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6 Ways to Quit Your Job

Topics: Career Advice

It’s nearly the end of the year, and maybe you’re ready to start 2017 with a new resolution: A new job. First things first, though: you’re going to have to figure out how you want to quit your current job. Do you do it in a blaze of glory, or by the book? The options for quitting are remarkably similar to breaking up with a significant other (with apologies to Paul Simon). And, some are obviously much better for your career than others.

Image Credit: dskley/Flickr

Slip Out the Back, Jack

When leaving a job, most people don’t make a big deal out of it. Maybe you talk to your boss, give your two weeks, ride that out, and silently slip into the background. Maybe that timeline is accelerated a bit. Either way, things are official, amicable, professional, and adult. No leaving “surprises” in your desk for someone to find. No carving your initials in the walls. Just plain, old, boring, “Sorry, it’s not you, it’s me. I’m out.”

Make a New Plan, Stan

If you think you’re ready for a new job, and you have the luxury of some lead time (i.e., if you’re not getting laid off or fired), take some time to do some prep work. Brush up your resume, practice interview skills, line up references, and the like. Take some time to make a distinct plan for finding a new job, like assessing what you didn’t like about your current employer, and how to avoid the same mistakes in the future. Maybe you need a change in career or position, or maybe a change in management styles. Any way you slice it, you’re likely looking for something new, even if it’s just a bigger paycheck. Find out what you’re worth with the PayScale Salary Survey. It’s free!

You Don’t Need to Be Coy, Roy

Want to scream and rant and rave to HR about your terrible boss/coworkers/job description? Go ahead. You might even decide to tell your boss what they can do with those TPS reports. But know you’ll be burning some bridges while you do so. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, sometimes. Whistleblowers don’t often get hired back, either, but they’re often seen as heroes. There are schools of thought that burning a bridge or two isn’t the worst idea in the world (sometimes). But if you want to make absolutely sure your soon-to-be-former boss will give you a reference, be cool.

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Hop on the Bus, Gus

There’s always the “vanish” option, in which you just don’t come back one day. Usually, this method is reserved for jobs you have as a teenager, like scooping ice cream or bagging groceries — not for jobs you have as an adult. This is the ultimate bridge-burning. Peace out like this, and you can bet you won’t be getting any glowing LinkedIn recommendations.

Just Drop Off the Key, Lee

You might see Buzzfeed articles and Reddit threads filled with people bragging about stuff they stole from their past job, when they knew they were on their way out and things were going south. Don’t be dumb. Don’t steal from your job. Return all things to their rightful place. Be a law-abiding adult. Because they will come for you if you steal or do something terrible before you go (even if it’s on the way out the door).

And Get Yourself Free

Congratulations! You just figured out how you’ll go out from your current job. It might feel a little scary, but don’t worry. It likely won’t even be the last time you quit a job. And there’s always a new gig around the corner.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s your best quitting story? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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