that can be taken back easily.
Interestingly, threatening resignation while not having formally resigned yet is not a powerful tool for an employee. It usually does not work in the way intended, it just puts you on an (at least) mental blacklist with your manager - he'll probably not spend a lot more effort or money on you if he knows that you're looking for a new job anyways.
Any attempts to improve the situation have to happen before your resignation.
If you resign out of the blue, with your boss having not a single idea of why that could be, this means that you never even tried to improve anything. Anything that leads to your resignation could have been discussed with your manager beforehand - without threatening resignation. So if you brought problems up, and they were not resolved, and you do eventually resign, your boss will know perfectly well what the issue was (or if not, because they were unable to listen, then it wouldn't matter anyways).
If you have a new job (a freshly signed contract) at the time of your resignation, then the standard reason for resigning is "I got a new offer which was just too good to pass by". This is never a lie - whatever "too good" means (could be money, incentives, time to travel, interesting topics, whatever). I wouldn't go into too much detail, and usually not even tell them the new firm.
If you do not have a new job, then saying something like "I need substantial time off to take care of my own life" is perfectly fine. This could include fixing stuff that broke because the job was so bad - but there is zero reasons to let them know that. They can't help you anymore, in the best case it's neutral, and worst case you're burning bridges.
Unless there is a contract or other legal constraint requiring you give a reason, I wouldn't offer one. Just say you are leaving to pursue another opportunity.
Other answers suggest that you present your reasons at a formal exit interview. I generally disagree:
If the exit interview is the first time you're airing your laundry, then you've done your employer and yourself a disservice by not at least trying to improve things while you were there.
If you raised these issues as an employee but couldn't get support to address them, then don't expect your comments to change things after you leave. Even if they change, it won't benefit you.
One possible benefit to giving some of your reasons is if you think it may benefit someone you leave behind.