Friday, December 2, 2011

How To Quit Your Job

Faux Life Coach is a series in which I tell you how to live your life, figure out your problems and dole out advice I wish someone would have given me once upon a time.

Quitting your job sucks. Even if you're leaving under the best of circumstances, it still blows in a big way. I should know, I've quit a few jobs in my day. Having recently quit my job in New York to hightail it back to Ohio, I have enough experience getting it right to give out some sage advice. Before getting into the messiness of actually quitting, which is a real bitch, definitely be sure you actually want to quit your job. New jobs are scary unknown territory, but potentially worth it in the end. Totally depends on the situation. But if you think saying adios to your current job is the right move, you're probably feeling both excited and nauseous. Excited because you're embarking on a new adventure, and nauseous because you had a double bacon cheeseburger for lunch, and it just ain't sitting right. Oh, and because you have to quit your job. Sucks to be you. I've been there. There a a few easy rules to follow when quitting your job. If you've got these down, you'll be okay. Here goes:

1. Don't talk about it- After you decide to quit, you will want nothing more than to talk to your friends and coworkers about it. Trust me, I know. Goal #1 here is to make sure your boss doesn't catch wind of your quitting before you tell him/her. When quitting my job in New York, I told a few people a couple days before I quit, but I worked with a few of my BFFs, and not telling them just wasn't an option. If this isn't the case for you, I would recommend keeping your mouth totally shut until you talk to your bosses. I know it's exciting to share the news with people, but it's in your best interest to zip your lips until you've had a sit down talk with your boss.

2. Set the date- Depending on the formality of your office, you will either set up a formal meeting with your boss, or sit down with them when you they have some free time. My old job was informal, so I had to set a mental deadline for myself as to when I had to quit by. I had a date in my head, and I stuck to it. If you work in a more formal office, you will have to actually set up a meeting with your boss. The positive about this is that you really can't back out of it. The negative is that you will be watching the clock wind down to that fateful hour. Formal or informal- don't avoid!

3. Practice, practice, practice- Finding words when you're sitting in that room, facing your boss is impossibly hard. The only way you're going to get through it alive is through practicing what you're going to say. Otherwise, you might go blank when you're put on the spot. Winging it is most definitely not recommended when quitting. If you have mental bullet points you know you want to hit, being able to come back to these when you're looking your boss in the face is going to be very helpful.

4. Remember this is for the best- When you're actually explaining to your boss that you're quitting, you might actually want to shit your pants. As a byproduct, you're likely to feel discouraged and kind of like a piece of shit for quitting in the first place. Well... DON'T! Before you even sit down to talk to your boss, visualize the wonderful life you're going to have post-quitting. I'm not saying your life is going to be all candy canes and rainbows after you quit, but momentarily putting an amazingly positive spin on it right before you talk to your boss is super important. This will help you to be confident in your delivery, and ensure you don't sound like a Debbie Downer.

5. Cover all of your bases- Before quitting, keeping your mouth shut is priority number one. After quitting, blabbing it is much more widely accepted. This totally depends on your workplace policy though, so it's definitely something to discuss with your boss. After quitting, I spoke with HR (in some companies, you would want to do this before quitting. It's a more formal thing.) and then began telling other people I didn't feel comfortable telling pre-quitting. Basically, what you're trying to avoid here is someone coming up to you and saying "YOU'RE QUITTING? HOW COULD YOU NOT TELL ME?!?!?" Tell them before they hear it from someone else, but ask them to remain tight lipped about it so it doesn't spread like gossip.

6. Don't shit talk- This is probably the most important of all lessons here. Do not, I repeat- DO NOT shit talk your employer before you leave, or even after. You gain literally nothing from being negative about the company you are leaving. Shit talking your former employer doesn't make them look bad, it makes you look like a dick. If you really really really need to get some stuff off of your chest, talk to someone you trust totally and completely and ideally who doesn't work there. See: your Mom.

7. Leave with a smile- I don't care how horrible your former employer might be, leave on amazing terms with them, with a smile on your face. Even if you want to kick them in the shins and run away screaming "FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, I'M FREE AT LAST!"..... DON'T. Leaving on bad terms will have you feeling sour about 10 minutes after you walk out the door. They'll just be left thinking that you're a person of low character. No body wants that. So hug everyone goodbye, tell them you'll keep in touch, and walk out the door. Try to steal a stapler or two if possible while you're at it. But that's it! Don't be a mooch!

There you have it, friends. It's not easy, and there are certainly many ways to fuck it up. In the end, you will get it done. You have to, there's no way around it. Just think about the relief and happiness you will feel after you do it. It's like ripping a giant band-aid off of your face and discovering you now look like Scarlett Johansson. Srsly. The feeling is that good. Be respectful, be kind, and don't be a gossip. You can do this.

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