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Don't Resign Current Job Without a Formal Offer Letter

Don't Resign Current Job Without a Formal Offer Letter

Get a formal letter of intent before leaving your current job!

Alison Green l Ask A Manager

June 01, 2010

A reader writes:

I’ve been working at a company for the last year and a half, and its been great for what it is— first job out of college, I’ve learned a ton, and they’ve been very nice about working with my schedule. I’ve been working full-time and going to school at nights to get my masters degree, and they’ve been great about accommodating that.

I’ve been offered another position more in line with what my education (and newly achieved masters degree!) is for, and I’m excited to take it. However, until the background check is completed, the formal letter of intent from the new position can’t be sent out to me. I know there’s nothing in the background check, and that I’m going to be offered the job barring massive catastrophe, but here’s the rub:

I’ve told my direct supervisor about the job offer and my planned final date, and she’d like me to tell our boss this Friday (giving them a little more than 2 weeks notice). I’m okay with the idea in theory, but it makes me nervous to offer anyone anything until I have the formal letter of intent from the new job in my hand.

If I know the other job is more or less solid, is it okay to offer notice? Or do I wait and keep my mouth shut?

Do not under any circumstances resign until you have a firm offer in hand. “More or less solid” isn’t solid enough, unless you’re willing to risk being unemployed over it.

Until you have a written offer, you don’t really have a job offer, no matter how certain you think it is. Positions get cut at the last minute, background checks turn up things that you’d never think would be a problem but the company does, all sorts of crap can happen.

And if you give notice before you have the offer and then it falls through, your current employer may have already made plans to replace you, or for whatever reason may not be willing to let you rescind your notice (which also happens), and then you’d have neither job.

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