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How to Withdraw a Verbal Resignation

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Everyone is susceptible to saying something they do not mean. In the workplace, however, an employee should think twice before making certain statements. A verbal resignation indicates that you are dissatisfied with your job in some way. If you change your mind about resigning, your boss could view you as impulsive or fickle. Still, depending on the situation, you might be able to retract your resignation and keep your job.

State and Company Policies

In the United States, employment is predominantly at-will. Your employer can terminate your employment at any time without reason, except for an unlawful cause. Whether your employer decides to accept your resignation withdrawal largely depends on company policy. For example, Arizona State University does not allow an employee to rescind a verbal resignation unless the supervisor and employee agree on the withdrawal. The Utah Department of Administrative Services says employees can withdraw their verbal resignation on the day following the resignation. If the retraction is verbal, they have 24 hours from when they gave the oral withdrawal notice to submit a written retraction. If you resigned in anger and used insulting language, your employer might view the relationship as irreparable and dismiss you as a result.

Evaluating Your Decision

Before you withdraw your verbal resignation, think carefully about the issue and whether you believe it is salvageable. Ensure that you truly want to stay with the company before withdrawing your resignation. Stick with your decision once you have made it to avoid coming across as indecisive or unreliable.

Writing Your Retraction

By writing a letter to withdraw your resignation, you get to document your side of the story while giving your employer proof of your resignation and retraction. In the letter, state the date of your verbal resignation. Reiterate what you said and explain why you said it. For example, if you were frustrated because you were overworked, say so. State how you could have handled the situation better, such as alerting your manager and giving her a chance to resolve the issue. If you used inflammatory language, explain what caused you to use those words – for example, another employee bullied or provoked you. Whatever the reason for your resignation, take responsibility and apologize for your mistake. Say that you appreciate all that the company has done for you and that you will work hard to correct and not repeat your error.

Approaching Your Boss

No matter how well you construct the letter, nothing beats face-to-face contact. Ask your boss for a few minutes of her time to discuss the withdrawal of your resignation. Be honest about why you resigned. This is your chance to address any dissatisfaction you had at work. If you were a good employee, depending on how you verbally resigned, your boss may give you a second chance. Your boss must, however, exercise fairness to avoid other employees accusing him of giving you preferential treatment. Give your boss the letter and verbally apologize for your mistake. Respectfully accept the termination of your boss deems the issue as irreparable and dismisses you.


Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.

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