Moving on: How do you quit your job in Canada?

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There can be many reasons for quitting your job. It can be because you are moving to a better one or maybe you are not happy with your current one. But whatever your reason for quitting, make sure that you are 100% certain. Considering that getting a job in Canada is not a piece of cake, reaching this major decision must be made with utmost deliberation. You should also think about how this decision will impact future career opportunities (especially if you are quitting before being hired for another position). Remember, experts say that “it’s easier to find a job when you have a job.” So before giving your two weeks’ notice, read Top 10 good reasons to quit your job to help you think and re-think your decision.

But if you are sure and totally ready to say goodbye, ensure that you resign as professionally and gracefully as possible. Never burn bridges. In this highly connected world that we live in, word gets around. And if you stay in your field, you will continue to move within the same circles as the people you previously worked with. Needless to say, it pays to be totally diplomatic and tactful in the resignation process. Anything negative you say or do may come back to bite you at some point in your career.

Steps to quitting your job:

Write a resignation letter

A professional resignation letter should follow the business format. Indicate your position and when the resignation is effective. The usual notice is two weeks, but there may be exceptions. Check your company manual for rules on this. The letter can include the reason why you are resigning but this is NOT required. The less detail on why and where you’re going is best. Never vent on your resignation letter. Keep it short and courteous. Always express gratitude, even if you did not have a great experience. It is still professional experience that can count towards your career growth. Need resignation letter samples? Go to How to write a job resignation letter by Nicole Fallon.

Meet with your boss

When you decide to quit, your boss should be the first one to know. Telling others before it’s official can spread negativity around. Set a meeting for the soonest possible time. In the meeting, maintain your composure. This can be a highly emotional moment but it is important to remember that you are in your workplace.

Give reasonable notice. You can negotiate on the amount of days depending on your situation (do you have pending work that is crucial to a project? Do you have remaining vacation days?). Remember to leave the meeting on good terms with your boss. This is important because you may need a recommendation. But more importantly, be respectful because you owe it as a courtesy to your employer. You will realize when you look back that you did benefit from having been employed there. One way or another, you learned things that helped you grow in your career.

Help with the transition

Make it easy for them to adjust after you leave. Arrange your files, make a list of your projects and tasks that need attention, turn-over all essential documents and equipment to your boss or your replacement. Offer to assist in any way to make it a smooth transition. Inform all essential contacts that you are leaving so that they will not be left wondering. It would be good if you can introduce your replacement so that your organization will not lose connection with professional contacts. Let your boss and co-workers know that they can call you in case they need your help in the coming days.

Thank your employer and co-workers

Be thankful for the experience and leave without causing resentment. Employees who did not have the best experience may slack off, gossip, or cause any kind of harm before they leave as a form of revenge on their boss or co-workers. It is in these times that a person’s character is tested. Will you choose to take the high road or go low? Remember that quitting your job the right way is a sign of integrity and honourable character.

Quitting and your EI

Check the provisions of your EI before you quit (and become unemployed). Go to this page: Employment Insurance (EI) and voluntary leaving to know which conditions allow for benefits and those that don’t. Note that leaving voluntarily means that you took the initiative (not the employer) to end the employment. If you quit your job without just cause, you will not be paid regular benefits.
Sources: Employment Insurance and voluntary leaving,; How to quit your job gracefully, Alison Doyle, The Balance; How to quit you job, All accessed March 27, 2018.

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