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Unprofessional Ways to Quit a Job

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Are you frustrated with your organization? Have your duties shifted over the years derailing the direction your career was supposed to go? Do you feel you should be making more money for the level of work you're doing? Has your employer cut your benefits?  Or, on the plus side, you've gotten a fabulous opportunity you don't want to pass up.

These are only a handful of reasons why people may contemplate quitting their jobs. Whatever the reason, it's important to give careful consideration to the approach taken when the decision to leave a position has been made.  For most people, often the reasons for quitting are due to either a better opportunity or a series of unfavorable circumstances that cause unhappiness. If true discord is present, it is tempting to quit without any thought of how your actions are perceived because the anger and/or unsettling feelings tend to dominate the situation.

Big cat meow
Credit: James_Jester via Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/leo-animal-savannah-lioness-safari-350690/

Even if angry, keep it under control before, during and after your resignation. If not, it might come back to bite you.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the resignation, it is important to think about the way you approach quitting. When you decide to leave, it is important not to focus on any negativity and instead think proactively about how any of your actions could come back to haunt you later. Most likely in a way that wasn't anticipated.

Credit: bartek001 via Pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/conversation-balloons-anger-545621/

When resigning, it's always a good idea to keep a positive dialogue going

While there are times in life when it is necessary to quit a job, leaving a position is not always the most pleasant or easiest task. However, sometimes it is the best solution. There are many bad ways to quit a job, but here are a few of the worst approaches a person can take:

Giving No Notice

Coming into work and announcing it is your last day is a bad way to quit a job. This is because leaving a job without notice affects many other people. Your former employer has no replacement, colleagues are burdened with picking up the slack from your absence, and customers or clients suffer from not having a contact person if you are their designated employee. It is also considered unprofessional. Leaving a job without providing ample notice (usually about two weeks is customary) will not bode well if a new prospective employer calls to verify employment or to obtain a reference. 2

Burning Bridges

If an employer has led a poor environment, been neglectful, inconsiderate, or even abusive, it can be tempting to simply tell them off when you decide to quit. This approach essentially cuts all ties and burns the proverbial bridges. While tempting, it is rarely a good idea.

Bear Mountain Bridge
Credit: Leigh Goessl

Always make sure your ability to cross a bridge is unobstructed. Burning a bridge during a resignation can shut out future opportunities. Not to mention, it can make you look bad from a professional standpoint.

Rarely, if ever, is it a good idea to burn bridges and leave a job on a bad note. For instance, you never know if you'll need a reference, or if you work in a specific niche-oriented industry, you could unknowingly remove yourself from being considered for future job opportunities. Also, keep in mind that some managers or colleagues may leave someday too and end up being your boss somewhere else.

Or, consider today's business environment is one where many companies partner up or bought out by other companies. Even if you think you'll never work for a company or a person again, things may come back full circle at a later date through unforeseen circumstances and you end up working for the same management again. If this occurs, you're bound to end up regretting your actions because they may negatively affect further growth in your career.

Even if you are thoroughly disgusted with a job, it's best to make every attempt to take the high road, quit with dignity and remain professional. You're better off writing a letter so you can rid yourself of any bad feelings, and then shredding it. Even if your anger or disgust is justified, be proactive and maintain a level of professionalism when you quit.

Stop Showing Up

Simply not showing up for work once you decide to call it quits is a bad way to leave a job. When this occurs, the employer has no notice and this too can have a ripple effect on many people. Bosses and colleagues won't know why you stopped coming and this could lead to others worrying, calling your home and/or cause resentment. Additionally, this pretty much guarantees you'll never be able to ask anyone from this job to be a reference.

Exit sign
Credit: j. botter via Flickr/CC by 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/botter/70228

When quitting a job, plan a strategic exit to ensure you take the right corridor.

Bashing Employer on Interviews

Even if you leave your job with a level of professionalism, give notice and don't burn any bridges. How you conduct yourself after you leave is just as important as when you resigned. A common question job interviewers ask is "Why did you leave your last position?" Always be careful how you answer this question. Even if it's tempting to bad-talk the job you left, it's always best to refrain from doing this and instead come up with a neutral answer, or one that reflects career goals instead of how you really feel. By bashing your former (or current) employer, you present yourself in a bad light and can limit your future job opportunities. Employers are likely to discard resumes from people who have negative comments about job exits right after the interview.

Quitting a job is never a fun prospect, but it's best to avoid any negative ways to quit a job. Feelings can resolve over time, but past actions cannot be changed or undone. Best to restrain from the negativity and leave off on a good note. Your career will thank you later on.



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  1. "Know When to Quit Your Job by Watching for These Signals." LifeHacker. 27/02/2013. 23/05/2016 <Web >
  2. "How to Quit a Job Without Looking Bad." Our Everyday Life. 26/05/2016 <Web >

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