You did everything right, you aced your interview, you were offered a job, you accepted the job…but for some reason, you now need to quit that job before starting – sound right?
First of all, don’t worry.
Things crop up. Life happens. It’s not that out of the ordinary for someone to quit a job before they start.
On the bright side, it’s better to quit before starting than within days of working in a new job.
There are lots of costs involved in onboarding someone, it’s tough settling in and meeting new people, and so on.
I hope you’re in this position because you’ve had a better offer. But, whatever your reason is, the most important thing is that you let the company know about your decision ASAP.
Why Do People Quit Jobs Before Even Starting?
There are a large number of possible reasons why someone finds themselves in a position where they can’t start a job they accepted.
Some of the most common reasons include:
You’ve Had a Better Job Offer
It’s normal to apply for lots of jobs and go to several interviews a week when you’re frantically looking for a new job.
Sometimes you’re going to get an overlap in job offers coming back, that’s just how it’s going to work out.
You may have wanted to take the first offer, or you might be worried you wouldn’t get a better offer so you just said “yes”. Only to receive a better offer after accepting that first job.
Cold Feet/Doesn’t Feel Right
Accepting a new job is a big deal. After the nerves have settled and you’ve slept on it, if it just doesn’t feel right you might want to change your mind.
You wouldn’t be the first person to do this, so don’t feel bad. It has to feel right, otherwise, your heart and mind aren’t going to be in the right place when you start.
Your Company Made a Counter-Offer
It’s also common practice for a company to make an offer to keep someone they value. It’s one of the highest forms of professional compliments, and if it’s a great offer you may be persuaded to stay.
This means turning down your new job offer. They’ll understand if you let them know, and they might even try and come back with a better offer too!
You’ve Found out Something They Didn’t Know at the Time
Much like getting cold feet, sometimes people find out something about the new job they didn’t know at the time they accepted the job that changes their mind.
It might be something in the contract when you go through it in more detail. Maybe it’s something about the company you’ve discovered. Whatever it is, if it’s a gamechanger you’ll have to contact them and terminate your start date.
Sometimes life just gets in the way. I’ve spoken with loads of people who were excited to be starting a new job, only to catch up with them months later and find out they didn’t get to start the job.
Personal issues, having to move home, getting in trouble with the law, there are endless reasons why life might get in the way.
Related – Need to a quit a part-time job by text? Here’s how.
Is It Ok to Quit a Job Before You Start?
Yes, it’s perfectly fine to quit a job before starting.
If something has come up and you have no choice but to quit, you’ll have to. There is a bit of a stigma surrounding it, and of course, it’s an inconvenience for the company expecting you.
But you have to do what’s best for you. There’s no point in starting a new job if you don’t want to. You’ll end up putting in less than your best, and you’ll be unhappy if you’ve made the wrong decision.
The important thing is that you do it right. Let them know as soon as you can, in a professional manner, and be as honest as you can.
No one can ask for any more than that.
Quitting a Job Before You Start Email Templates
So, you’ve made your decision not to take that new job. All you have to do now is send an email to the appropriate contact and/or human resources department.
Here are two basic resignation letter templates you can use. Just change the phrases in brackets to make it your own, and add any personal notes relevant to your situation.
Dear [insert name]
I’m writing to regretfully inform you that due to [insert reason] I am unable to start in the role as [insert role] on the [insert date].
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for presenting me with this opportunity. Under different circumstances I’m sure it would have become a mutually beneficial working relationship.
If you would like to discuss anything regarding this email, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Thank you again for your time, and I hope you understand my decision.
Dear [insert name]
I was due to start as a [insert role] with [insert company] on [insert date].
However, due to [insert reason] I am no longer able to accept this position and start on that date.
It was a difficult decision, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you personally for giving me this opportunity.
I wish you all the best for the future.
The bottom line is that things happen. Don’t feel bad about making a decision that’s right for you.
You aren’t the first person to quit a job before starting, and you won’t be the last.
All you can do is be honest and let the company know as soon as possible and with professional integrity.
Image credits – Header image by Sincerely Media on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.