Make Sure You Really Want to Leave
Before you decide to throw in the towel, take a few days to really think through your decision. Consider all the pros and cons of leaving versus staying and think about if there’s a chance the situation can improve over time.
This is a good time to think about the repercussions of leaving. Because your employer has spent time and resources recruiting and training you, there’s a chance that your boss won’t be the happiest of campers.
If you’re willing to risk the repercussions — or if they just don’t even matter to you that much — you can consider the benefits to quitting a job you quickly discovered that you hate:
You got a better job offer. This makes for a very easy decision. Just make sure you officially confirm that the role is yours and sign all the necessary paperwork before you tell your boss that you’re quitting. Most people understand this one, and even if they don’t, it’s no sweat — you already have a better job!
You were lied to about the job. If the job description and the hiring manager’s portrayal of the job during the interview don’t line up with your actual experience, that’s a very good reason to quit a job you just started.
It might be that you’re more over/underqualified than you thought or that the breakdown of your responsibilities’ proportional time commitment was mispresented. In any case, if you politely point this out as you quit, you’ll actually help the employer make sure not to repeat the mistake.
It’s a terrible environment. This can mean a lot of things — meanspirited, cliquish colleagues, a boss whose comments regularly make you uncomfortable, or just a depressing layout of joyless cubicles and cheap lighting.
Give Plenty of Notice
The only thing worse than being remembered forever as “That jerk who quit after the first day” is being remembered as “That huge terrible jerk who gave less than two weeks’ notice before they left and screwed us all.”
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to quit, it’s time to meet face-to-face with your boss so you can tell them your decision in person. Even though resigning in person is painful and awkward, it shows that you’re professional and gives you the chance to control how you’re going to be interpreted.
It’s best to avoid saying things like “This job just sucks dude,” or “I think you’re mean and you smell bad.” Instead, mention reasons that focus on aspects of the job that didn’t fit your strengths or interests. At the very least, just don’t say anything mean.
Show gratitude for the opportunity, express your willingness to help with the transition, and suggest a last day of employment. Having a detailed plan in place for your last weeks of work will show that you’re considerate and haven’t made this decision lightly.
How To Quit Your Job In 5 Easy Steps
1. Am I doing this for the right reasons?
Everyone has a bad day (or two, or more) but allowing your emotions to ramp you into a decision you might later regret isn’t going to do anything but frustrate you and potentially hinder your future job searches.
Can you reach out to your manager or HR and explore options that would allow you to stay where you are and be happier/make more money/do more rewarding work/leave behind that horrible coworker/boss/manager you hate?
If you’re quitting over an issue that can be easily fixed, future employers might want to know why you decided to exit rather than work out a solution. Make sure you’re doing this for the right reasons, not just the easy reasons.
2. Am I okay quitting right now?
While quitting might make your soul and mind feel better if you’re in a difficult situation, your bank account might argue sticking it out until you get something better lined up is a smarter course of action.
If you quit, is your decision one that is going to just affect you or do you have an entire family relying on you as the breadwinner? Don’t forget to keep other things in mind like health insurance. Once you leave your job, those benefits usually stop.
Ask yourself these questions to really drill down and make sure you’re in a position where walking away won’t be a problem. Quitting only to turn around and have to crawl back and beg for your old job isn’t a scenario anyone wants to live through.
STEP TWO: GETTING READY TO QUIT
Yes, it might mean sticking around a little longer at a job you’re ready to leave forever, but trust us, these tasks will make your transition into whatever else you plan on doing next much easier.
If you’ve sat down and really reflected on your situation and answered our two critical questions and still see quitting as the only answer, then it’s time to move onto the next phase…getting all your ducks in a row before you go.
While some employers might be okay with you quitting and allow you the time you need to wrap things up, some consider quitting to be an insult and might even insist you leave immediately…so make sure you’re ready before you go in.
Do you use a company computer? Make sure you clean off all your personal files and back up anything you think you might need including contacts and important information (Don’t forget emails either!)
Speaking of copies and contacts and backing up files, make sure that whatever you’re doing is legal and ethical. The last thing you want to do is to get busted for corporate espionage or intellectual property theft.
Why This Interview Question is Asked
The interview question, “Why did you leave your last job?” is a qualifying interview question and ice breaker question. It’s used to begin the interview and help guide how the remainder of the interview session might be positioned.
Indeed.com defines an “ice breaker” as “thought-provoking questions you can use to encourage people to talk and get to know them better. These questions can be used in most situations where a fun, light-hearted conversation is needed to lighten the mood and encourage real bonding.”
The interview question should be answered with brevity, as this question intends to test the job candidate’s verbal communication skills. In addition, this question provides the hiring manager with insight into how well calculated the candidate is about their career aspirations or career goals.
For example, if the job candidate answers by saying, “I left my last job because I felt there was no upward mobility. I wanted to move into a management position, which is a career aspiration of mine.” It shows the hiring manager that the candidate has intent with their career. That insight can be helpful for the hiring manager to ask follow-up questions or decide which qualifying questions they might ask the candidate.