3 Tips for Deciding When (and How) to Quit Your Job

Ryan Morris
by Ryan Morris
Guides - 2 years ago

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Quitting a job is no easy process, regardless of whether you’ve done it before.

That doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. Oftentimes, when you’re in a bad situation, quitting your job is the only option left to you.

But it’s that same difficulty of quitting that can make the question of whether or not you SHOULD quit a difficult one to answer.

When you understand how tough the process of leaving a job is, it can make you feel more willing to put up with employment circumstances no one should have to encounter.

So how do you tell when a job is bad enough that it’s worth quitting?

And how do you quit a bad job without alienating everyone you ever worked with?

These are all tough questions, but fortunately, we here at Zippia have put together a guide to help you figure out just that.


1. How Do You Know When It’s Time to Quit Your Job?

There will come a point in everyone’s career at which a change of scenery isn’t just preferred — it’s necessary.

At times like these, the writing is usually on the wall, but even so, it’s not always easy to read.

Here are a few signs you might want to start thinking about leaving your current job:

  • You feel like you haven’t learned anything new in a long, long time. In order to stay competitive in the workplace, you should be continually staying up to date on your industry and learning new skills. It’s normal to get good at you job at a certain point, but if your learning has started to totally stagnate, then it’s time to start looking around.
  • You’ve gone as far as you can in your current position. When there’s nowhere left for you to move at your current job but down, then — unless you’re comfortable where you are — you should start looking for something with more growth potential.
  • You’re just miserable where you are. It’s one thing to not be totally in love with your job — it’s another thing if your job is causing you unhealthy levels of stress or is making you genuinely unhappy. Left unchecked, these feelings can impact your health and productivity in often extreme ways.

2. What You Should Do Before Handing in Your Two Weeks’

Leaving your current job without first preparing yourself for what comes after is a lot like jumping from a plane without a parachute.

Like, sure, you could potentially survive. The world is an uncertain place, and past events cannot predict future ones. Anything could happen.

But I mean, the chute is right there. It only takes a little more time to put it on before you jump.

“Trust me, I’m a good jumper. If I just roll at the right time I’ll be fine.”

So before you hand in your two weeks’ notice, take a week or two and think — what can you do to help prepare yourself for life after you leave?

Here are a few examples of things you might want to do before you quit your job:

  • Get your references in order first. Almost any new job is going to require good references from you, one of which should be from the place where you currently work. That means getting a reference from SOMEONE you work with (boss or not) before moving forward with resignation plans.
  • Find a new job first.This section is worthy of its own article, as it’s certainly no walk in the garden. But it’s tough to find a job when you’re unemployed, and tougher still the longer that unemployment lasts. If you have the time and ability to find a job before leaving your current one, you’ll be much better off in the long run.
  • Make a plan, and stick to it. However you’re thinking of resigning, you need to make a plan and draft a resignation letter. And make sure that you put your resignation plan in your calendar — otherwise, you’ll keep putting it off until it’s too late.

3. How To Quit Your Job Without Burning All Your Bridges

So you’ve done all your prep work — you’ve got a new job lined up, maybe even with better pay than you had before — and everything seems like it’s coming up Milhouse.

It can be tempting at this point to want to use the moment of quitting your job as a big mic drop, where you finally tell your boss all the things you’ve always wanted to.

All the little indignities you suffered, all the nights worked with no overtime, all the times you were ever embarrassed or made to feel small — it’s easy to feel like now is the last time you’ll have to tell them how you really feel.

This would be a huge mistake.

Don’t do it. Don’t! Don’t drop it. Seriously. Cut it out.

Tempting as it can be, this is just not the way to go.

Like it or not, you don’t know where your life is going to be, and more specifically, you don’t know whose recommendation is going to make or break you getting further jobs down the line.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for leaving your job without burning all the bridges you built before now:

  • Remember that resignation letter? Here’s where it comes in handy. Before you hand it in, you want to make sure there’s nothing insulting to your current employer in there. Remember, at the very least, you want your recommendation from them to be neutral, if not outright positive.
  • Make sure to give a two weeks’ notice. It’s a professional courtesy that you may not want to extend to a bad employer, but it’s expected of you if you want them to give you a good review. If your company is in the middle of a big project, you might be expected to see that project through to the end before you take your leave.
  • Tell your co-workers, but not before telling your boss. Even if you’re totally heartless, you never know what connections will be important down the line. Either way, your co-workers deserve to hear you’re leaving from you directly rather than having to learn about it secondhand.
  • Then, once everyone is nice and placated, leave without further ado. Don’t spend any longer than you need to, or work an undue amount before you go. Your employer deserves a certain amount of work from you before you quit, but don’t let them take advantage of you.

Wrapping Up:

That’s all for this one! Just keep in mind:

Above all, when quitting your job, you should try act appreciative — even if you’re not.

Quitting a job is a sticky social situation, but more than anything else it’s an exercise in humility.

Regardless of your relationship with the people you worked with or for, you need them to think well of you.

So say thanks to anyone at the company who might have helped get you where you are today.

Then get the hell out of there.

Best of luck! Here are some other links to help you on your way:
3 Tips to Asking Your Boss for a Raise
3 Tips to Making a Lateral Career Move
3 Tips for Playing Hooky (Without Getting Caught)

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