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How to Tell Your Boss You Quit After a Lottery Win
The kind of resignation many people only dream of is the day they go into work for the last time and tell their boss, "I'm quitting -- I'm rich!" Given the odds of winning the lottery, which are typically one in nearly 175 million for the huge Powerball payouts, it's unlikely you'll need to plan what you're going to say in a meeting with your boss after you confirm your winnings.
Confessions of a Disgruntled Worker
If you're suddenly a multi-millionaire or at least won enough money that you needn't work another day in your life, don't tell your boss every single thing you're unhappy about on the job and then walk out in a huff. That's just not a dignified resignation and you never know when you might need a recommendation from your past employer. Even if you hated your job, tender a written resignation like you would if you were going to accept another job. Write a brief letter that includes your position, title, department and the date on which your resignation becomes effective.
Some state lottery commissions permit winners to remain anonymous. There's definitely some benefit to remaining anonymous because you won't have to worry about long-lost relatives and friends hunting you down with stories about why you should share your winnings with them. If you're in one of those states, you don't have to tell your boss that you're quitting because you won the lottery. On the other hand, if your boss knows you play the lottery and you tender a resignation without a real reason for quitting around the same time the media is waiting for the winner to come forward, your boss might suspect that you're now rich.
In a Charitable Mood?
If you work for a nonprofit organization to which you have a strong attachment, you might want to make a donation when you tender your resignation. Or, if you have a personal relationship with your boss, who might be the owner of a company, you could consider sponsoring a company event or showing your appreciation for an enjoyable working relationship with generosity by sharing a portion of your winnings as you tender your resignation. Should you choose this option, always involve your financial adviser to keep everything legal.
The reasonable alternative is to keep your resignation strictly professional by treating it like any other job from which you resign. Write a brief resignation letter and tell your boss that you're going to pursue other opportunities. If you don't have a good working relationships with him or you never developed a closeness with your boss or the people you work with, this could be the favored choice for quitting your job. However, if you've already been outed as the winner, expect a range of reactions from your boss and your colleagues. On the business level, don't let your boss forgo any of his obligations, such as paying out unused vacation time or offering continuation of your employment benefits. It's unlikely that will happen anyway because he could be breaking the law, but he might expect that you'd forfeit entitlements if you suddenly have more money than you ever dreamed possible.
A 2013 Gallup poll revealed that less than one-third of lottery winners would quit their jobs, even if they won as much as $10 million. Think about why you're quitting and what you would do with your time if you didn't work. If you're going to be busy with other ventures, such as running a business that you invest in, then you may really want to quit working for someone else. Or, if you're planning to travel for extended periods and simply aren't interested in working or close to retirement, you may want to quit and enjoy your good fortune. But don't feel obligated to quit just because you have money or because you're still reeling from the euphoria of sudden fame and wealth.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.