Although you might be in “Take this job and shove it” mode, your should read on because we are going to cover something that is often overlooked: quitting with class. Barely being able to contain your quitting enthusiasm isn’t in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. Telling all of your co-workers about your plans, giving ill-timed notice, blowing up at my supervisor for all of the ways he wronged you, and blubbering in tears as you watch your chances of a good reference go down in flames are bad things. Let’s figure out to avoid that scenario.
When you decide to pursue your next step, whatever step that may be, it is important to stay classy right up to that point you get in your car and drive away… and afterward! I’ve seen many attempts to stay classy on a sliding scale of sadness that range from managing to stay “klassy” to those that ended just shy of a nuclear explosion.
Classy Quitter Tip #1: Keep your mouth SHUT
Once you have your “Quitter’s Epiphany”, you weigh the costs and benefits and decide to proceed, the next step is to shut up. Yes, shut up. Tell your partner, your sister, your cat or your diary, but keep your mouth shut when you are around gabby friends and co-workers.
There are three reasons for this. First, you might decide you made a huge mistake and then you have to remember who you told and retract your statements with lengthy explanations. That’s if the second consideration hasn’t happened… someone blabbed to your boss. You might not get your extra two weeks of pay and you may forfeit other perks, too. At the very least there will probably be a discussion you would rather avoid or your boss will decide you are no longer trustworthy and voila, there goes the reference. Lastly, your co-workers are probably envious that you are able to make a move and they do not want to be reminded of their predicament nor hear about your Grandiose Life Plans ad nauseum. Bottom line: Zip it.
Classy Quitter Tip #2: Timing is everything
The temptation is there to run right into your supervisor’s office and throw down your letter of resignation and bask in your excitement for a new tomorrow. Don’t do that. Well, don’t do that quite yet. An ill-timed resignation often leaves you with a little resentment rain cloud hanging over your head. If you are heading into the busiest time of year for your particular job function and you haven’t put together a keen exit strategy with all of your bases covered, you might want to hold off on that notice until you’ve taken the time to get it all together. If you cannot avoid leaving at an inopportune time, put in the extra effort to get everything you can think of together for those who will be taking over your work. Even if they throw 100% of it in the garbage, you’ll be respected for your diligence.
Lastly, depending on your industry, you may want or need to give more than two weeks’ notice. If you are in a high-level executive job, for instance, a month is more typical. If you are a contract employee (teachers, IT professionals, temporary workers), it is important to finish your contract. This simple act will get you far!
Classy Quitter Tip #3: Don’t pop your top
Most people decide to leave a job because they are not in an ideal situation. Either your boss is a jerk, you have “that co-worker” who is bringing you down, you’re in a field you don’t want to be in. The sky is the limit on reasons to leave. Stewing on why you hate where you are is bad for your health because of the health effects of stress on the body, and it is bad for your temper when you finally get to voice your concerns. Blowing up during your resignation about all the ills he or she has caused you cannot serve a good purpose, even if the little “so and so” deserves it. You don’t know who they know, you don’t know when you will see them again, and you don’t know when they may be asked about your work performance. Keep it brief and keep it professional.
Note: This applies even in exit interviews. Exit interviews are designed to allow soon-to-be-former employees dish on what can be improved, but from my five years in Human Resources I can tell you that management does find out. Unless you left en masse with your co-workers, they will know who said what about whom.
Classy Quitter Tip #4: Watch the water works
Some of us are prone to tear up easier than most. This is challenging in the business world. Whether you are ditching a retail gig or turning the keys in your executive suite, letting the tears flow is a detriment to your credibility. This applies to men of course, but with the additional challenges women have being taken seriously in the business world, water works are a reinforcement of “ruffly panty” status.
If you feel yourself getting ready to cry, excuse yourself and head to the ladies room or outside. If you absolutely cannot avoid crying, look up and to the right. This is a proven technique to cull the tears, though the red vessels dilating on your nose are a sure giveaway. Remember: This will be over soon and it was your choice. This alone should get you through. Save the tears for your going-away party or luncheon if your co-workers throw you one. They are very much appropriate when you tell everyone how much you’ll miss them (even if you won’t miss all of them).
Classy Quitter Tip #5: Be grateful!
You were hired into your job for a reason, whether that be because of “God,” the “Universe,” whatever you call it… You are exactly where you are because you need that time in your life to help you grow. Be grateful that you have grown up, be grateful you have acted with integrity, be grateful to have an opportunity, be grateful to learn, be grateful for friends, be grateful for tomorrow. Practice gratitude by acknowledging what you are grateful for often. It’s easier to move on, especially if you had a bad working situation, if you are grateful for the good and the bad.
About the Author:
Carrie Burgan, a former human resources maven, is a nationally certified massage therapist, natural health enthusiast, and self-proclaimed “lover of life”. She loves showing people new ideas and angles on living a healthy, balanced life. When she is not with clients, she gives lectures on massage and employee wellness, motivation, and natural health topics. Find out more about the ways massage therapy can benefit YOU by visiting http://www.carrieburganmassage.com.