How to Quit a Job
For most, 2022 was a year of record layoffs, economic uncertainty, and runaway inflation. Yet, 4,000+ people quit their job in October alone.
What might this mean? For starters, many “survivors” report feeling burnt out from having to pick up the slack of their ex-teammates. Like them, nobody knows how layoffs (and a looming recession) will affect the workplace.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay one step ahead of the game. Here’s to go how to quit a job, the right way.
Table of Contents
- Before Quitting a Job
- How to professionally quit a job
- Quitting in a negative situation
- What you need to do after quitting a job
- Frequently Asked Questions
Before Quitting a Job
Whether you’re seeking a healthier work environment, are ready to pursue your passion, or are generally wondering how to quit without burning bridges, you’re in the right place.
But first, let’s take a step back.
I can’t overstate the value of preparation. Before you commit to quitting your job, make sure you’ve carefully examined your options. The last thing you want is to find yourself in job limbo during an economic recession.
Consider All Your Options
Before you quit your job, make sure you consider your options carefully.
Jot down your reasons for wanting to quit:
Maybe you’re unhappy with the work. Maybe your boss is your boss driving you crazy. Maybe your co-workers force you to do their work. Whatever the reasons, jot them all down.
Understanding your “why” gives clarity on whether quitting is really the best long-term move. It might even help you find ways to help you to be more successful at your current job, at least until you make the big leap.
If — on the other hand — you decide there is no alternative, taking an inventory of all your options allows you peace of mind. After all, leaving a job is almost always scary, especially if you’re moving into a new field that has nothing to do with your current position.
Understanding your motivations can help you decide whether quitting is the right move for you. You may want to look at different career resources to help you be more successful at your job rather than leaving your company entirely.
Reasons To Not Quit Your Job
The following “red flags” might indicate that you shouldn’t quit your job – at least not yet.
1) Your job offers a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k). Taking full advantage of retirement benefits can be a good reason to postpone leaving a position. Make sure you take this into account when making your final decision.
2) Company Benefits: many company benefits, like health insurance end very shortly after you’ve quit your job. If this is the case, make sure you can afford health insurance (and other important benefits) while you’re in between jobs.
3) Experience: even if you’re not particularly happy in your current role, you might be gaining valuable experience and skills that will be useful in the future. Sometimes it pays off to “stick it out”.
4) Job Market: in today’s job market, it can be hard to find a new job. Make sure you have something lined up (at the very least a plan) before you jump ship. It may also be worthwhile to look for ways to supplement your income, like freelancing!
Think About The Timing
Ask yourself if now is the best time to leave, both personally and professionally. Will waiting a few more months open more opportunities?
If you do decide that quitting is right for you, ensure that you have a plan in place before you start making moves. This could include finding a new job, transitioning your current responsibilities to someone else, or taking some time off to consider your next move.
Make Sure to Give Enough Notice
It’s always important to give notice when you’re quitting a job. Once you have made the decision to quit, it is important to inform your employer as soon as possible and to follow the guidelines for notice in your company’s policies or your employment contract.
The notice period you need to give may differ depending on your situation. In some instances, you may need to stay on longer to help train your replacement.
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How to Professionally Quit A Job
You want to ensure you maintain a good relationship with your current employer before you move on. So, how do you do that?
You’ll want to start the quitting process by giving the appropriate amount of notice to your company. You may begin by giving informal notice to your HR representative and your direct manager.
In some cases, you may be required to give two weeks’ notice, while in other cases, you may be asked to give one month’s notice or more. It is important to follow the guidelines set by your employer when giving notice, as failing to do so can damage your professional reputation and may even result in legal consequences.
Write a Letter of Resignation
A resignation letter is a formal way to announce your departure from the company. In the letter, you should include the date of your last day of work, your reason for leaving, and your appreciation for the opportunity to work for the company.
Quitting your job isn’t an excuse to burn things to the ground. Continue behaving appropriately in the workplace. Let your soon-to-be-former colleagues know that you are leaving, and thank them for their support.
No matter what, don’t trash-talk your old company or any of your fellow employees at any point.
