You’ve done it! You’ve quit! You have a new job, you’re taking a career break or you just couldn’t work in a job you didn’t like anymore. Woo hoo!
But hang on. Now you’ve changed your mind. Eek! Where do you stand legally? Can you cancel your resignation now?
Why the change of heart?
Sometimes, when a valued employee hands in their resignation, the company will try and negotiate with you to get you to stay. This could involve a promotion offer, the promise of more money or better benefits. If you then decide to stay on, you are in a great position! Congratulations!
However, if you have just changed your mind (the job offer you have has been cancelled, you don’t want to move on after all, you handed in your resignation in the heat of the moment) then asking to have it reversed can be embarrassing. The important thing, in this case, is to face up to the situation and ask you speak to your manager as soon as possible.
How do I retract my resignation?
The best thing to do if you’ve changed your mind is to draft a quick retraction letter. Something like:
Dear [manager’s name],
I am writing to cancel my previous resignation letter, dated [date on resignation letter].
[If you’ve been convinced to stay]
Following our conversation, I’m happy to accept the new terms of employment we discussed.
[If you’ve changed your mind]
Due to a change of circumstances, I would like to remain in my position as [job name] at [company name].
Does my employer have to accept my retraction?
Unfortunately, an employer has no legal obligation to accept a cancellation of a resignation and they may feel that you aren’t committed enough to your job. They can, however, CHOOSE to accept it.
How should I explain myself?
The best policy is honesty at this point. Explain what happened and reassure them that you ARE dedicated to your job. Point out your skills and successes and show them how it would be easier and better for them to keep you on rather than looking for a new employee, which means they will have to train them up.
What if they don’t accept it?
If they refuse then you will be legally obliged to work your notice and then leave. Do a great job and show them there are no bad feelings; after all, you will need a good reference still.
And DON’T PANIC! If you’re facing unemployment there are lots of options open to you. See our unemployment advice.