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How to Write a Resignation Letter Expressing Disappointment

How to Write a Resignation Letter Expressing Disappointment

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Ideally, when you leave a job, you do so on good terms even if you are leaving because another company has offered you more money or opportunity.

Unfortunately, it’s very common to leave a job because you are unhappy.

In most situations, it’s best to write a neutral resignation letter when you leave a job that has disappointed you.

However, there are a few times when it might be appropriate or at least not damaging to your career to write a resignation letter expressing disappointment.

We’ll discuss those situations and how to write the letter below.


When you should write a resignation letter expressing disappointment

Before you sit down to write a resignation letter expressing disappointment, you should have a sense of when this might not be appropriate or wise.

There are a few reasons that it can be a good idea to avoid expressing disappointment or other negative emotions in a resignation letter.

These are particularly true if you are just starting out and don’t have many connections or much of a reputation in your industry:

  • It could affect your ability to get a reference from the company later.
  • You might have to later work with the people in another capacity that you criticize in your letter.
  • It can make you look petty and unprofessional.

However, there are some reasons you might want to write a resignation letter expressing disappointment:

  • The company has specifically asked you for feedback.
  • You have a strong reputation and are well-known in your industry, and such a letter will carry some weight.
  • You are leaving the industry altogether.
  • There are people at the company who have your back and will provide references and support your assessment of the situation.
  • You want to take a principled stand regardless of the effect it may have on your own career.

Once you have weighed the pros and cons and considered the points above, you can decide whether you want to proceed with this type of resignation letter.

If you decide against it, you may want to review how to write a voluntary resignation letter for tips on writing a more conventional resignation.


How to express disappointment professionally in your resignation letter

It is absolutely possible to remain professional while also being critical in your resignation letter.

You need to be concise and specific. You also still have to keep a businesslike tone despite your emotions.


Being concise in your resignation letter that expresses disappointment

Have you ever encountered a forum or other site online where someone was writing about a situation that upset them and they just went on and on for many paragraphs?

If you have, there’s a good chance that partway through it, you stopped reading.

It can be difficult to be concise in a resignation letter that expresses disappointment because you probably feel very strongly about the things that went wrong.

However, there is a difference in saying why you are disappointed in a resignation letter and just venting.

You might have to get some things out of your system first.

It may help to write a long letter that you’ll never send where you vent about everything that annoyed you.

Then, you can aim to be more concise in the letter that you actually send.


Be specific about your disappointment in your resignation letter

Specificity is one of the keys to concision although it is not the only thing that you need.

If you aren’t careful, being specific can actually make your letter a lot longer because you will end up detailing every disappointing incident and interaction.

You need a strategy that will help you distill your explanation into just a few sentences.

Try to choose just two or three things to focus on.

If you are having trouble choosing, ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish.

For example, do you want to push the company to make changes in a specific policy?

Do you want them to know about an issue you had with a supervisor?

Maybe you just want to take a principled stand about something you feel is unethical.

There’s no right or wrong answer, but answering this question will help you focus.


Maintaining a professional tone in your resignation letter that expresses disappointment

The final key to staying professional when you write this letter is your tone.

Use formal language throughout the letter.

A phrase like “I regret to inform you” can be useful.

For example, you might write something like “I regret to inform you that the conditions in the lab were consistently unsafe. Although I reported this several times, nothing was done.”

One way that you can maintain a professional tone is to think in terms of stating only facts.

This will help you avoid angry, emotive language.


How to write a disappointment letter when you resign from a job

Some elements of writing a resignation letter in this situation are the same as for writing any kind of resignation letter.

You can review them in how to write a two weeks notice letter.

In short, the elements you need to have are as follows:

  • a business letter format with your name and address at the top followed by the recipient’s name and address and the date
  • a salutation that uses the name you call the person, such as “Dear Ms. Brown” or “Dear Yvonne”
  • a statement of your resignation in the first sentence and the last day of your employment
  • the reason you are leaving (optional in most resignation letters, but you will be expanding on this in your disappointment resignation letter)
  • thanking the recipient for the job opportunity
  • a formal sign off, such as “Sincerely”


Example 1 of a resignation letter expressing disappointment

Emma Hill
47 Easy Street
Allentown, Pennsylvania 12345
Roger Craddock
XYZ Corporation
111 Industry Avenue
Allentown, Pennsylvania 12345
April 25, 2022
Dear Mr. Craddock,
I am writing to inform you that I am resigning my position as project manager at the XYZ Corporation. My last day will be May 9.
I am sorry to say that while I believe in the mission of XYZ Corporation, the job I actually ended up doing was not what I was hired for. Low pay for junior staff and poor incentives meant that there was a high turnover rate, and I spent far more of my time training yet another round of new employees and often redoing subpar work than I did managing the project. Although I raised this issue repeatedly, I was simply told over and over that the company was aware of it and was working to address it.
I did not see any evidence of that in the year that I worked at XYZ Corporation, and I believe that these issues will continue until the company improves the training and pay for new employees so that performance and retention is no longer an issue.
I appreciated the opportunity to work at XYZ Corporation, and I wish you all the best in the future.
Emma Hill


Example 2 of a resignation letter expressing disappointment

James McGill
123 Third Street
Sunnydale, California 99999
Alison Byatt
Sunnydale Studios
456 Universal Avenue
Sunnydale, California 99999
February 4, 2022
Dear Alison,
I regret to inform you that I am resigning my position as administrative assistant at Sunnydale Studios. My last day will be February 18.
While I appreciated the opportunity to work at Sunnydale Studios, I am afraid that the working conditions are not conducive to long-term employment. Despite being an hourly and not a salaried employee, I was repeatedly pressured to stay late in the evening to complete a project without additional pay. Furthermore, my position had been previously filled by two employees. The other position was cut although the work load remains the same. It is simply not possible for one person to do the job of two effectively.
I did learn a great deal in my time at Sunnydale Studios. However, I do not believe that you will be able to retain an administrative assistant until you split the duties across two people again.
James McGill