Is It Wrong to Quit a Job?

Consider all of your options before quitting.

Consider all of your options before quitting.

Deciding whether to quit a job is a personal decision, though it’s wise to take into consideration the needs of your spouse and your financial obligations. While there’s nothing inherently “wrong” about quitting, some approaches are better for your career than others.

Your Financial Picture

If your significant other can’t comfortably support the two of you on his own salary, quitting a job without another one lined up is not a smart move. That approach could put you in debt. On the other hand, if you have a job offer that pays just as well or better than your current position, and offers significantly better opportunities for advancement, it might be the best move to make. Take into consideration how leaving your job will affect your finances --positively or negatively-- over the short and long-term before deciding if you’re making a right or wrong decision.

Your Reasons for Quitting

There are many valid reasons for quitting a job. If you’re underpaid, under-utilized, harassed, have unresolved problems with supervisors or colleagues or you simply don’t like the work, quitting might be the best option. However, if you're just having a couple of bad days, dealing with a negative client or getting chewed out by your boss, those are probably not reasons enough to leave a professional position. Examine your reasons for quitting before you do it and think about whether you can fix minor or temporary issues, or learn ways to effectively deal with them.

Your Career Prospects

Think about how quitting your current job will affect your future employment prospects. If you’ve been on the job for less than two years, explaining why you quit to a prospective new employer may be difficult. You might come across as a disloyal employee who job-hops. If you’ve been in a role for a significant amount of time, quitting could mean a loss of seniority and could slow your career momentum. Make a list of pros and cons related to leaving your job before making a final call.

How to Quit Right

If you decide quitting is the best move for you, go about it in a professional manner. Have a new job lined up, or enough money saved to cover your living expenses and job search for several months. Give your supervisor two weeks’ notice and make a plan to complete unfinished projects. Offer to train your replacement, if asked, and resist the urge to tell off managers or co-workers you didn’t like. That approach can come back to hurt you in the future.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images