There are classy and unclassy ways to quit a job
On-the-job advice from Diane Stafford and Liz Reyer
“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.