February 12th, 2020

How to Quit Your Job

Most people go through a time at work when they imagine standing up and declaring “I quit!” before walking out the door. This time may come after an unpleasant encounter with a customer, after a co-worker won’t quit cutting his toenails at his desk, or when the boss asks you to work late again.

But making such a spur-of-the-moment decision can be a mistake. How you leave a job is often more important than how you start a job. It’s the last impression others have of you – and it can make or break your professional reputation.

Look for the Signs That It’s Time to Quit

The best way to avoid quitting in anger or frustration is to constantly assess your career to see if there are signs that it’s time to move on. For example, it’s time to think about quitting – and planning a professional exit – if you’re not learning.Or maybe you have a killer commute; you’re underpaid; you can’t stand your co-workers; you’re always bored; everyone is quitting; or if you have a bad boss.

Know Your Industry

Interestingly, there are some workers these days who don’t need such a trigger to quit. They simply want to do something else. For example, some workers in high-demand fields such as technology are quitting to travel the world or do something else to take a break from grueling work demands.

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Keep in mind that if you decide to take such action, you need to consider whether you’re in an industry where employers won’t be concerned about gaps in your resume and believe the break has made you more valuable. For example, creative types may find that the break makes them even more creative while others may take classes to boost their knowledge and skills.

Make Job Moves that Work for You

If you do decide to quit, you will join a growing trend. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 3.6 million employees voluntarily quit their jobs by the end of July, hitting a quit rate not seen since April 2001. For those workers who do leave their jobs, there is a payoff – they see about a 30 percent bump in annual pay over those who stay put.

If you do decide to quit your job, here are some important steps to ensure it doesn’t hurt your career:

  • Do it in person

    Make an appointment with your boss. They need to be the first person to hear the news. If you can’t meet with her in person, do it over the phone. No texts. No emails.

  • Submit it in writing

    Once you’ve given the boss your news, then submit a resignation in writing. It doesn’t have to be long. Simply state your name, position, the current date and your last day of work. (Try to give at least two weeks notice. Those in high-ranking positions should try to give even more).

  • Don’t burn bridges

    Now is not the time the tell off colleagues or the boss – such actions are unprofessional and could come back to haunt you. The world of work is often small – chances are you may run across many of these same people in your career and you may need them in the future.

  • Don’t slack off

    The boss and your colleagues will be watching to see if you start goofing off – and they will not be appreciative if you dump unfinished work off on them as you walk out the door. If you can’t get work done before you leave, offer detailed instructions on what needs to be done, along with important contacts.

  • No sticky fingers

    Don’t take any company property, whether it’s a pair of scissors or a client list. You could wind up answering for it in a court of law.

When you leave a job, make sure you thank everyone. Even if you hated the job or didn’t like the people you worked with or for, it was a learning experience. That is something that will always benefit your career because you learned what you did – and didn’t – want in your career.

Find out a little more about the current workforce trends in our latest report.



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