Monday, July 18th, 2011

How to Quit Your Job

There sure is a lot of quitting going on! Whether you're a terribly disgruntled Taco Bell employee who took it out on a sign or just a normal schmo, the mini-thaw—possibly the New York-only thaw?—of the great recession allows people to actually leave jobs sometimes. But we're all a little rusty! Let's brush up.

The Quitting
• Don't issue an ultimatum to your employers, like former interim Nationals manager Jim Riggleman did, offering two hours of turn-around time before he walked. (It took him like a whole month to find a job; you might not be so lucky.) I mean, sure, you're allowed to walk off the job! But if you're gonna walk, just do it. Go now! Take your wallet!

• You'll do better if you hear out a counteroffer! You go to your boss and say this: "Hey, Jane, I asked to see you today because I have a job offer that I really like. While I really enjoy it here, I'm inclined to take it. I need to let them know by Friday." Then you sit there in silence. Don't volunteer info! Don't narc yourself out here about your new offered pay, your job, the specifics, etc. And you don't talk to your boss before you have this offer in hand. This goes for whether you work at Taco Bell or in some office!

• Politely accept or decline any raises or offers. But don't believe any promises. "If you stick around, when Sean leaves, I can give you his position." That is almost always a fool's game. DON'T BELIEVE.

• Baffled? Look inside yourself! Make lists! Call your mother! You know the answer to staying or going inside yourself. Don't panic.

So You Quit!
• Give notice in writing. Like, type something and print it out!

• Then you can do this crucial step: inform stakeholders! Many of us work with lots of people! Vendors, clients, coworkers, people in the field. These are people need to be brought up to speed when your decision is final. A great way to maintain relationships is to call up people (on the phone, even!) and tell them what's going on.

• Inform the good friends who haven't been your sounding boards in your decision.

• Then you can inform the media and/or Facebook, should you wish, which can be responsible for informing acquaintances and people you haven't talked to since high school!

The Transition
• Early on in your transition planning, schedule a minimum of one week between jobs, unless you're penniless. Better: three weeks. This is the only real luxury of quitting jobs. No one does this anymore hardly, and it's terrible. Guess what: your new job wants you! That's why they hired you! Give them a start date.

• And the time you have left at your old job is so much shorter than the endless amount of time it sounds like. This is going to be all time devoted to organizing your ongoing projects in ways that are helpful to the people who are going to take them over. Start by making a list of all your current projects. Then take a deep dive through your email, printing out relevant documents! Make folders—actual real-world folders, not computer folders! If you get all this done in the first few days, then you can spend the rest of your remaining time just goofing off and going to lunch.

I'm real rusty on this myself. What did I forget?

34 Comments / Post A Comment

Murgatroid (#2,904)

This post is sponsored by Arby's.

Adam Frucci (#9,034)

Choire are you telling us something???????????????

brent_cox (#40)

@Adam Frucci My thought exactly.

TheRtHonPM (#10,481)

In some super-paranoid companies, the day you say you quit, you will be given a severance payment equal to your notice and told not to come back. This seems to happen a lot in the tech field. So if you've got your eye on that stapler, make sure you nab it before you hand in your letter!

cory dodt@twitter (#12,071)

@TheRtHonPM That's why I always give a 3-month notice.

Rodger Psczny (#3,912)

@TheRtHonPM And if you're lucky, security will escort you out.

jolie (#16)

Be gracious. Put on a smile and lie lie lie, no matter how tempting it is to burn the building down on your way out.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@jolie unless you're quitting your job at Wal-Mart, if that's the case you're allowed to tell all your dick-head bigoted bosses to fuck off and suck your ass because you're not going to end up like them. Or something like that. It won't hinder your chances of getting hired elsewhere, it might even help.

Heather Wagner (#9,797)

Years ago I worked at an ad agency and one guy quit by sending a group-everyone email that said, simply, "blow me." I guess that's one way to do it.

Pierce (#3,939)

I quit my job last week. I gave 3 months' notice, pretty much out of Catholic guilt.

deepomega (#1,720)

So peeing your resignation on your boss's desk… does that count as "in writing"?

roboloki (#1,724)

@deepomega if your boss is dr. victor fries, then yes!

iantenna (#5,160)

@deepomega only if the desk is covered in snow at the time.

SeanP (#4,058)

@roboloki or Bear Grylls.

bb (#295)

resist the temptation to write or tell your boss/superior/colleague everything that is wrong with them and the company and that's why you're leaving. Unless they ask for it, it will just sound like sour grapes and you will leave with a bad rep. No one learns from their mistakes, so don't try to point them out.
(learned the hard way, obviously)

r&rkd (#1,719)

But accepting a counter-offer can mean: (1) you get skipped over for the next round of raises (you already got your raise, see?); and/or (2) you have set yourself up to be terminated at your employer's convenience (since you've admitted that you are looking for a different job).

The best quitting I have ever done was to tell an editor at the local paper at which I worked at the time that I "refuse to be the shit on the bottom of your shoe anymore."

I don't usually have that kind of gumption in me — it was a marvelous moment.

But wait. I think we're supposed to be advising against that sort of thing….

Andy Rosenberger (#3,872)

I think you flaunt it all humblebraggy-like on Twitter and then take to Business Insider to do all kinds of gloating interviews. I don't have a name for it, but some call it "Pulling a Cho"

(I kid! I kid! Honestly! Miss u DC!)

jfruh (#713)


@jfruh I find this all so, so confusing. Is it like a Jurassic Park TRex situation where if you stand real still and don't speak and don't move, the problem will go away?

One other point to remember: Your new job will also suck. Maybe not the first week, maybe not the second, but soon and for the rest of your life.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@NotAndersonCooper Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

flossy (#1,402)

@NotAndersonCooper No!! This time it will be different! [sobs]

Matt (#26)

Never in one thousand years would I ever have thought to be reading a Choire Sicha blog post on the Internet in which the manager situation of the Washington Nationals is discussed in any way.

BadUncle (#153)

I'd like a counter-balanced opinion, filled with pointers for career-ending drama and epic bridge burning.

collier (#13,548)

@BadUncle : I think you must have gotten lost on the way to Or possibly Cracked.

UscrewU2 (#3,047)

If your employer was fair with you and treated you decent, extend the same courtesy and don't burn any bridges.
You would be surprised just how small the world is, and you may meet again and wish you had not been such an ass

This is the only advice I've ever needed on the matter:

innag (#7,189)

i recentlt resigned from a job i had for 9 years (i was one of the company's first hires and had gone through many growing pains with them). i had nothing lined up, just got really tired of the place. i gave them a month's notice, and it was all gracious and friendly, until a week after my resignation, i interviewed and got offered another job. when i courteously told the old employer about my happy news, they got extremely bitter and made my departure miserable. talk about sour grapes.

sherychex (#17,835)

wow good site i like your site i agree with your thinking good plz give me more infomation thank's

BW@twitter (#18,044)

I think it's great. It's a dead end job anyway. My hero:

Josh W.@twitter (#18,219)

I'd just add: don't hoard vacation time because you'll never get to use it. When you get a new job, they will want you to start, like, now. You'll probably have a few weeks to transition out of the old job, but if you have a huge amount of vacation time stashed away that you'd hoped to casually burn off, you'll miss your chance.

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