Of course, there are. a few exceptions to this rule, like if you’re escaping a toxic work environment or if there was a workplace power imbalance. However, you do still need to be diplomatic about what you talk about and who you talk to.
Before you leave, be sure to tie up any loose ends and complete any unfinished projects. You should also return any company property, such as keys or equipment. There may also be procedures you may need to go through, like filling out paperwork or going through an exit interview.
Keep Doing Your Job
Even though you’re transitioning out of your job, you still need to keep fulfilling your responsibilities until you’ve completed your last day. Offer to help with the transition process and make sure all of your work is completed and handed off to the appropriate parties before you leave.
Leave on Good Terms
Even if you are unhappy with your job, it is important to try to maintain a positive relationship with your employer and coworkers. You never know when you may need to ask for a referral or want to return to the company in the future.
Quitting in a Negative Situation
If you’re in a negative situation, you may need to take a slightly different approach to quitting. That way, you can protect yourself while you remove yourself from the situation.
Figure Out the Root of the Negativity
Identify the root cause of your negative feelings. Are you feeling overwhelmed with your workload? Do you feel unsupported by your supervisor or coworkers? Is there a specific issue that is causing stress or frustration? This will help prevent you from acting out.
Look At Your Options
Communicate with your supervisor or HR. If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsupported, it is important to let your supervisor know. They may be able to help you find a solution or offer support.
Of course, you might just be struggling with a toxic work environment. In that case, you may just want to get out quickly.
Follow The Same Procedures
If you do quit a toxic situation, it’s important to stick as closely to standard quitting procedure as possible. That way, you’ll avoid the possibility of retaliation.
However, this may not always be possible. Your mental and physical well-being should always come first.
What You Need to Do After Quitting a Job
After you leave your job, you may want to take the time to reflect fully on your experience. Take some time to think thoroughly about what you learned from this job and how it has helped you grow as a professional. This can be helpful as you move on to your next job.
If you already have another job set up, it’s pretty easy to figure out what to do next – start your new career opportunity! Just do your best to let go of your old expectations before you start. You don’t want to bring your old baggage into your new work experience. That’s a good way to get started on the wrong foot.
And you’ll want to prepare just in case you end up wanting to change jobs once again. Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile accurately reflect your experience at your previous job and add your new job as well. This will make it easier for recruiters to find you. Plus, if something goes wrong, you’ll already be set up to start making your next move.
Make sure you update your contact information with your previous employer, as well as any professional organizations or networking groups you belong to. Your old employer will be able to reach out if they have any new opportunities that work for you, and networking groups will be able to fine-tune their offers based on your new career.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may have other questions about the quitting process. These FAQs should help you out.
Will I Get My Paycheck if I Quit My Job?
In general, if you quit your job, you will not be entitled to receive a paycheck until your next scheduled pay period. However, if you have unused vacation time or other paid time off, you may be entitled to receive payment for that time.
Additionally, if you have a contract with your employer that specifies a severance package or other compensation upon quitting, you may be entitled to receive payment.
Can I Quit My Job Without Warning?
It is generally best to give your employer advance notice before quitting your job, as this can help you leave on good terms and maintain a positive relationship with your employer.
There are some situations in which it may be acceptable to quit without warning. If you’re in a dangerous situation at work, it may be necessary for you to leave your job immediately.
Is It Better to Quit or Be Fired?
For those who already have another opportunity lined up, do your best to quit while staying on good terms with your employer, if possible.
The line is blurred for people who don’t know their next move. On one hand, most people who quit forfeit their unemployment benefits by default — granted they didn’t commit egregious acts like stealing from the company.
On the other hand, waiting to get fired might hurt your reputation — although how/whether this will affect future employment is on a case-by-case basis.
Quitting a Job: Now You Know
Hopefully, this guide gives you the clarity to put together a game plan that’s best for you.
There’s so much to consider when leaving a job. With the current economy, jumping ship becomes that much more turbulent. This is one reason we’ve put together dozens of resources to help you get through this.
Our online courses are specifically designed to help you create and live your “rich life” — whether that’s jumping into a career you’re passionate about, negotiating a higher salary at your current position, or spending more time on the things you love.
Click here to learn more!