Given the nature of my job I am not sure whether workplace.SE is a better option of if academia.SE is where I should post this question.

I am currently a postdoctoral associate at a lab in France. I was hired in May 2014, on a 2 year contract, after I met a certain set of requirements (knowledge of a certain sub-topic in applied physics). My core responsibilities were the development of physical concepts to drive the design of a certain automotive technology and create a knowledge-base for the same.

9 months or so in, I found that all I have been doing for this duration is debug a "spaghetti" computer code developed by my supervisor. This computer code is related to the technology in question but it does not involve developing physical concepts. It has to do with correcting bugs in a code that has never been documented, no FAQs exist and neither is there a "Help manual".

It suffices to say that my job has lacked professional development entirely as all I have done for a large part of the year is debug code and NOT develop physical concepts as advertised initially.

I would like to resign from my position for lack of professional development. Yes, I have received a job offer (pending employment visa requirements) as a faculty at a US university. The employment visa notwithstanding, I don't think continuing to ruminate in my current position is a healthy option (personally and in terms of future career growth).

How should I go about my resignation in a professional manner with minimal backlash on my career (don't want to be seen as a quitter)? What are the key points I should make? Should I provide a notice period? Also, my contract doesn't have any clause of a notice period. I am not asking for a resignation letter template as the internet is flooded with them.

  • Is there a reason why this received a -1? Perhaps I could modify the question to better fit this SE site.
    – dearN
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 12:31
  • hello, consider editing the question to make it better fit site topics laid out in help center. In particular, this guidance may help to learn what is expected of questions here. Good luck!
    – gnat
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 13:00
  • This is a very related question.
    – enderland
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 15:32
  • @enderland Kinda, sorta. In my case, I am not doing what I was hired to do. I am not acquiring any skills at my current job that I would like to use/will not use extensively in my career; unless I change my career entirely. A post-doc appointment usually (in most countries) allows for independent development of ideas in a field or a sub-field. This is not the case with my current employment. I am required to "correct" an idea previously proposed by my boss for which I was not hired.
    – dearN
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


There's a big amount of reading material on how to gracefully resign your job.

And the list goes on.

However, you're probably wondering on how to put what you wish to say into words. It doesn't have to be too complicated and it's quite likely that they don't realy care why, but you can say something like:

It's been a great experience working here but I'm afraid that my line of work here is haltering my career path as it's not pointing into the direction that I wish to seek.

  • I think your example sentence for resigning could use a little more polish, particularly "haltering my career path". I would try to avoid negative language and say something like "Working here has been a great experience and leaving to pursue other challenges was a tough decision." I don't think you really have to say essentially "The work here sucks." :)
    – ColleenV
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 0:44

How to resign is simple. Keep pursuing a new job. Then when you get to a decision point write a short note thanking them for the position but you have decided to accept a new position. The resignation letter doesn't have to be long.

What is the decision point?

  • The moment a few weeks before you must move to the new job.
  • The end of the term, if your job responsibilities work on that sort of cycle.

This is all predicated that there is no notice period or contractual clause that will hold you there for the entire two years of the contract.

The shortest notice is best. It does give you and them some time to cleanup loose ends. It is also short because if they terminate you immediately then your period with no income is short.

Once you have signed the new contract and all visa requirements have been met you may find that staying until that decision point is easy.

You must log in to answer this question.

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