Forced to Resign–A Rant

A few months ago I wrote this piece, Forced to resign: What are your options? in which I pointed out that no one can force you to resign. Because if you don’t resign, what are they going to do? Fire you?

For some reason this concept is exceedingly difficult to swallow for people and I’ve gotten a ton of emails from people saying how they were forced to resign.


Ahem, sorry about the screaming. Unless someone is holding a gun to your head, or threatening your family, you are choosing to resign. (And if they are forcing you, then please call the police and press charges.)

The world is a much happier place when we all accept that we make choices. And those choices have consequences.

Donna Ballman has a great list of when to decide whether to resign or wait to be fired, in her piece, “My employer says I have to resign. What do I do?

Feeling pressured to resign, sure that happens. But, forced? No. You have options. You can say no. You can negotiate. Do not be a wimp when it comes to your own career.

Do not sign anything you don’t feel comfortable with. Get copies of everything you sign. Make choices. And then take accountability for your choices. Practice saying, “I chose to do this because…”

Okay, I’m done ranting.

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6 thoughts on “Forced to Resign–A Rant

  1. On the flip side…. I have to remember one employee I was firing and we were bummed that we would have to pay Unemployment when terming for cause, in this instance. He thought about it for a minute and then INSISTED that he be allowed to resign. Could not be talked out of it. So I drafted up a letter for him to sign, and then provided him the same exact exit letter we had already prepared.

  2. Hmm… let me put it this way: you cannot anyone force to resign by asking them to resign. But you definitely can create certain conditions that in turn would help them to resign. Or find another job.

  3. Reply to your Boss – this is both cowardly and unethical. If I’m a good employee, I’ll be looking for an exit as soon as possible.
    Constructive dismissal can also be very expensive – depending on the location, a court finding that you’ve forced a resignation can lead to significantly more costs than simply letting someone go. Apply the golden rule – treat others as you’d like to be treated.

  4. The office I am familiar with is a very casual work environment. It being a smaller company, I wear many hats – office manager, hr contact and accountant. Although it is not a family company, there are many family members who are employed within the company. The two managers I directly report to are related. There are two members of staff (one of which who is a manager), that have issues with alcoholism. Although they do not come to work inebriated, they do do often miss work.

    I expressed my concerns to a member of management which has resulted in being treated differently. Since this has happened, the work environment has changed negatively. I have been passed up for a promotion, meanwhile my colleague who sleeps on the job, takes excessive breaks and frequently does not complete their work, has been given a promotion. I have been with the company for awhile. Recently, I was excluded from meetings that included staffing decisions. I am dependable and reliable. There is a lot of overtime that is required, which I do without complaining – often yielding in 50-60 hours per week. I’m starting to feel as if they are trying to push me out. I’ve considered seeking alternate employment, but I also thought I would seek ideas for solutions to this problem. I’ve thought about talking to upper management about violation of no-tolerance policies, and perhaps suggest some changes to company policies. I’m not sure if it is worth the effort to seek a solution, or if it is just time to find a new job.

    What are your thoughts or suggestions regarding this touchy situation? Thank you.

  5. I realize I’m a little late to the party on this post, but:

    “Because if you don’t resign, what are they going to do? Fire you?”

    Well, in my case, yes. What changes in your advice when one is given the choice “resign or we fire you”?

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