Bad reasons for leaving a job
Starting a new job isn’t easy. It’s normal to feel a certain level of anxiety and frustration. In many cases, this passes with time.
Some potentially temporary issues include:
- Unfair expectations or quotas. You can’t expect peak performance on your first day. Once you’ve had time to develop your skills, you may realize the expectations aren’t unreasonable after all.
- Exhaustion. This is especially common with manual labor, but it’s just like going to the gym. Your body feels like it’s going to implode during your first week. As you build stamina, it gets easier.
- Bad customer experience. Don’t judge your job based on a single bad day. It might have been a rare event, and you may be able to minimize future issues by sharpening your service skills — or growing thicker skin.
- Steep learning curve. Mastering unfamiliar software, learning all the policies and procedures and adjusting to new workflows can be overwhelming. Soon, it’ll all be second nature.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, consider sticking it out a bit longer. If you quit jobs before giving them a fair chance, you risk being seen as a “job hopper” that nobody wants to hire.
Legitimate reasons for leaving a job right away
That said, there are several instances when it’s perfectly acceptable to call it quits, no matter how new you are.
Feel free to jump ship if:
- The job isn’t as advertised. Recruiting competition is fierce, and it’s not unheard of for recruiters to sugarcoat a position or omit crucial job information. If they tricked you, leave.
- You received a better offer. If you receive a better offer from another company, request a raise. If your current employer won’t fight to keep you, it’s better to move on while they haven’t invested tons of time in you.
- You’re asked to do something unethical. If your boss tells you to do something that sets off your morality alarm, run. Don’t feel like you have to compromise your integrity unless you’re truly desperate.
- The work environment is toxic. Nobody should have to work in an environment full of micromanaging, gossip and negativity. Escape.
- You realize it’s a dead end. It’s best to assess growth opportunities before accepting the job, but it’s not always easy to judge from the outside.
- You’re miserable. Maybe the job or company just isn’t a good fit. As long as you’ve given it a fair shot, you’re doing everyone a favor by moving on.
Some career counselors warn that frequent job-hopping shows a lack of commitment, weakens your resume and makes it harder to find future work. But leaving just one new job for legitimate reasons is perfectly understandable.
If your reason is legit, here’s how to quit without causing a fit.
1. Explore potential solutions
Before quitting, organizational consultants and human resource experts recommend one last-ditch effort.
For example, if quitting on moral grounds, suggest ethical alternatives to replace current strategies. If quitting for a better job offer, ask for a raise.
And if you’re quitting because your boss is a jerk, figure out why they’re a jerk and whether you can change anything to make them less jerky.
When you march into your boss’s office with these potential solutions, be prepared to leave (or get fired) if things go south.
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2. Deliver the news respectfully
Quitting your job with a sassy text message might feel good in the moment, but it’s not a wise long-term play.
Managers and coworkers will judge you based on how you quit. You never know when burning a bridge will come back to hurt you, especially in tight-knit industries. Your bad boss might show up in a future workplace or be a close colleague of a hiring manager.
It’s in your best interests to be professional and quit respectfully — even if you’re leaving because you weren’t shown the same courtesy.
That means submitting a formal resignation letter with the appropriate amount of notice. If there’s no notice requirement in your employment contract, two weeks is typically acceptable.
If you work at a physical location, deliver your resignation letter personally. If you work remotely, set up a video chat to break the news, then email your letter.
Whatever you do, don’t let your plans slip to coworkers before you tell your boss. Word spreads fast.
3. Take the high road
If your boss won’t budge when you approach them with solutions, thank them for the opportunity and hand in your resignation letter.
Don’t expect a warm reaction from a toxic boss. It doesn’t matter how they react — it only matters how you react.
If they lash out, don’t take the bait. They’ll be gone from your life soon enough, so try to keep your composure a bit longer.
If you quit without first trying to find a solution, you might catch your boss off guard. If they ask you why you’re quitting, be honest, but don’t bash the company.
Whenever possible, give positive motivations for leaving, like an exciting new work opportunity or more time with your family.
4. Make your boss’s life easier
Quitting your job will add stress and uncertainty to your boss’s life. You’ll leave a good impression if you make the transition as smooth as possible.
That might mean offering to teach a colleague how to take over your responsibilities or creating a training manual for your replacement.
At minimum, it means working your butt off during your last days. Your resignation puts you at the center of attention, and if people see you slacking, don’t expect future favors.
If you do things right, you won’t have any guilt or worries plaguing you. Hop on the job board of your choice and find a better fit.
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