Saturday, 10 October 2009

I quit! Fantasy Resignation Letters

This post first appeared on my Red Room profile

It's not smart to burn all your bridges in a resignation letter. The world of work is a small place and you never know who you might meet again. A resignation letter that doesn't disguise your contempt for your boss, those you work with, or the general culture of the workplace you're leaving, can haunt you professionally for years.
But just say... just imagine that it wouldn't. Imagine you could write anything you liked in your resignation letter. What would you say?

It might look something like this:

"Dear George,

I am writing to give you 4 weeks' notice of my resignation. As you know, I have been working here under sufferance for several years now. At first I only came here because it was an excuse to get out of the house, but once I got a mortgage I kind of had to keep on working here, against my better judgement.

It isn't that I dislike the work. There's nothing I enjoy more than coming to an office where people strenuously avoid eye contact with one another, and spend all day with their heads down in silence, pushing bits of paper around from one tray to another. In fact, I like the work so much that earlier on this year, when the guy who used to sit next to me walked out one day at lunchtime and never came back, I didn't complain that management considered the best way to redistribute his work was to pour his in-tray into mine. The difficulty is more that my work is so pointless that, for two whole months last year, I didn't do a stroke of work, and nobody seemed to notice for ages.

This bout of laziness did appear to have some form of payoff in that, eventually, my colleagues seemed to catch on to my incompetence. The eyes that were once so pointedly fixed on their desks began to look up when I approached, to give me looks of pure hatred and ice. I realised that I had made a difference: my colleagues were no longer indifferent to my existence! In a small way, it was a sort of triumph. In other ways, it was a disaster. People pointedly left me out of the tea-round. Nobody brought me Twixes back from the corner shop any more. My life at work became a sort of slow death by exclusion.

I could manage this, given that I only had to put up with it for a seven hours a day. And in a way, it was a bit of a compliment that you valued my work so highly that you handed down an increase in my hours to nine a day, to give me time to get everything done. I didn't expect any increase in pay or conditions to go with the extra hours. I'm not unreasonable. But then I saw a job doing the same sort of thing within a ten minute walk of my house that's better paid, and that's when I decided maybe my quality of life would be better if I could get home in time to watch the teatime edition of Neighbours.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for undervaluing, underpaying, mistreating and generally wringing me dry for the past 5 years. I look forward to watching Australian soaps while you still remain at your desk, eyeing your underlings suspiciously and thinking about how much you hate everybody.

All the best for the future,

(In the interests of not getting fired from my job, I'd like to make it absolutely clear that this resignation letter is pure fiction. PURE FICTION. It in no way reflects on the actual circumstances of my day job or the way I do my work.)

If you could write your "I QUIT" letter without fear of retribution... what would you write?

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