Quitting a Job Because of Not Receiving an Increase

During your meeting, tell your bosses what they'll get by paying you more.

During your meeting, tell your bosses what they'll get by paying you more.

If you're ready to break free from the chains of your current employer because of low pay, you're far from alone. Leaving a job for one that pays more is a common reason to quit. Whether your employer claims she can't afford to pay you more because of the economy, or you suspect she's just being cheap, there's always a right way and a wrong way to leave a job. Even if you're feeling salty and nursing a bruise to the ego, go with the right way.

Initial Meeting

Good communication is key to any relationship -- so if you haven't yet communicated your need for more money to your employer, now's the time to do it. Sure, you may have gotten regular pay increases which came like clockwork in the past -- but that may have been before the economy tanked and many businesses came to the brink of shutting down. So talk to your employer, in person. Ask for a meeting to discuss your future with the company, and then let your boss know that you want to stay, but that your finances will suffer if you stay as-is. At the end of the meeting, ask for a definite date by which you'll hear an answer.


You've put your boss's feet to the fire and the answer is still no -- now you have to decide whether to stay or go. Before you fly out the door in a huff, remember a few things. First, you'll go from a low-paying job to no pay at all if you quit, reminds "U.S. News & World Report's" Alison Green. You're highly unlikely to get unemployment if you quit, and what's more, other employers may not like that big gap in your resume or the fact that you only stayed in that position for a short time before quitting. In other words, consider your options carefully.

Another Job

If you've decided there's no way you're staying, make every effort to find a job before you leave, advises Green. It can be tough finding a new job right away, so burn the midnight oil polishing your resume and sending out queries, and do your best to land a new job with better potential for growth before you leave the current one.

Put It In Writing

When you're ready to fly the coop, put your resignation in writing and follow the standard protocols of decorum as you make your exit. A poor economy is all the more reason not to burn your bridges, as you never know when you'll need a positive reference -- or even your old job back. It's OK to let the employer know you're leaving because they didn't pay you what you're worth, but don't put it in those terms. In your resignation letter, say you're moving on to a position that offers more financial incentive, or to a position that has more opportunity for growth -- your boss will get the picture. Name your date of departure, typically at least two weeks from the current date, and then act professionally and cordially right up to your last moments on the job.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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