How To: Quit Your Job

I am a big believer in trying to make a work situation work even if it seems impossible. Even though it’s tempting, I try not to bail the second things are less than perfect. This might be largely because I hate job hunting, who knows.*

That said, if you’re miserable and you can’t change the situation, it’s time to go. And while it’s ideal to have another job lined up before you quit, remember that your well being is the most important thing. Just know that you might be working odd jobs and tightening your belt a bit until you find something new.

I know we’ve all had those fantasies of telling your terrible boss off and throwing a stapler at his head, or doing a drive by smacking of that insufferable coworker on the way out the door.

But, and this is a big, adult-sized but, it isn’t realistic. When you leave a job, even a terrible job filled with terrible people in a terrible place or terrible deeds, be respectful.

Here’s how:

Give Notice

Two weeks is the norm but you can go over or under that.

I wouldn’t do under a week because the goal is that you are giving them time to replace you. I also wouldn’t give too much more than two weeks because some employers will replace you early and take you off the schedule. It’s a balance and it depends on your employer.

Submit a Letter of Resignation

It doesn’t matter what job you are leaving, everything should be in writing. A letter of resignation can range from a couple of sentences stating that you are leaving and what your last working day will be, to a longer letter of grievances.

If you write the latter, keep it respectful. This is not hate mail, it’s a way for you to calmly voice your reasons for leaving. If you can’t write this part constructively, don’t.

I urge you to keep a copy of this letter, give copies to your supervisor and then email or hand deliver a copy to any other supervisors in the company you feel should have it.

Give Your Best

Don’t be a pain for your last days with the company. This will accomplish two things. It will hurt everyone you work with, not just the ones you don’t like. And it will make you look like a bad employee.

You can be the best employee ever for years and lose it all in those last two weeks.

Ensure Your References/ Update Your Resume

Find someone at the company who can be a reference, a direct supervisor is best but you can also turn to other supervisors or even, in a pinch, a coworker. Ask this person directly if they will be a professional reference for you in the future. Make sure you have updated contact information.

Then, go update your damn resume. Even if you’re going straight to another job and you’ve already been hired, update it now while the dates, people and information are fresh in your head.

Now just breathe and get started on your new employment adventure.

Best of luck!

*Hey, remember when I waited too long to get out of a shit job and got fired...heh heh…that was…cool…

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