Sometimes, a new job isn’t everything you expected it to be.
No matter the reason, you want to learn how to quit a job you just started effectively without risking your professional reputation.
It takes time to settle into a new position. But sometimes, you just never feel at home, and you need to quit to maintain your happiness and your career path. Even if you’ve only worked somewhere for a few weeks (or even days), it’s best to move on if you know it isn’t a good fit.
Here are some good reasons for leaving a job you just started and how to communicate your resignation professionally.
4 reasons to quit a job that you just started
Regardless of how long you’ve worked somewhere, if you’re considering quitting, you’re not alone. Over 47 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs in 2021. It’s a perfectly normal part of the professional development process, even if you’re quitting a job after a week.
Taking the leap might feel extreme, especially if you aren’t sure if the reasons behind it are valid. But there are dozens of personal and professional reasons for quitting a job early, and each one is strong in its own right. Here are four common grounds to leave a position you just started:
1. Toxic work environment
You’ve accepted the job offer, worked for a few weeks, and realized the workplace environment isn’t what you expected. Even if you enjoy the role itself, it’s difficult to withstand a toxic environment with a poor work-life balance.
If you’ve already wondered, “How soon can you quit a job?” it indicates you’re unhappy and potentially ready to leave. Try talking to your manager about the problems you’re seeing, and if that doesn’t work, quitting might be the right call. It’s worth it to quit instead of being fired and find a workplace that respects you.
2. A better offer
While applying for jobs, you likely reached out to more than one company. Maybe there were a few positions that excited you, but you didn’t hear back fast enough — so you accepted a less desirable offer. It happens.
But one of those companies could come along and present a better job you can’t refuse. You may struggle to decide between your current and new position and wonder how to quit a job you just started for a better offer. A quick switch might be uncomfortable, but necessary for your career development.
If you think you’ll miss out on a better opportunity by staying in your position, trust your intuition and leave. Continuing your current job despite wanting to take a new position might lead to regret and a lack of motivation, meaning you won’t do your best work. Making the decision to quit benefits both you and your employer.
3. Mismatched expectations
Sometimes a job doesn’t align with how an employer originally described it to you. Maybe your roles and responsibilities differ from the job description, or the company culture isn’t as flexible or friendly as you thought.
4. Family or health concerns
Family emergencies and health problems can happen when you least expect them, and sometimes that’s right when you start a new position. And when you’re worried about your family or yourself, it’s hard to give 100% to your job. You might experience mental exhaustion or have to take too much time off, compensating later by working long hours.
If the issues you’re dealing with are long-term or severe, it might be the best choice to quit and take a career break. This can alleviate your job-related stress and let you prioritize your concerns more efficiently. Or, instead of quitting, you could speak with a career coach about how to manage the new opportunity alongside the rest of your life.
3 things to consider before quitting a job you just started
No matter the reason, quitting a job isn’t a decision to take lightly. Consider how it could affect the other areas of your life. Here are three things to think about before resigning:
1. It could harm your reputation
Although you have a valid reason for quitting, leaving a position early can seem unprofessional. Your employer likely invested a lot of time in the application and onboarding process, and your decision to leave could disappoint them.
But if quitting is the best choice for your career goals and mental health, this possibility shouldn’t stop you. Explain your reasoning during your exit interview and let the employer know you’re sorry for any inconvenience.
2. Your financial stability might be in danger
Whether you have another job lined up or not, quitting could endanger your financial security. Your new offer could fall through at the last minute, or your job search could take much longer than you expect. To prepare for either scenario, you should have an emergency fund ready to support yourself, and make sure you don’t leave your position until your new job is certain.
If you’re in a tough spot financially, consider sticking in the position long enough to build funds while you look for a new job. It could be worth it for your stress levels and your budget.
3. You may create more work for others
You may hesitate to quit if you’re passionate about the company’s mission and don’t believe it has enough resources to fill your position quickly. Your absence could add more work to your coworkers’ workloads and put stress on important deliverables.
To remedy this worry, you could give more than two weeks’ notice to help the team prepare for your departure. And make sure to communicate that you’re willing to help with the transition.
How to resign from a job you just started: 7 tips
Leaving a job is a huge decision, whether you’re quitting a job after two weeks or two years. But if you’re ready to take the leap, here’s how to politely quit a job you just started:
1. Make sure it’s what you want
Before quitting, ask yourself why. Could your employer take steps to fix those reasons to make the job more appealing?
Exploring how to improve your role or environment could be a better choice than quitting if you do care about the position and the company. If the job doesn’t meet your expectations, try bringing it up to your manager to see what they can change. It shows initiative and investment while communicating potential issues that could also affect the rest of the team.
2. Look for another job before quitting
If you don’t want to dip into your emergency fund, look for another job before quitting. Having another position lined up will reduce the emotional and financial stress of unemployment, and you could avoid a career gap on your resume.
3. Provide enough notice ahead of time
If you do decide to quit, providing around two weeks of notice before your departure date shows respect for your employer and their time. It reduces the risk of burning bridges and keeps doors open if you decide to return one day. But if you’re still in a training or probation period, be prepared for your employer to end your employment sooner than two weeks.
4. Let your manager know right away
When it comes to quitting a new job, don’t delay. Let your manager know as soon as you’re ready so they can prepare for your departure. If your position is highly specialized, you might even consider giving more than two weeks’ notice so the hiring manager can adequately search for your replacement.
5. Keep your message short
Knowing where to start or what to say when quitting a job you just started is tricky. But like all other professional communication, it’s best to stay respectful and concise.
There’s no need to provide a long explanation as to why you’re quitting. Keep your letter of resignation short and professional, highlighting your intention to leave, your last day, and your plan for assisting during the transition period.
If you’re stuck on what to say, here’s a quick “how to quit a job you just started” example for inspiration:
Please accept my resignation as of two weeks from 2023-08-04T14:00:00Z. I, unfortunately, can no longer fulfill my duties at [company], but I deeply appreciate the opportunity and wish you all the best. I’m happy to help the team transition in any way I can.
6. Accept their reaction
No matter your manager’s reaction, make sure your response is respectful and considerate. If they react poorly or ask you to say, it’s most likely coming from a place of stress. Stand firm in your decision and let them know you’re willing to help.
7. Do your best in the role until you leave
Just because you’re leaving your role doesn’t mean you can’t end things on good terms. Once you give a resignation letter, continue to do your best work. This keeps things cordial with your employer and teammates until your last day.
Trust your instincts
No matter your career trajectory, making difficult decisions will be a part of your path to success — and quitting is one of them.
If you’re dissatisfied with a new position and wondering how to quit a job you just started, you’ll need to assess if it’s the right choice for your personal and professional happiness.
Start by reflecting on why you want to quit, examine how the decision will affect your career, and decide how to communicate the message to your boss. Your decision is yours alone, and you should put your well-being first.