During my 30 years in business management, I’m sure I heard every sane and insane excuse for suddenly quitting a job. I confess I also often pondered the angry at-work moment, tempted to give the one-finger salute and disappear.
For more than two decades, I managed an insurance company’s ad and public relations regional division, with a staff of 25, including both clerical and professional employees. Many were very bright editors, graphic artists, ad writers and other creative types.
Due to their advanced education, experience and talents, they were also highly-emotional and often difficult to keep within the strict guideliness of our deadline-driven business environment. In other words, some freaked out. Now long retired, I still clearly remember many incidents. Employees, usually during an anger fit, made the absolutely wrong decision to just up and quit.
How about some advice that still applies today? If quitting is on your mind, wait just one damn minute! Don’t stomp out until you’ve taken the time to consider all consequences. Here are a few ideas that may help when you’re about to go raging through job exit doors into the stark streets of unemployment.
Think of that tired old adage your high school coach always shouted into your tender young ears: A quitter never wins; a winner never quits. Even in the worst work situation, calm down and just take time to consider why you want to run away.
1. You’re mad as hell and you ain’t gonna take it no more: An incident or unfair situation (as you perceive it) happens on a work day. It makes you so furious you want to just get the hell out. Stop right there!
Hold your temper and vocal anger by quickly retreating to a quiet spot, and then carefully think the whole situation through. Give it a minute, an hour, a day or a week. Then, whatever your ultimate decision, make the most intelligent move with an absolutely clear mind.
2. Someone or something is bugging you: For example, you had a rough night, spousal argument or that day’s lunch didn’t agree with you. Meanwhile, piling on your fragile psyche is a heavy work schedule with impossible deadlines. The boss is bugging the hell out of you to clear the log jam.
Anger is steaming in your brain. You’ve had it up to here and beyond. Take a deep breath and respond with cool assurance that the work will be done and on time. Always remember the Biblical cliché: A soft answer turneth away wrath. So, keep yon raging wrathfulness unto thineself.
3. Management is unaware of your gripe: The bothersome moment that makes you want to quit could be a misunderstanding. Calmly ask for a sit-down with the boss about your concerns and frustrations. If it’s money and/or promotion, say it right out front without angry words.
A respectful and calm statement may get what you want. And, miraculously, it could suddenly improve your job, rank and income. It can also serve to erase that self-destructive mad-as-hell attitude.
4. You haven’t discussed it fully: Talk your job situation over privately with spouse, parents, siblings, clergy or others who have your best interests at heart. You may find the reasons for quitting are totally invalid or based on one emotional incident that will pass and be forgotten.
5. Your temper is out of control: In the worst possible scenario, as you suddenly quit, you furiously want to make that final gesture of bad-mouthing your boss. Or worse, you choose to commit acts of deliberate sabotage against the company. Destructive tantrums are childish actions, and only make bad scenes worse, and could lead to legal involvement.
6. Don’t ruin your resumé: Your juvenile soul may feel good while acting out your dramatic exit, but that destructive performance will follow you. The black mark may hurt future career chances when your background is being researched as prospective bosses consider you for new jobs.
7. Never, never, never quit until you have a new job solidly nailed down: When you get a new offer, make sure it’s officially in writing. Additionally, before you hand in that resignation letter, pause one more time to consider all aspects of both jobs.
8. Old job vs new job comparison: For the new offer, research into future promotion possibilities, salary track and other benefits. How will your family be affected if the new job is far away from your current home? If the new opportunity requires relocating, carefully check real estate values, schools and other important social and economic factors.
9. Quitting is always a gamble: No matter how much you dislike your job, resigning should be done only for well-thought-out, intelligent reasons. The decision must never be a snap one (when your out-of-control temper has snapped), but only after long and careful consideration.
10. Repeating the most important advice of all: Protect your future in any job change consideration. Don’t ever let that exit door slam on your old job until you are absolutely certain you have a new job’s open door officially in writing to welcome you.