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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Changing Jobs

How to Quit a Job You Just Started

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You've finally landed the job you wanted, but instead of feeling excited, you're already certain it’s the wrong fit. It can take time to adapt to a new role or company, so you decide to give it three months to see if things improve—but they haven't. Now, you're wondering how to quit a job you just started to pursue new opportunities.

Does it sound familiar? According to a 2023 BambooHR study published on Inc, just over 17% of workers quit their jobs within the first three months of employment. Their reasons range from feeling neglected and overwhelmed to lack of training and toxic bosses.

Just because it's fairly common doesn't make it less uncomfortable. After all, you put in your best effort to prove you were the right candidate for the position, and people put their trust in you. How can you possibly break the news to your boss and HR? Below, you'll find some advice on how to gracefully quit a job you just started.

Since you're ready to move on, check out open jobs on The Muse to find your perfect fit—for real, this time »

Is it OK to quit a job I just started?

In the corporate world, a general rule of thumb is that quitting a job within the first six months is frowned upon. It could leave a “stain” on your resume and make you seem unreliable. Because of this, many workers end up staying longer than they actually want to.

However, it doesn't mean that quitting soon after taking a job is necessarily wrong or should never be considered. In certain situations, leaving a job early might be the best decision for both you and the company. Muse career coach Kaila Kea-Lewis points out some legitimate reasons to quit a job you just started:

  • You have to relocate: If you’re being asked to move to a new neighborhood, city, or state, and remote work isn't an option, this is a valid reason to quit a job you've recently started.
  • You got a better offer elsewhere: It's common for job seekers who applied to multiple positions to get a more appealing offer after accepting one. If the new offer is better, it's understandable to consider quitting your current job.
  • The work environment is toxic: During the interview process, you thought it would be a healthy place to work, but it turned out to be visibly toxic within your first months of employment. Perfectly good reason to leave.
  • They changed your title: Some companies unexpectedly change their employees' titles after they've accepted the offer. “If you start the job and they change your job title or alter your job description, that is a valid reason to leave,” Lewis says.
  • You are not being properly onboarded: “If the employer is throwing you into your new role without proper training, address the issue as soon as possible. If they don’t take any steps to improve your onboarding or job training, you might need to take your talents elsewhere,” she says.

When you shouldn't quit a job you just started

Your feelings as a worker and a human being are always valid. However, not every conflicting emotion you have towards your new job means you should quit after just getting started.

For instance, if you find the job too challenging or complex, it might be wise to think twice before making a decision. “Even if the role is challenging, chances are you will grow into it and the challenge could be good for you in the long run,” Lewis says.

She also points out that the fear of the unknown can mislead you. “There’s always a learning curve when you’re starting something new,” she says. “But sometimes people confuse that feeling of ‘newness’ with having made the wrong decision.”

How to quit a job you just started: A step-by-step guide

OK, you've decided to leave a job you just started, and you want to do so as gracefully as possible. Even with a valid reason, quitting in the first months can catch your boss and team by surprise. To minimize the impact on the company, yourself, and your reputation, there are some steps you can take before and after your resignation.

Here's our guide on how to professionally quit a job you just started:

1. Determine when you want to quit

If you need to relocate or already have another job lined up, you may want to leave as soon as possible. If not, take some time to decide when you're going to quit. Depending on your financial situation, it might be better to wait until you've secured a new job or until the end of the month to receive your full salary before quitting.

2. Think about your career goals

You've already been through a job that didn't work out—so now it's not the time to risk doing that again. Before jumping into job hunting or drafting your resignation letter, take a moment to think about your career goals. If this role wasn't right for you, what would your ideal job look like? If you didn't fit in with the company culture, what is the type of work environment you're after?

Not sure how to answer that? This might help: How to Set Ambitious Career Goals You Can Realistically Accomplish

3. Start job searching and networking

It's time to start crafting your exit plan. If you don't have another job lined up and quitting now would be tough financially, start job searching while still employed. (Yes, it's OK to do so—here's how you can manage it without your boss finding out.)

Update your resume and Linkedin profile, then start reaching out to your network to let them know you're seeking new opportunities.

4. Write your resignation letter

When the time comes, you'll need to send your manager and/or HR a resignation letter. Besides indicating your intention to leave, the letter should state your last day of work and give a reason for your decision.

“Be honest but be brief,” Lewis says. “You don’t need to go into all the details of why you’re leaving. However, it could help to preserve the relationship if you give them enough detail to understand your decision.”

