Can You Change Your Mind and Un-Quit a Job?

Regretting your decision to turn in your resignation letter? It may not be too late to take it back.
Updated April 3, 2023
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Frustrated young man reading letter

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Dramatic changes in the economy could lead to dramatic changes to your career, especially if you’re trying to stop living paycheck to paycheck. But what happens if you realize you may have jumped ship too early?

It may not be too late to take back your resignation letter. However, you might have to put some pieces together to get your old job back. Here are some steps you can take if you want to keep a job you’ve already quit.

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5 steps for un-quitting your job

So you’ve realized that you don’t want to quit your job after all. Maybe the new job you were expecting to move to fell through. Or you may want to stay at your job since you’re still working on ways to crush your debt.

Whatever the case, here are some steps to take to rescind your resignation letter.

1. Discuss it with your manager

The first person you may want to talk about your change of heart with is your manager. They’re likely the first person in the process who needs to decide whether to accept your retraction and who to talk to if you want to stop the process.

Before you go into your meeting, it may be a good idea to outline some talking points about why you’ve changed your mind. You might not want to go into details about your personal decision-making process, but assure them that you are taking this decision seriously.

2. Talk to human resources

Human resources may be another department you need to touch base with before anything can be changed. After all, the HR department is the one that deals with any paperwork you may need as you depart the company, as well as the process to fill the position you would have left.

They also may have specific steps that you need to take to officially rescind your resignation. Make sure you clearly understand the process so there aren’t any stumbling blocks as you move through it.

3. Outline your goals with the company

Any encouraging words that show you’re taking your current decision seriously could help you get back in the good graces of your employer.

You may also make a quick mention of what you want to do in the future to further your career with the company. This could include asking for a mentor or taking classes to grow your skill set. A brief mention may be enough to persuade them.

4. Make a formal request

Your manager or company’s HR department may ask you to make a formal request to take your resignation back. This may be a simple form that the human resources department needs you to fill out or a formal letter withdrawing your resignation.

Regardless of the format, remember to write a professional request and carefully consider the words you choose. You may even want to ask HR for suggestions or an outline for the format of your request.

Finally, check over your work before you turn it in to catch grammatical issues and make sure you use a business tone in your writing.

5. Stay professional

While the company is making its decision, know that they’re probably watching you during your day-to-day work. Continue to act professionally even though you might be nervous or on edge about their decision.

Take directions with ease and ask questions when necessary to get your work finished on time and professionally. These little things could help make their decision easier.

How to write a retraction letter

As part of the process of formally rescinding your resignation, your employer may require you to write a business letter detailing your decision. Ask human resources for the specifics involved before writing your letter to make sure you adhere to their standards.

Here are some things you may want to consider including in your formal letter of retraction.

Be professional

Even though you may still be on friendly terms with your boss, this isn’t a casual letter. Start it with a professional format, including addressing your boss by their title and surname.

Clearly start in the first paragraph what the letter is about and end it with a formal salutation to wrap up the letter. Make it to the point without pages of description or flowery language.

Thank them

End your letter by telling them you appreciate their consideration on this matter. It may be a good idea to let them know you understand that this is a difficult decision for them. Or you might want to formally mention the meetings you had with them earlier to discuss the change.

Whatever route you take, try to end it on a professional but positive note.

Stick with a structure

It may be easier to write your retraction letter if you have a basic structure. Remember you want this to be short and professional, not long and drawn out.


Address your boss or supervisor with a professional title and use your first paragraph to state the need for your letter. In this case, you are retracting your retirement. You probably don’t need more than a sentence or two for this opening.

Explain your reasons

Your second paragraph may be about why you’ve made the decision. Perhaps you had a family issue come up, or you reassessed your career goals after handing in your resignation.

Highlight your history

A third paragraph might cover your previous successes with your company or your team. You may want to include client work or awards that you were a part of. Reassure your supervisor that you appreciated the work you were able to do to achieve these company goals and how you look forward to continuing these successes into the future.


Finally, wrap it all up by explaining that you are available to discuss this issue further if needed and that you hope to continue working on success in your position with your company.

Again, try to keep it short and succinct to quickly get your point across. You also may want to limit your letter to one printed page in order to have some restrictions on yourself.

Know that your retraction may not work

It’s important to understand that by accepting your retraction, your company will be doing you a favor. That’s because they don’t legally have to honor your decision. Even if you’ve offered a good explanation for why you’ve decided to un-quit, there’s no guarantee that they’ll accept it.

Bottom line

There are plenty of legitimate reasons to quit a job and plenty of reasons to try and get it back, even if you’re just looking for ways to reduce your money stress.

Don’t be afraid to approach your manager as soon as possible to stop your resignation process and be professional throughout the process. It could be helpful when they make their final decision.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and

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