Is there a *good* way to quit a job?

As much as I fantasize about telling the Big Wigs exactly what I think of them and leaving in a blaze of glory, a quite exit from my job is probably best thing.

Some background: I work for an academic research department at a University. Over the past nine months, this department has lost two senior researchers and a lot of funding. Internal politics has become very vicious.

I love my co-workers; we socialize outside of the lab and work well together. If things were better, I would stay. Sadly, the stress has taken a toll on all of us. Two of my co-workers have been hospitalized: one for high blood pressure, the other for kidney stones. My blood pressure has risen (not to a dangerous level, but higher than it should be) and I haven’t gained any weight. (I’m pregnant. My OB read me the riot act today.) For the sake of my health, and the well-being of the Mouseling, I have decided to resign from my position.

What is the best way to do this? I would like to keep a good relationship with my boss, and maybe return to research one day - hopefully for a private biotech or another U.

Dear Dr. XXX,

This letter serves as my two weeks notice from my job as XXXXX at XXXXX.

Thank you,


I’ve always asked for a letter of reference before leaving my past few jobs. Other than that, what alice_in_wonderland said. I think the less you say about your plans, the better. Just be polite and vague about the details.

Well, if any of your superiors read the Straight Dope, your chances of an amicable exit are minimal, but…
Dear Bosses:

    I will be resigning my position on such and such a date.  

<optional graceful non-bridge-burning content, e.g.>

  This has been an educational and rewarding experience and I look forward to furture academic collaborative efforts with the members of the ***** research group.


P.S. The thawing mice in the coffee maker are not mine.

:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I’m sure that if any of the Big Wigs are Dopers, my hide would have been nailed to the barn door a loooooong time ago. ::cross fingers::

Write a professional letter like the one already mentioned, but also tell your boss why you are leaving. Be honest, let him know that you enjoyed working for him and would like to maintain a good relationship. Do ask for a reference.

Is leaving while you’re pregnant a good idea? What benefits will you lose? Are you really sure this isn’t your hormones or whatever playing merry hell?

Luckily, I’m on Mouse_Spouse’s health insurance. If I quit, I’d lose life insurance coverage and would have to do something with my retirement account. (Its with TIAA-CREF. I think you can take your money out if you leave state employment, but I’m not sure.)

Currently, my department has no money to do research. I can’t do anything because we don’t have the funds, its boring and disheartening. In addition to the tedium, there is a lot of stress. The department lost two “headline” researchers to other univeristies. Some important people at the School of Medicine - and other parts of the U - want to dissolve this department and start a new one. Our junior researchers are trying to keep us together, but its difficult.

One of the researchers who left was the head of this department. He is very well known in this field, he is also a perfectionist. As the DH, he let very few junior researchers publish their papers. The data had to met his exacting standards before he’d sign off on submitting a paper to a journal. The result: this department hasn’t had a paper in a peer-reviewed journal in years. No publication, no grants, no funding. (Looking back, the old DH was a nice guy who was an asshole in disguise. His underlings didn’t get many papers out, but his name was on the ones that were published. It made him look real good and got him a better job. We’re left stuggling in his wake.)

Academic research is a precarious place to be. A collegue once descibed this work as “jumping from one melting iceberg to another.” When things started to look bad last year, I started sending my resume to other labs and had a couple of interviews. Funding is very tight, so labs are choosing to hire cheap undergraduate student workers and grad students rather than career techs.

Right now, it looks like I’ll lose my job eventually. We’ll just run out of money. Why put up with the stress when it’s all going down the drain?

I have no real tips to add to what other Dopers have already posted. I’m here to say, “Good for you, Mouse_Maven!”

It’s been a long time coming, this resignation of yours. Good for you on having the courage to get out of a job that was making your life really lousy. Are you going to focus on finishing your bachelor’s now? Or are you going to look for a new job?

It’s a shame that things haven’t worked out for you. Going through all that hassle in the past sucked, but it sounds like a wise thing to do in your case. Maybe some other problems will lessen for you now. Best of wishes.

I like the optional “say something nice” paragraph.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked for XYZ lab department. I’ve learned much during my time.”

Something like that.

Yep, the ‘say something nice’ paragraph is always worth including, even if it’s quite hard to do and you have to lie through your teeth to do it.

Something like “I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the rich opportunities for learning and personal development during my time with this company” is still true, even if all you’ve actually learned is that bosses can be assholes.

My biggest reasons for quiting:
My health is being affected. Before becoming pregnant, I just suffered through the raised blood pressure, stomach aches and tension headaches. Now, I get these things just from the pregnancy and I don’t want any complications.

I’m miserable and making everybody around me unhappy as well. I have a life outside of work: I hike and take pictures, I watch movies, I read. Since things have gone downhill at work, I haven’t been enjoying these activities.

Shit rolls downhill. The U has a policy that an employee with financial system access can be held liable for mistakes. This has been eating at me. IMHO, the policy is unfair because most people with this access are underpaid support staff. (Compared to other state employees with similar jobs, we are underpaid.) I don’t want to be held responsible for the department losing money.

As for my education, I’m looking into that. The Mouseling is due in late September/early October. Mouse_Spouse can work from home, and he is willing to watch the baby while I go to school. We’re discussing me going to school full time for the Spring 2008 semester. I’m not far from a BS in biology and I’m looking at adding a minor in business. (This may help me get a private biotech job, and allow me to understand all of this accounting/procurment stuff I’ve been learning.) The university I attend has an associated Medical Lab Tech program that I’m looking into.

You don’t need to mention any of this when quitting.

Hi, Mouse_Maven, you probably don’t know me but I look out for your posts and I feel for your job situation and I generally think you and yours are just swell.

That said, your work experience is in academia, you wish to return to academia as the only thing lower than a poorly-paid employee (a paying student), there’s every likelihood that you’ll end up in academia, there’s no telling whether any of the people you like, hate, meet, get told about, are told about you, will take it with a grain of salt, will forget it instantly, will move on but tell their academically-inclined lover a funny story they heard about someone named M.M., will hear the story but get the details wrong to your benefit/detriment, won’t recall any of the story but will remember your name and use it in a funny/tragic/incriminating story of their own, or, most importantly, where they will all eventually scatter over the next few years and do all this crap.

Right now, your gun is empty. So don’t shoot. After you’ve accumulated a few bandoliers on your own merits, you can afford to pop a few over-inflated balloons, which is a metaphor that suits university-based science better that I wish it did.

Mouse_Maven, let me just pop in here to wish you well. From all your previous posts about this lab, I’m amazed that you’ve lasted this long.

I really hope you can find someone else who values your experience and work ethic.

If it makes you feel any better about quitting, you should understand that once you have your baby you may have completely different interests and priorities.

In other words, you may not give a rat’s ass about mice.

I suggsest shamelessly using your pregnancy as an excuse no one will dare challenge. “I will to explore the new frontier of Motherhood, to focus on the birth experience, blah blah blah…”

I suggest not actually using the phrase “blah blah blah”.

This may not be such a good idea if you have already had children.

The absolute best way to quit a job is just before they fire you for all the things you’ve done. Or not done. :smiley:

Another one speaking up for the calm, no humor, no drama, letter of two weeks notice.

And I’m so glad to hear you talking like this, Mouse_Maven.

ETA: Quartz, I don’t see you often posting to the Pit, so I’m going to link this thread for you. It might explain some of why I think Mouse_Maven is thinking clearly.