How to Retract a Resignation Letter

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The Red List

Retracting a resignation letter at work may be awkward but it’s doable. You’re allowed to change your mind after all. These are the steps you need to take.

We all tend to make speedy decisions regarding our professional future and the reason why we do that is because the work environment is always stressful and we often resort into making extreme decisions –such as quitting- because we simply want a way out.

Lots of workers decide to quit their jobs after they’ve had a falling out with their boss or after they’ve been offered with an attractive new professional opportunity. They often decide to hand in their resignation letter before really thinking through their decision. However, quitting your job is a decision that should not be taken lightly as it can result to regret and even an embarassing or funny resignation letter. It’s actually advisable to always do a pro-con list before quitting your job because this can help you make a more informed decision but if it’s too late for that and you’ve already submitted your resignation letter know that it’s possible to retract it.

To help out in this admittedly awkward situation we’ve put together a guide that will help you deal with this issue as painlessly as possible. Read through it and remember that your boss probably wants you to stay just as much as you want to stay.

1. Do it ASAP

Worker retracting a resignation lettershutterstock

Like most things at work you need to keep this strictly professional and so a formal letter retracting your resignation letter is in order. It’s important to submit your letter as soon as possible because you don’t want the company to find your replacement and then tell them that you’d like to stay.

Write your resignation letter as formally as possible because this will help make it look more professional and there’s a good chance your boss will appreciate the business aspect of things.

2. Offer an explanation

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Obviously, you are going to want to state your intent in the letter so say that you want to retract your resignation letter before you go into any other details. This will help clarify why you are writing the letter from the get-go which is something that your busy boss will appreciate.

Since you don’t want your boss to be baffled by this sudden change of heart, make sure that you explain why you want to hang on to your position. Explain what made you change your mind and why the company should consider keeping you on. Mentioning your track record can help you in this pursuit so make sure that you remind your boss of some of the great things you’ve done for the company in the past.

Note that if it was your boss that wanted you to retract your resignation letter in the first place and has offered you with a raise or a promotion you should include this in your letter.

3. Talk to HR or your boss

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Handing in your letter won’t be enough, you are going to have to sit down with someone and discuss these issues in person. If you work for a relatively small company and your boss handles these issues, make an appointment with them and explain to them what made you want to resign in the first place and what made you change your mind.

If, on the other hand, people in the company usually go to the HR for these things make an appointment with them and explain to them why you wanted to resign and why you changed your mind.

Remember that by resigning the first time round you pretty much showed everyone that you are not committed to the company and its vision and so you need to address these issues. Talk up the company and make sure that you explain why your passion for your work has revived and what you can offer to the company. Share with them your professional vision –if it entails staying at this company- and make sure that you remind them of your accomplishments. Having said that, make sure that you remain humble at all times because you’ve already taken a misstep and you want to get them back on your side.

4. Be prepared for your boss’s decision

Worker quitting job and resignationshutterstock

Resigning is a blow to your boss’s ego so, be prepared for whatever his decision might be. Whether your boss decides to accept your retraction or not, make sure that you handle it with dignity. The reality is that if you’re an employee with a great track record there’s a good chance that your boss is going to want to keep you on. After all training someone new can take time and money. But if your track record is not quite as good then there’s a good chance your boss is not going to accept your retraction.


Although it’s best to avoid situations such as these, it can happen to everyone so make sure that you deal with wanting to retract your resignation letter as professionally as possible.