A similar question to this one, but obviously with different personal circumstances, I'd be grateful of people's ideas on this:

The basic situation

I've worked for around a year for an employer developing software for them, and recently the workload has at least tripled, with promises to hire extra people going unmet. In the last few weeks, it's become a very blame-cultured environment, with the pressure from management to deliver the product we had scheduled for 6 months time in the next 2 weeks.

If I were to write a completely honest resignation, it would be along these lines:

Dear [CEO's Name],

I am writing to give you notice of my resignation from my post as [job title]. Since we recently received new deadlines, the work environment has been highly pressured, at a level that I don't consider maintainable.

During the past few months, you've acknowledged several times our desperate need for more staff, but have taken no action to recruit these staff, leaving us overworked and underpaid for our efforts.

As the newest addition to the team, in these high pressure times, I've been made out to be less competent than I am by my line manager, who admitted to me that his only option was to put blame on me, rather than take it himself.

After a few weeks ago, it was suggested that we faced the possibility of termination if our new, unrealistic, deadlines were not met, I started looking for new work, and I have now formally been offered a job with a larger, more established company, as part of a team, rather than in a department of one.

I wish you the best of luck in the future, and will work hard to make the transition ahead as smooth as possible.

Regards etc.

So, as the main question, how much of the above honesty should get through?

  • 10
    stay away from any bitter remarks, in general. I would not say things like "but have taken no action to recruit these staff, leaving us overworked and underpaid" , seems like friction Commented May 11, 2015 at 22:13
  • 3
    I think your message mostly looks professional, concise. The paragraph about your line manager may be seen as a parting shot and it seems a little inflammatory. I would probably remove it. Don't burn a bridge unless you really don't ever want to work there again.
    – Jane S
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 22:15
  • 8
    Nonetheless, venting your spleen tends to get around the market. I have seen some horror stories. Just state your issues in a non-combative way, don't focus on "you didn't" or "my manager blamed". State the what, not the who if you must. Really, just leave and don't worry about it any more as it's no longer your problem :)
    – Jane S
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 22:19
  • 5
    @Owen I understand exactly how you feel in that situation. When you see something that's broken, you want to fix it. You've got to keep in mind that it's not your job anymore to fix that company. Let it go. Now it's just one of a million dysfunctional teams that you're not on.
    – Rag
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 0:22
  • 1
    Incidentally, I disagree strongly that this is a duplicate to the really pathetically short, non-detailed question people have marked it as a dupe of. I'm asking how far I should take honesty, and the other question is "Should I tell my boss I'm leaving because of them" - I'm not leaving because of my boss, but because the company progress is bad, and my line manager behaves oddly. Commented May 13, 2015 at 10:35

3 Answers 3


In writing, I think you should amend your letter to:

Dear [CEO's Name],

I am writing to give you notice of my resignation from my post as [job title]. I have accepted another job.

I wish you the best of luck in the future, and will work hard to make the transition ahead as smooth as possible.

Regards etc.

The letter should also contain some indication of how much notice you're giving and what you think your last day will be. It's also traditional to say something nice; "I have learned a tremendous amount" is an excellent fallback when all you have learned is how not to do things.

The snipes at the line manager and the broken promises are gifts your company may not value as much as you expect them to. If you feel you absolutely cannot leave without sharing this information, save it for the exit interview or the conversation when you hand the letter over. Putting these complaints in writing cannot help anyone and I don't recommend it. Offering them unasked is also likely to result in them being ignored (making your effort pointless) or considered "sour grapes." If you are asked, in an exit interview or when you tell the CEO you're leaving, then perhaps you can offer them. But do so with caution and not in writing.

  • 3
    I think this is a good plan. I don't really want to leave without making any criticism, because I'd like the CEO to be better aware of the things they may want to address (the existing team is very adept at keeping them in the dark) Commented May 11, 2015 at 22:33
  • 19
    Owen , think twice of it. the CEO most likely won't take it in the way you expect Commented May 11, 2015 at 22:44
  • 11
    Owen, the question you should ask yourself is: How can this criticism benefit you, and how can it cause damage to you? I can't see any benefit for you, but lots of possible damage.
    – gnasher729
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 23:46
  • 10
    I would avoid saying another other than formalities at the HR exit interview as well. Just leaving that place with some class is the strongest message you can give-- anything else is noise.
    – teego1967
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 1:10
  • 2
    If this was a larger company, I would say air your concerns to HR at your exit interview, but since this sounds rather small, there really isn't anything you can do by commenting. It will just come off as complaining. Commented May 12, 2015 at 2:51

If you have been in an unprofessional environment, the best way to handle it is to be the professional one. I would NOT vent my spleen, simply state in general terms why you feel the need to leave, do a clean handover and leave at the end of your notice period.

Making things personal using such phrases as "you did" or "my manager blamed" serves no purpose and can be perceived as taking parting shots. You may have decided you don't want to work for this company any more, but you don't know what the future will hold, some of the people who work there may be at places you apply to in future. Just state your resignation, and get on with your new job :)


There's no need to ever write anything inflammatory in professional communication. Or, for that matter, to say anything inflammatory. Whenever I'm on the verge of an emotional response, I ask myself the key question "what will responding in this way bring me?" And the answer is always "zilch." You've already done the best possible thing in your situation, which is to find a new job.

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