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“Take this job and shove it”! The title of a popular 1977 country song (sung by someone ironically named Johnny Paycheck), it describes a feeling many, if not most, of us have felt at least once in our professional lives. Life isn’t perfect, and neither is employment. Dissatisfaction with a job may be so great that you just don’t feel you have any option other than to quit. Or maybe you’ve just simply found something better.
Regardless of whether you want to leave because you’re unhappy or you’re moving on amicably, there are some essential steps to take before you quit your job. Here are a few that should make your career transition somewhat smoother.
Is this trip really necessary? In other words, is resignation really your only choice? Have you discussed the things you find lacking in your job with your employer? If not, why not? Do so in a professional manner, identifying the positives and then discussing the reasons you are unhappy. If you’re not prepared to take this step, then clearly this job is not right for you and perhaps never was (think about that as you proceed in your career).
You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone… . Too often we make rash decisions, driven by emotion rather than reason. Quitting a job in a huff is never a good idea, no matter how justified you believe you are. Don’t think so? Simply from a practical standpoint, understand that your earnings cease, effective immediately. Unemployment? Sure, after a waiting period and if you think you can get by on approximately 55 percent of your wage rate. A boss isn’t likely to reconsider giving you back the job you told him to shove.
Why would you? How could you? How dare you!?!? You should probably resign yourself to the fact that your resignation will not be met with enthusiasm. Prepare a general, professional response to what you think the reaction might be. Even if you think “I’m going to give them a piece of my mind”, don’t. No, really, don’t. As John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. Don’t count out the possibility that you may actually find it necessary to cross paths with your employer or coworkers again, a journey that will be made very difficult if you’ve burned the bridges between you. To be treated like a pro, act like a pro. In cases like this, your ego is not your amigo.
Have an exit plan. Will you be allowed to work out your notice period or will you immediately be asked for your company devices (e.g., cell phones and laptops), files, keys and then escorted from the premises? If so, prepare for it. Also, do you know what the policies are re: continuing health insurance coverage/reimbursement and other benefit plans (401k, for example). Educate yourself so that you know what steps to take.
Get it in writing. You new job offer, that is, if that’s the reason for your resignation. And if your soon-to-be new employer requires drug testing or other pre-employment screening, make sure the results have all come in before quitting your current job.
Clean up your mess. Don’t leave any booby traps behind. If there’s unfinished work that requires your knowledge to complete, be up front about that and provide the organization the information necessary to seamlessly pick up where you left off. And scrub your history: Clean up your files, your email accounts, your browser history. But then you probably don’t have any personal activity on company devices anyway, do you…?