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How does one write a good resignation letter? Should the reason for quitting be included?

I had recently started a job. The person responsible for training was on vacation so the main manager trained us for a couple hours, then handed us off to a random person (in the sense it wasn’t her job to train) for a bit more. I’ve been told by others we weren’t properly trained and I certainly feel I lack training.

Also I did not know before starting that this job was essentially on call and would receive little notice of the time and location to work at. I was never trained how to read the schedule (I know it sounds strange, but they have a very complicated way of communicating work times and locations). In my resignation letter I don’t want it to sound that I’m blaming the manager for not being trained. Should I give any reason and if so what should it be?

Obviously I’m not going to say “I quit because you didn’t train me” but should I include “sorry I missed a shift, I was never trained how to use the schedule”?

EDIT: this is a government subsidiary and I don't want to burn any bridges in case I want to work for the government again in the future.

marked as duplicate by Lilienthal, gnat, JB King, Chris E, Wesley Long Dec 30 '16 at 16:14

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    I wrote my answer after reading just the first two lines from your description, I read the rest of the description now, and I don't need to change anything in the answer. What does that suggest, I wonder? :) – Masked Man Dec 29 '16 at 17:48
  • @MaskedMan that your psychic? :) – user62196 Dec 29 '16 at 17:50
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    No, it means the details of your "poor" circumstances don't matter in your resignation letter, so you shouldn't include them there. ;) – Masked Man Dec 29 '16 at 17:52
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    Perhaps sharing the issues in a constructive manner at the exit interview with HR would be worthwhile. – Steve Dec 29 '16 at 21:07
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    From a comment: ...the manager told the main one I was quitting. Does that indicate that you didn't choose to resign? – user2338816 Dec 30 '16 at 5:25
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[today's date]

Dear Manager

I am resigning my position at Company A effective [date].

Sincerely,

user62196

You are not obligated to give a reason.

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    Aside: this is all you should ever write in a resignation letter, regardless of circumstances. – Philip Kendall Dec 29 '16 at 18:38
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    I would include the company name like: my position at company effective. And I would put today's date in the signature. Before handing over the letter, I would ask for a meeting with the manager without specifying the exact reason for said meeting. In the meeting I would explain the reason for resignation verbally. That is how I myself left on good terms in the past. I returned to the same company multiple years later. – kasperd Dec 29 '16 at 21:28
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    I would strongly suggest you don't use the weird middle-endian American date format unless you're in the USA. No one else writes dates in that very strange way. – TRiG Dec 29 '16 at 22:45
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    If you're in Germany, the resignation letter should also include a request for a "qualifiziertes Arbeitszeugnis" (a letter explaining what kind of work you did at that job and when - and theoretically also how well you did it), because you're entitled to get one but only if you remember to request it. – Sumyrda Dec 29 '16 at 22:52
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    +1. Say the bare minimum. Dear sir, I'm off, in line with my notice last day will be, hugs and kisses, me. – Grimm The Opiner Dec 30 '16 at 8:40
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Don't write anything negative in the resignation letter1 regardless of circumstances. Just write the letter as you would normally do and be done with. You have already decided to move on from your "poor" circumstances. You gain nothing from letting off steam in the resignation letter, but it might come back to bite you several years later.

< Boss' name >,

I have decided to resign from my job with effect from < date >. I enjoyed working here, and look forward to working with you again in future.2

I would like to ensure a smooth transition of my current tasks. Please let me know how you would want to handle this.

Regards,
user62196

or something along those lines should do.

If the momentary "satisfaction" is important to you, write a resignation letter on a piece of paper with the most scathing criticism of your job3, then destroy it and submit a polite letter like above. Your future self will thank you for it.

Be aware that companies may keep a copy of your resignation letter, for legal reasons or audit purposes or even "just because". If your letter contains any criticism, then should you choose to apply to the same company in future, you may have some explaining to do in the interview. In my country (India), it is common for employers to ask for a copy of the resignation letter submitted to the previous employer(s).


1 Actually, don't write anything negative anywhere.

2 The italicized text here is "bonus material". It indicates that you are "leaving on good terms". It also assures the boss that "it was not about you, it was the circumstances". Obviously, if you had a big fight with the boss, or your displeasure with your job was publicly known, then it is best to leave it out. (Thanks, Walfrat.)

3 If you write the scathing letter, do it in the comfort and privacy of your own home. (Thanks, Wayne Werner.)

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    Just make sure if you write the scathing letter that you do it in the comfort and privacy of your own home. – Wayne Werner Dec 29 '16 at 20:51
  • If you really want to give them feedback on the job and why you quit, you can do it in the exit interview with HR. If they don't do an exit interview, then they probably don't care about receiving your feedback. Though even at an exit interview, I wouldn't burn any bridges, don't blame specific people, blame the processes that you felt left you hanging. – Johnny Dec 29 '16 at 23:48
  • @Walfrat Yeah, it is upto the OP depending on their circumstances. I am not asking them to copy paste the letter that I have written here. Unless you had a big fight with your boss, it doesn't cause any harm. Nobody cares about it once you are gone, but it does show you in a positive light should you decide to apply to that company again. But anyway, that is a bit of a "bonus material", if it doesn't work for the OP, they could leave it out. – Masked Man Dec 30 '16 at 0:31
  • @Wayne Good point. It should be obvious enough, but I know people have done stupid things like that, so looks like I should explicitly mention it. – Masked Man Dec 30 '16 at 0:34
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    +1 for "don't write anything negative anywhere". If you're like most employees, you don't have any business being critical. That role is reserved for the CEO, and maybe some managers who are allowed to criticize downwards. – DepressedDaniel Dec 30 '16 at 4:36
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Have you explained the problem to your manager, before resorting to resignation ? You do not mention asking for another round of training in your question.

If you did, simply state you do not feel you will be happy with the job and leave. You are not forced to give a detailed explanation.

  • I have tried to receive more training but not succeeded. When I told the main manager I missed a shift due to the fact I was never trained how to use the schedule, he said he had asked me if I had any questions the first day. I actually was open to trying to resolve issues, but after I missed the shift the manager told the main one I was quitting. – user62196 Dec 29 '16 at 17:49
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    @user62196: I'm assuming the manager told the main one you were quitting after you told them you were quitting, right? – Erik Dec 29 '16 at 19:26

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