5. Give enough advance notice

“Unless the work environment is harmful or toxic,” Lewis says, giving at least two weeks' notice when quitting is a common courtesy. For instance, if you plan to move or start a new job on the first day of the next month, you should submit your resignation letter around the 15th day of the current month.

“Two weeks’ notice gives the employer time to find someone else,” she says. “Be sure to firmly communicate a specific date for your last day on the job.” This simple act shows respect and consideration; here's the right way to give notice.

6. Submit your letter in person, if possible

Another common courtesy is to inform your boss about your resignation in person. If you're a hybrid or fully remote worker, try to schedule a video call as soon as possible. If none of these options are available, then it's OK to simply send your letter via email.

7. Prepare for your exit interview

Some companies schedule exit interviews for employees who resign. It's a way to gain further insight into why they're leaving, beyond what's in their resignation letter. Hiring someone costs the company money and time, and the exit interview helps gather feedback on areas for improvement.

Get ready and be honest about your experience and why you decided to leave—but don't be rude or overly negative. If you're someone who likes to prepare in advance, take a look at these 7 questions you'll probably be asked in your exit interview.

8. Do your best on your last days at the job

During your last two weeks at the company, make sure to give it your best. Help your colleagues with the transition by finishing up any outstanding tasks, handing over important documents, and training whoever will fill in for you. You'll leave a better impression by not slacking off and leaving someone else to pick up the workload.

How to quit a job you just started via email

If you couldn't submit your resignation letter in person or talk to your boss via video call, sending an email is the last resort. But if you’re still puzzling over how to politely quit a job you just started when it feels so impersonal, follow this example:

Subject: Resignation

April 30, 2024

Dear Charlotte,

Please accept this letter as an official notification that I am resigning from my position as Web Developer at The Devs Company. I'm leaving to pursue a position with learning and development opportunities that I couldn't turn down. My last day will be May 15, 2024.

Thank you so much for the support and the opportunity to work with your web development team for the past three months. I definitely learned a lot with you and will.

I deeply apologize for the sudden change of plans. I will be happy to help you and the team with the transition.


Taylor Johnson

How to quit a job you just started without notice? Video and email example

Quitting a job without notice is not highly recommended, especially if it's a job you just started. But, if you're in a toxic workplace or need to leave immediately to pursue something else, it's understandable to do so.

If you're not in a situation where resigning face-to-face could put you at risk, offer your boss the courtesy of an in-person conversation. However, if you think it's best for you to not speak in person, consider a video call or an email like this example:

Subject: Resignation

April 30, 2024

Dear Emma,

Please accept this letter as an official notification that I am resigning from my position as Sales Manager at The Sales Company. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I'll have to relocate to another city and I must resign immediately. My last day will be May 1, 2024.

I want to deeply apologize for the sudden change of plans and thank you for the support and the opportunity to work with such an amazing and dedicated team. I will be happy to help you with the transition to the best of my ability.


Ashley Smith

Potential consequences of quitting a job you just started

Whether you have a reason to quit a job you've just started or not, it can have negative consequences. Your current employer may blacklist you, and future employers may hesitate to hire you.

You can burn some bridges

Hiring people costs a company both money and time—and most companies don't like wasting their resources on an employee who won't stay for long. By leaving so soon, you can become persona non grata at the company.

Depending on your line of work, you may also be compromising opportunities with other possible employers. “If you work in a niche field where work spreads quickly, you can definitely be burning some bridges,” Lewis says.

You may be seen as unreliable

Another possible consequence of quitting a job when you just started is being seen as an unreliable employee. “If you share this information with interviewers for future roles, they will question your reliability,” Lewis says. To avoid seeming unreliable, craft your resume strategically and be mindful of what you share during job interviews. (Here's the best-ever response to "why did you leave your last job?")

Make sure it's the best choice

Changing jobs is not an easy decision, so don't rush into it. Take a moment to really think about how you're feeling before you decide anything. “Check in with yourself and honestly assess whether you are really getting bad vibes or just feeling uncomfortable about starting something new. If it’s the latter, give it a bit more time,” Lewis says.

If quitting is really the best for you at the moment, go on and don't feel guilty about it. “If you have a valid reason for quitting soon after starting, do what you have to do,” she says. “Just know that there are some risks involved. Acknowledge those risks and make a plan for moving forward—with or without that job.”