Proper job exits and two-week notices necessary to prevent burning career bridges

Lauren Horn, 19, from Chicago didn’t imagine her part-time job would be more than she could handle. Horn, a sophomore Spanish and marketing student, worked in a retail position while she was in school this year. So like some students, when her job began to conflict with her grades, she quit her job.

“I had 45 hours. I told them that I couldn’t work the schedule. It was too much to try to study and do homework,” Horn said.

“I don’t mind working, working hard, but I have to have some personal time in there,” she said.

After Horn spoke with the manager about her schedule problem she said a week passed and it was still not resolved.

“I let him know I was overwhelmed,” she said. “When I got the job they didn’t say it was long shifts every day. It wasn’t rectified. The next schedule I had 39 hours.”

After a second week of the 39-hour schedule, she said she had to quit.

“I am young, but I’ve had six or seven jobs. I gave them a two-minute notice because I had addressed the problem. I tried to be patient, but it wasn’t working,” Horn said.

Almando Sapp, 20, a third-year pharmacy student from Tampa, said he feels that professionalism is important when resigning from a job.

“If I already know the situation, I’ll let them know a month ahead so that I’ll have enough time to put in my two weeks,” Sapp said.

He said he thinks about his future references when quitting.

“I don’t want to have a bad reputation because I might need to use them in the future,” he said.

Delores A. Dean, director of Florida A&M University’s career center, said the way a person resigns is imperative. She said one of the first things a student should do before resigning is make sure they have another job. However, the most important factor of quitting deals with attitude.

“The first thing you want to do is to resign from the position the same way you went in trying to get the position,” Dean said. “If you come in with a bang you want to leave with a bang. You want to always be able to come back.”

She said employees must always write a letter of resignation, giving the employer at least two weeks to prepare for the employee’s departure.

“It’s pretty much a statement to say that you are notifying them with the effective date,” she said.

The letter should contain a brief reason of why you are leaving and should thank the employer for the opportunity. It should never contain negative content.

Vera Harper, an associate professor of business and co-director of the department of professional development, agreed that letters of resignation are important.

“Many times when you give that notice some people will say it’s not necessary, but it’s courteous to do it,” Harper said. She said even with advances in technology such as emails, “the proper way would be to give a hard copy.”

Not writing a letter of resignation and leaving a job without alerting the employer can have consequences. New employers use references of past employers and will ask questions that will help them determine a prospective employee’s character.

“One of the questions they will ask is ‘would you have this person again?'” Dean said. “You can’t take risk of people finding out. If they really take a background check they will find out.”

Harper said it is best to leave where you are always in good standing, even when the situation is complicated.

“It’s never OK to just quit on the job unless it’s life threatening. One, you might not know where you will meet this person again,” Harper said. “You just don’t know where you’re going. You might end up in the same company, and sometimes people do hold things against you.”

Dean agreed that “quitting on the spot” is never acceptable.

“It’s still a professional way to do it. You want to have a paper trail throughout,” Dean said. “No matter how little you think it is, all jobs, you should send them a letter of resignation.”