There are classy and un­classy ways to quit a job

On-the-job ad­vice from Di­ane Stafford and Liz Reyer

The Hamilton Spectator - - CAREERS - •Marie G. McIntyre, Tri­bune News Ser­vice

“Take this job and shove it” may make for good lyrics, but it’s not the best thing to say when quit­ting a job.

There are classy ways to leave and ways that can haunt you down the road.

Even with a strong job mar­ket, where help wanted signs abound, it’s still wise to have an­other job in hand be­fore you quit. That’s not al­ways pos­si­ble, but it eases pos­si­ble fi­nan­cial stress be­tween jobs.

It’s also wise to have a thought­ful rea­son for walk­ing out the door. A de­cent in­crease in base pay. A bet­ter em­ployee ben­e­fits pack­age. An eas­ier com­mute. Work hours that bet­ter fit your fam­ily or life­style. All the pros and cons should be an­a­lyzed be­fore as­sum­ing other grass is greener.

Once you’ve made the de­ci­sion to go, watch your mouth. Take care about what you type on so­cial me­dia. Your words will leave an im­pres­sion.

Even if you work for the most tyran­ni­cal or ig­no­rant boss imag­in­able, don’t vent. That boss may be con­tacted by your tar­get em­ployer and to­tally sink your chances by bad­mouthing you in re­turn. It hap­pens.

Don’t dump on in­di­vid­u­als, whether they’re su­per­vi­sors or co-work­ers. In the dig­i­tal world, no mes­sage, even to your best friend, is se­cure. Any­thing can be for­warded be­yond the cir­cle that you in­tended.

Af­ter you’ve left an or­ga­ni­za­tion, what you say about it — even if it’s ab­so­lutely true — says some­thing to fu­ture em­ploy­ers. They may la­bel you as a dis­loyal em­ployee or a prob­lem child who might never be happy. That could be right; one can’t give ev­ery­one the ben­e­fit of the doubt.

To be safe, it’s bet­ter to stay mum or neu­tral in any pub­lic pro­nounce­ments about your for­mer em­ployer.

And a bit about how to quit: Try to give your em­ployer some warn­ing be­fore your last day. Many peo­ple think two weeks no­tice is a le­gal re­quire­ment. It’s not. It’s a cour­tesy. It costs or­ga­ni­za­tions time and money to re­place you, as­sum­ing your job con­tin­ues af­ter you leave.

It’s good prac­tice to in­form your im­me­di­ate boss first and pri­vately. Then let your co­work­ers know. They may have a rough time as­sum­ing your du­ties un­til the po­si­tion is re­filled. Say you’ve en­joyed work­ing with them and thank them for the work they’ll take on in the tran­si­tion.

If you’re not at the jump point yet but you’re se­ri­ously think­ing about it, make a list of “stay” or “go” rea­sons. Un­der­stand what bugs you and what, ex­actly, you want to do.

Vague un­hap­pi­ness won’t help your search for some­thing else. Nei­ther will a change for a few cents more an hour if the same work con­di­tions ap­ply. Be clear about your goals. And be care­ful about what you say be­fore or af­ter you leave.

•Di­ane Stafford, The Kansas City Star

Bad­mouthing your boss rarely wise

Q: One of my co-work­ers re­cently be­came my su­per­vi­sor. “Amanda” is great at manag­ing tasks and projects, but she has no in­ter­per­sonal skills what­so­ever. She tells jokes about peo­ple that aren’t funny and she can be very rude.

I made the mis­take of vent­ing about this to a trusted col­league who shared my com­ments with Amanda’s boss. Although he hasn’t con­tacted me, he did ask an­other em­ployee whether she had any prob­lems with Amanda. She told him no be­cause she didn’t want to hurt her chances of be­ing pro­moted.

Amanda ob­vi­ously heard about my com­plaints be­cause she has started call­ing me a trou­ble­maker. I re­ally en­joy my job, but I don’t like my su­per­vi­sor. What should I do now?

A: Amanda’s abra­sive per­son­al­ity can­not have come as a com­plete sur­prise. Hav­ing worked with her be­fore, you un­doubt­edly knew what to ex­pect when you heard she’d been pro­moted. And even though she could clearly use some lead­er­ship train­ing, her com­mu­ni­ca­tion style sounds more brusque than abu­sive.

For­tu­nately, this ex­pe­ri­ence seems to have taught you two valu­able lessons. “Trusted col­leagues” are not nec­es­sar­ily trust­wor­thy, and “vent­ing” about your boss is al­ways a huge mis­take. When com­plaints about man­age­ment wind up on the of­fice grapevine, un­wel­come con­se­quences fre­quently fol­low.

Per­haps you should take a cue from your more cau­tious co-worker. She ap­par­ently re­al­ized that crit­i­ciz­ing Amanda would au­to­mat­i­cally im­ply that the per­son who re­cently pro­moted her had poor judg­ment. So she made the po­lit­i­cally in­tel­li­gent de­ci­sion to keep her com­plaints to her­self.

Given that you like your job, your best bet now is to try ad­just­ing to Amanda’s lessthan-per­fect lead­er­ship style. If you be­gin act­ing like an ally in­stead of an ad­ver­sary, your re­la­tion­ship with her may im­prove, and her flaws might be­come more tol­er­a­ble.


If you’ve de­cided it’s time to leave your job, be aware that what you say could haunt you down the road.

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