Resignation Letters

There are different kinds of letters one must write in one’s career from resume, Thank-you letter, reports, reviews, proposals, brochures, etc.  So it behooves us to know how to write the different kinds that you’ll be asked to pen.  I once worked for Vons, a grocery chain in California.  Misunderstanding caused things to turn weird, and I had already been receiving other offers that I thought I should take.  So I did.  But my manager asked for a letter of resignation.  So I wrote one.  Here is that letter:

Dear __________________,                                                               Friday, November 20, _____

Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to work with you at running weekend deliveries in Torrance and elsewhere. I enjoyed the gratitude expressed by so many of its customers.  Just last week an elderly woman in El Segundo moaned “O, Lord . . . O, Lord . . . O, Lord” at the staggering generosity sent by her granddaughter all the way from Anchorage, Alaska.  Talk about miracles.  The service is a plain lifesaver to hundreds of folks.  This is what made the assignment a blessing and a joy, and I will miss it.

I learned a lot from you, too, _________.  Your leadership is hard to beat.   You managed the schedule equitably, making sure one week that a driver got compensated for fewer hours the previous week.  Very good and decent of you.  And you solved with rapid-fire any problems that arose.  All of this to say that your leadership was treasured.

Which makes my decision to leave all the more lamentable.

Circumstances made me seek full-time work sooner than planned.

Please accept this letter as my resignation letter and the date above as my final day with

Kind regards,
M. ______________

I liked my letter so much that I actually saw in it possibilities for work later on if I so decided.  Boy, I could not have been more in error.

These letters should not be lengthy or be an attempt to say, “Hey, if you ever need me for anything, . . . .”  No.  These letters should be short and concise.  Following my exit from that Vons store, I got some great advice from an online forum from a very savvy business manager who understands corporate and business structures.  I wrote:

I have written only a couple of resignation letters all my life. They seem to be a way to wrap up, to say goodbye, and to thank the supervisor/manager for all of what you learned. . . . They are a good opportunity to remind your . . . manager that you are forever available [as if] for future project work or serve as a consultant. These are excellent letters to use to imprint on the mind of your supervisor, so that when someone comes to him and asks, “Hey, do you know anyone who can do X, Y, and Z?” your name comes up.

That was my assumption.  I was wrong.  And the letter I wrote wasn’t bad.  It’s just that you want to follow North’s instructions, “Don’t burn the bridge. Just cross over it, look behind, and think to yourself: “Free at last!”  To that end, this business manager wrote the following:

Here’s the ideal letter of resignation:

[from address]

[boss’ name and business address]


Dear [bosses name],

I hereby resign from my employment at [xyz company], effective [date].

[typed name]

CC: [HR]


A Letter of Resignation should only be used to establish documented evidence of your choice to end employment. Anything more is superfluous and could be detrimental to your future opportunities. The “one-liner” states the only important fact, and leaves no opportunity for misrepresentation. More to the point: you are not asking; you are telling; and it is unconditional.

Also note that it is neither the purpose of, nor the effect of any letter of resignation to fixanything or anyone. The content of the letter is a private business communication that will not be shared outside of your chain of command and HR. (To do so would put the firm in jeopardy of litigation.)

Also note that one builds one’s [employment] reputation prior to the resignation, rather than with the Letter of Resignation; hence, the letter is not an effective marketing device, and never will be.

Also note that what one “learns” is wholly dependent upon oneself; management, supervisors, and peers merely provide the context. If you feel you must offer gratitude, offer it for the context; but offer it orally in a manner by which you wish to be remembered. In other words, consider what reputation you want to follow you.

Also note that regardless of the content of the letter, you will be “debriefed” in a closed meeting IF the management team wants your opinion; otherwise, they’ll remain silent. The purpose of any debrief will be an attempt to obtain “the truth.” And, from their perspective the truth about how p***** off you may be. Remember the old intelligence maxim: there are no winners in an interrogation; only degrees of loss. (And, don’t be so naive to think they’ll act on your complaints; if they were so disposed, they would have already acted.) So, before the fact, consider how much you can afford to lose by getting chatty.

Lastly, remember that you are under no obligation to communicate the whys and wherefores or rationale of your decisions. These are your private business. Period.

Based on your other thread, followed by this thread, you may find it valuable to assess whether you really want to fix this firm, or really want to get on with your career. That is: wallow in this cesspool, or build your career. Truth be told, you can’t do both and be prosperous.