Do you know when, and how, to quit?

An employee, or actually a former employee, at a media company in Taiwan made quite a pandemonium of her departure and posted it on the web.

You may remember the flight attendant who quit by cursing in the plane’s PA system and next exit the plane through the emergency exit.

It is not often that you encounter such spectacular ways of quitting a job. Quitting your job is always taking a risk. You leave something you know behind for something you don’t know. Some people can live easily with ambiguity but for some these kind of decisions are nerve wrecking.

A bad way of quitting is to get fired up over something and then to state something like:” And if we don’t go that way, I’ll quit!”. You can only do this once. You can only do this on the day you will actually walk out the door. You should not think that this is a valid threat. Unless you are the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, chances are that your company/your boss will not like to be held ransom by a threat of this kind. Using words like this in effect makes your company/your boss evaluate if retaining your employment is as valuable or more valuable than pursuing the course of action you objected to.

In fact, when you make this ultimate threat, you have already contemplated leaving and your heart is already no longer with your employer. The reaction can be varied but one thing is certain, as a result of a statement like this you will leave the “circle of trust” of  your company/your boss and will be seen as someone who opposes the company’s chosen direction.

Likewise, when any of your team members makes a threat like this, deal with the issue by looking for a replacement as the team member apparently has already decided that the grass is greener somewhere else.

New Job - Memo for Business Careers.

So when and how do you quit? My advice; don’t quit your job too hastily. However once you are ready to quit, go and don’t look back. Don’t be persuaded by counter offers or promises by the company you are leaving. If you have been clear about your career ambitions and concerns in the company and they have not responded adequately, there is little reason to believe this will improve once you have told them that you have signed on with another company.

Great reasons to quit are situations where you cannot accomplish your full potential in your current position/company, when you have stopped learning, when the company becomes unstable or gets in financial trouble of any kind, or to change career direction or change career location in order to satisfy situations in your private life (such as a partner’s relocation or other work-life balance issues). In general you need to move on when you see no satisfactory path forward, caused either by your career ambitions, your private life or the company’s changed circumstances.

Less good reasons to quit are when the pay is too low (you’ll get used to the new level of pay within three months and pay is not a long term motivator); the boss is bad (you’ll get to know many of those in your career and they are usually a temporary hassle) or you did not get that promotion but your colleague did (a career is a marathon not a sprint, stay with it). In general most conflicts can be solved, most situations that bother you can be changed or your perception of these situations can be changed. Remember that it all happens between your ears, so when you are unhappy with any part of your job or company, examine if this is a situation that is unique for this company. Most likely you’ll find that similar bosses, assignments and policy changes exist in your next company and after the honeymoon period you may find yourself in a similar situation but now with other people. Always review why you joined this company when you are contemplating leaving.

When you eventually quit, be gracious, be helpful, never speak evil of your former employer. You want to be careful about your reputation. A reputation is worth a lot of money as it can make or break your career. So be careful, don’t burn bridges, remember the good times, forget the bad times and recall what you have learned while being at that company and put it to good use at your next company. You always want to be remembered as someone who had a great run at the company and now moves on to continue a successful career in a different company.

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