How to Quit a Lousy Job

Leave your lousy job behind -- for good.
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While you may sit in your cubicle daydreaming of standing up, tossing your half-finished quarterly report in the air and shouting in jubilation: “Take this job and shove it!” this flashy method of resigning is not the best way to quit a job -- even a lousy one. After you quit, this job will become a ghost, haunting your resume and potentially scaring off future employers if you don’t play your cards right. To reduce the effect this job might have on your employment future, leave the flashy shows to the Vegas magicians and quit with care.

    Step 1

    Select an appropriate time. Your boss might not give you a solid reference, and if you decide to leave mid-project, she might speak of nothing but your faults should a potential future employer call. Wait for a lull between two projects to make your exit as polite as possible.

    Step 2

    Resign face-to-face or in writing. Whatever medium you select, keep the message clear and to the point: You are quitting. Do not use this official resignation as a time to throw barbs, saying, for example, “I am quitting because I hate it here so much. You are all so mean. I want to leave here so bad.” If you do, you seem like a pouty child. Instead, thank them for the opportunity to work with them and tell them that you will be willing to put in two more weeks of work before departing. This may be the last official thing you say to this employer. Make this final impression positive.

    Step 3

    Provide polite reasons for quitting when asked. As you finish your last few days at work, likely counting the hours, co-workers may inquire as to why you are leaving. Instead of saying what you want to say -- “Why am I leaving? Why aren’t you leaving? That’s the real question! This job sucks!” -- provide a more diplomatic response, suggests Kate Rafferty, Director of HR for Basho Technologies in a 2012 "Boston Globe" article. State that you are leaving for a better opportunity or something similar. This diplomacy makes you look classy and reduces the likelihood that you offend your soon-to-be-former employer.

    Step 4

    Maintain the connections you have built. "Forbes" contributor J. Maureen Henderson playfully reminds those leaving jobs to “hide the matches.” Even if you detest someone with whom you have shared a workspace, telling him off as you exit is never a good idea. You never know when your paths may cross again. Instead of giving in to your desires to cut all ties, exit cordially and keep your future options open.

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