No matter how toxic your work environment has been, when it comes time to move on to a better technical job, there are a number of things you should ensure do not make it into your resignation letter.
Rule of Thumb: Keep Your Letter of Resignation Professional
Like any other document related to your time of employment with your current company (cover letters, resumes, thank-you letters, etc.), the language in your resignation letter should always reflect the professionalism you would like to project to future employers, and your tone should always be positive.
If you want to avoid burning any bridges – who knows, maybe one day you'll end up coming back when the situation changes – make sure none of the following elements make it into your resignation letter:
- A Lengthy Explanation of Why You're Leaving: It can be tempting to provide vast details about when you started to become disgruntled with your current job situation, but the resignation letter is not the vehicle for doing this. You can save this for your exit interview where you can speak with someone face-to-face and be honest about your frustrations.
- All the Reasons You Hated Your Job So Much: Again, these are details that could project a negative attitude and suggest to the person reading the letter that you enjoy holding grudges. Your resignation letter would sound much more professional if you mentioned some of the positive things you experienced or learned while at your current job – even if you have to keep those reasons vague.
- Negative Comments About Your Boss: Your resignation letter is not the appropriate place to get personal about anyone, no matter how incompetent they were. Remember, your letter will probably be kept on file even after your current boss leaves. If you do decide to come back someday, you don't want your written words to project a bad attitude to anyone reading it.
- Criticism or Blame Directed at Your Peers: Leave other people out. The letter of resignation should be about you, not the people you worked with – even if their behavior played a part in your decision to leave. Playing the blame game will only make you look like you were incapable of getting along with your colleagues on a professional level.
- Generally Inappropriate Language: That means no obscenities or put-downs of any kind. If you wouldn't want it said to your face, or if the language is deemed inappropriate in a professional conversation, keep it out of the resignation letter. You would think this is obvious, but you'd be surprised what kind of language people will include in their letters when their emotions are running high.
- Too Many Details About Your Future Plans: This is none of your current employer's business. You don't have to mention which company you're joining, and you certainly don't have to mention your new salary or benefits package – even if those are the things that have made you decide to switch jobs. These are unnecessary details to include in a letter that is really only supposed to state when you are leaving and acknowledge the part your current job played in your career advancement.