Dear Dan: I’m Writing a Resignation Letter to an Employer who Treated me Poorly

Dear Dan,

I wonder how best to write a resignation letter. I’m in my late twenties and I’ve found a new position.

I’ve been woefully underpaid and unappreciated. I’m wondering about explaining the reasons for my departure. I’d like to give them some feedback on the way I’ve been treated.

Thankful to leave,

Out the Door

Lamb looking back

Stepping forward means leaving something behind.

Dear Out,

Congratulations on finding a new position. I wish you well as you move forward. I have some questions you might consider as you compose your resignation letter.

  1. Will you have an ongoing relationship with people in your former organization?
  2. What if you complain about low pay and they offer you a raise? Would you consider staying?
  3. How much of your desire to give feedback is a desire to vent?

I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t want a relationship with people in your former organization. But it’s best to imagine that you might be connected with them in the future in some way.

Would you stay for higher pay? I hope not.

Don’t bother venting. If they don’t care now, a letter won’t make a difference. Instead of venting, use this opportunity for self-reflection.


What have you learned about yourself while working for a stingy unappreciative employer?

  1. Perhaps resentment has poisoned your attitude. I don’t blame you if it has. But resentment is never useful. How will you let it go?
  2. What have you learned about addressing tough issues? How might you address a similar situation in the future? How long will you wait before addressing perceived mistreatment in the future?

Verbiage of a resignation letter:

Dear XYZ,

I have found a new opportunity that better suits my personal goals.

I’ve learned a lot here. (List a couple of things.)

I would be glad to discuss this further if you would like to learn more about the reasons for my departure.


Out The Door

3 suggestions:

#1. If you are genuinely interested in helping your former organization, offer to have a conversation. But don’t voice grievances in a resignation letter. Frankly, I doubt they will be interested.

#2. Write two resignation letters and burn the copy you keep for yourself. Learn from this experience and let it go. (I suggest literally burning the letter. Create a clear ending so you can move forward.)

Stepping forward means leaving something behind.

#3. The way you leave says more about you than it says about them.

You have my best,


What suggestions might you offer Out The Door?

Note: I relax my 300 word limit on Dear Dan responses.

Bonus material:

6 Smart Ways to Resign Gracefully From Work (

How to Quit Your Job in the Most Professional Way Possible (