How to Quit Successfully
"Quit." The word is usually synonymous with giving up, surrendering, or rolling over. In the workplace, however, quitting a job is a pivotal moment in your career progression. It can be done poorly (telling the boss, "You can’t fire me. I QUIT!!!" and then storming out, sobbing like a child) and haunt your track record for the rest of your career. Or it can be done strategically and keep your resume strong and unblemished.
Now that I’ve covered some of the signs that quitting is a good option, I want to share some successful quitting strategies to help those dissatisified employees out there to move smoothly from unpleasant occupations to job bliss:
1. Prepare other options. When you are in a difficult job, everything in you just wants to get out of the situation. The moment you realize the job is a bad thing for you, you really just want to grab your things, collect your last paycheck, and run. But to what would you run? A Caribbean vacation? A month-long marathon of all the Days of Our Lives seasons you’ve missed while working? Then what? Sooner or later your last paycheck would run out, and, frankly, soap operas get pretty repetitive. You need another job to jump into after quitting.
So, if you’re planning on saying sayonara to the workplace, start developing options months in advance. Start sending out resumes, networking, and attending job fairs. This may mean polishing up your interviewing skills or your resume.If you time this right, you will be able to step seamlessly from one job to the other without any interruption in cash flow. Some people like to take a short sabbatical in between jobs to get refreshed and rested and go into their next position with guns blazing. If your pocketbook can bear it, I recommend this.
Also,- and this may seem elementary- be honest with yourself in picking your next career move. If you really hated all of the lawyers you dealt with in your last position, think twice about taking that legal secretary position. If accounting work put you into a coma at your last job, be careful about taking any more accounting jobs. In short, do not move from one mistake to another. Do your very best to find a job that will engage your interest and allow you to grow. This will keep you from finding yourself in the same situation a year from now.
2. Patch up old bridges. You may hate your boss. You may firmly believe that they wronged you and you have every right to complain. However, one day, you will apply for bigger and better positions. Hiring managers will want to know about how you really performed at ABC Corporation. They will want to contact that boss you didn’t get along with. And you will want that boss to give you a positive recommendation. Thus, no matter how much you would really like to just rearrange your boss’ dental work, it is in your best interest to repair bridges with them instead of burning them.
All this requires is a mature, professional conversation in which differences are addressed and some level of understanding is reached. This may be difficult for some. Talking with your boss, your arch-nemesis, may seem less pleasurable to you than drinking raw sewage. But you’ve got to take a larger view, be the better person, and initiate the conversation. Otherwise, this person’s unfair opinion of you will continue to haunt your career. Don’t let them have any more power over you. Talk it out and repair those bridges.
3. Finish strong. Once you know the end is near and you really have no allegiance left toward your company, you can just coast, fool around, and make mischief, right? Wrong. The point made in number 2 is also true here. These people will one day tell others what kind of employee you were. Make sure they can give you a favorable report card.
As you are preparing for your departure, be extra helpful. Help managers train your replacement. Speak positively to them of your experience with the company. Get all of your work done. Volunteer to help others. Don’t be caught with idle hands. Make your manager wish they had treated you better by showing what a great asset you are. Keep up your hard work until 5 o’clock on your very last day. At the very least, you will leave knowing that you upheld your part of the bargain. You also leave the opportunity open for your boss to think and speak well of you.