Before You Quit Your Day Job

Are you unhappy with your job and want to quit? I resigned from my day job five years ago and I know what it means to want to quit a job but read this article before you quit your day job because there are some things you’ve got to do before you throw in the towel.

  • Give Notice Before You Quit: The first thing you should do, once you’ve made up your mind to leave a job, is to ensure you give your employer as much notice as possible.  Many employers request at least 14 days notice from employees who want to leave but you can decide to give more than 14 days notice. You can even offer to stay on the job until a capable hand is found or until you are able to get a new job.
  • Resign In a Formal Way: The second thing you should do, before you quit your day job, is to turn in your resignation in a formal way. You don’t want to quit over the phone or through an email. Type up a proper notice from your computer system and personally submit the printout to your employer. The resignation letter can also be handwritten but make sure you thank your employer for giving you the opportunity to work with them in it. It’s vital, please don’t forget this.
  • Leave on Pleasant Terms: The third thing you should do before quitting your job is to leave on pleasant terms, like I did in August 2007. Till today, I have a good relationship with my employer and if I ever needed his help, it’s just a matter of asking. Remember that your actions have consequences, so, deal with your bosses, co-workers, and anyone else that you may come into contact with in a pleasant manner.  You will never know whose help you’d need in future, so, treat people well.
  • Return Company Property In Your Possession: The fourth thing you should before submitting your resignation letter is to return all the company property in your possession. Do this even if you’re not asked to and create a good, long-lasting impression for yourself.
  • Use Your Best Judgement: The fifth thing to do is to use your best judgment when leaving a job. If you’re yet to leave, do not search or apply for a new job and list your current job on your resume as a reference. Also, do not use company email and time to apply for a new job. That is simply stealing because you’re being paid to work but you’re neglecting the work in search of a job, using company resources. I think it’s not good enough but always use your best judgement.
  • Be Fair to Your Employer: While still talking about using your best judgement, I’d like to advise that you be fair to your employer. Put yourself in his (or her) shoes. Would you be happy with your conduct while resigning, if you were the employer? If you won’t be happy with the way you’re resigning, please change it and submit your resignation in a manner that is deemed appropriate.  Do this and you’ll be able to get a good reference from your current employer for years to come. Talking about being fair to your employer, ensure you honour your contractual commitments before you disengage. Don’t, on the pretext of quitting in two weeks’ time, neglect the work you’re being paid to do. Don’t also share proprietary information with future employers. It’s a breach of trust and could even make you lose jobs that would otherwise have been yours (as your prospective employers would see you as not to be trusted with vital information). Also, inform your employer about leaving first before you tell any other person in the company. You don’t want your boss to hear you’re leaving from a junior worker. It won’t be nice and professional.
  • Do a Thorough Soul Searching:  Last but not the least, search your heart and ask yourself ‘why do I want to quit this job? Is it because of my supervisor or the job doesn’t tally with my values? Is it because I’ve not had a promotion in three years or just because I’m dissatisfied with the job?’ You need to search your heart deeply and come up with solid reasons why you’re quitting. Those reasons must really be valid to make you eventually quit.

What Not to Do When Resigning From Your Job

  • Don’t Leave with Other Employees: No matter how angry you are with your job, do not plan with other employees to leave at the same time.If you’re good on your job, the fact that you’re leaving is enough heart ache for your employer but when you gang up with other employers to leave at the same time, you’re adding insult to injury and ‘burning your bridges’.
  • Don’t Quit on Impulse: Whatever it is, avoid quitting on impulse. Even when faced with serious work-related confrontation or discipline (you consider undeserved), don’t leave your job without adequate thought. If you do, you’d be quitting based on your frustration and anger and not because you had given your decision adequate thought. It could affect your chances of getting a new job later in life, so, beware!
  • Don’t Gossip About Your Company: Avoid gossiping about your bosses to others, including your friends, co-workers, or during future job interviews.  You never know but the words you spoke many years ago could come back to hurt you. To ensure you stay in the good books of your employer and get glowing recommendations for many years, keep your mouth shut about the company, its’ operations, your bosses and co-workers.
  • Do Not Mislead Your Current Employer: Try and be honest with your current employer. If you want to stay until you have a new job lined up, you’ve got to proceed with caution. Avoid a situation where your future employers will contact your current employer asking for a reference (by informing all prospective employers that you are yet to submit your resignation or submit your resignation before applying for new jobs).
  • Don’t Quit Without a Plan to Pay the Bills: If you’re quitting, have a solid plan in place to pay the bills. Because the job market is an uncertain one and there are no guarantees you would get a job within months of quitting, have a plan to pay the bills. It could be a year’s savings or a small business that would bring enough for you to live on.

Summary and Action TakeAway

Quitting a job is a scary thing to do for most people but with adequate planning, it can be successfully done and without causing damage to your reputation and finances.