Job Karma: Knowing How to Quit

Knowing when to quit a job is half the battle; however, knowing how to properly quit a job is nearly an art. Karmic retribution often follows the employee who quits on poor terms, as future employers frequently check references from previous positions. Quitting a job should not be synonymous with creating havoc for the company and its remaining employees, no matter how difficult the work environment (so long as it respects the rules–if not, blow the whistle). To avoid leaving a nasty final impression, taking certain steps will help to ensure the parting of ways is mutually beneficial for all.

The Declaration

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of quitting a position is timing. Typically, the standard time frame for giving notice of leaving a position is two weeks, although some argue that this practice is unnecessary. Employers are certainly able to terminate employees without notice, thus employees retain the same rights to leave without notice. However, providing no indication of quitting and simply never coming back to work again causes more confusion for the employer than necessary, and may lead to legal complications if the former employee is in possession of any company property. Further, a potential employer may be turned off by the report from a previous employer that the employee in question quits wordlessly. Be it at 5:00 on the last intended Friday or two weeks before out of courtesy, providing a definitive “I quit” assures both the employee and the employer are on the same page.

To Write or Not to Write?

A letter of resignation is another typical stipulation for leaving a position, though is usually reserved for more “official” capacities. Hanging up the apron and hat at McDonald’s, for example, may not require such formalities. When taking the letter route, the letter should be addressed to the highest-ranking supervisor with which the employee has frequent contact, formally composed, and signed in ink. A copy should be retained for the employee’s personal records as well. Templates are available around the internet to assist with constructing an articulate, polite cessation of employee duties. As the example template displays, letters should be brief and gracious without providing too many details as to why the employee is choosing to quit. The result is a polished, clearly-stated intent to resign.

Using Personal Judgment

As every employer/employee relationship is unique, the above points are mere examples of the standard ways to quit a position. One certainly has the ability to objectively examine his or her role in the company and gauge whether or not to take additional steps in quitting. Finding one’s own replacement, for example, is not a required step for most positions; offering to do so, however, may boost one’s lingering reputation if the replacement is adequate. Providing company feedback may be helpful to the employer if a certain policy or practice is the driving force behind the need to quit. Employers, human beings themselves, may appreciate honest opinions and reflections about the company over exaggerated gratitude for the opportunities provided while in employ. The key is to remain level-headed and professional throughout the resignation process so as to best generate positive references for future employer prospects.

If you want to see an epic quit, watch the video below (Disclaimer: by posting this video on our site, YellowBrickRoad is by no means condoning this method of quitting. We’re merely holding it up for your [and our] amusement.):

Do you have an epic quitting story? Or maybe a great quitting story that showcases your good manners, judgment, and sensitivity? Spill the beans in the comments below!

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