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10 Smart Ways to Quit Your Job Without Feeling Like Judas

Judas-the-Betrayer Judas, the betrayer, the liar, the false one, and a name I can’t say now without thinking about the Lady Gaga video with Murphy MacManus from The Boondock Saints in it. Ju..da..Ju..da..a.as was a man who is said to have sold all that he knew was right in the world, because his overwhelming greed was stronger than his loyalty.

On January 14th I made the decision to leave a company that I’d been with for just shy of four and a half years in order to peruse another opportunity, and that’s when I was hit with a realization.

Quitting can be just as hard as being fired!

When you’re fired you feel powerless. You start to doubt your own self-worth. You feel betrayed, lied to, and passed over. The decision has been made for you. Inside your circle of influence is the choice you have of where you go from here, but there’s no doubt you’re leaving.

When you resign however, you have to want change enough to break from the cycle of your day-to-day life. You have to be willing to experience change because you will it, and that’s not always easy. Fear of change and the fear unknown are some of the most paralyzing fears for most people. It’s likely that after years of spending more active time with co-workers than you do your own family, telling them that you’ve decided to move on to another opportunity can feel a bit like breaking up with someone. Like you’re betraying someone.

The Quarter Life Crisis

The quarter life crisis is a period of life that occurs following adolescence, generally somewhere between your late teens into your early 30s. Living in this period of life can often mean struggling with feeling like you’re, lost, lonely, bored, and confused as you attempt to make the transition to professional adulthood. Five years out of college many young professionals find themselves feeling stuck in a job that they believe has no future, or at least not the future to which they aspire. It’s at this fork in the road that many young professionals leverage their growing level of experience, their schooling, and their passion to jump their career train from the track and begin on a new professional path.

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From experience I can tall you that without a doubt the hardest part of the entire process is actually taking the action of resigning from your current duties. It’s not uncommon to feel a sort of unwarranted loyalty to your current employer, despite your obvious lack of job satisfaction. In the end life is just way too short to continue doing something simply because it feels comfortable, or safe. You know what they say about doing the same thing and expecting a different result? It’s insane…and it is a waste of your time, and your life.

In the process of going through my career change I read a TON, talked with career coaches, friends, family, and the following are the results of those conversations and the story of how I survived my own resignation.

  1. Quick Like a Band-Aid – There are of course a million and one ways to communicate your intentions of resigning, and the actual resignation rarely goes exactly as planned, but straight and to the point is the best way to go. Quick like a band-aid, don’t beat around the bush.
  2. Write a Resignation Letter – Your resignation letter should also be quick and to the point, meaning that it should be limited to one or two paragraphs. Remember to date the letter, and specifically state when your final day of employment will be. Here are a few decent sample resignation letters.
  3. Define Your “Why?” – Understanding why you have made the decision to quit your job, and be as clear as possible. Have you made your decision based on an emotional reaction to stress or some either kind of displeasure, or do you have objective reasons for feeling the need for a departure?
  4. Avoid Let’s Make a Deal – Once you’ve come to the decision to leave your current job, downright refuse to let anything sway you. If you’ve made your decision based on objective reasons that you’ve truly wrestled with, then remember them even in the face negotiations.
  5. Clean Your Work Space – Cleanliness not only exudes professionalism, it demonstrates that you’re an honorable employee who respects the property of your employer. It also shows consideration for the person who’ll be filling your position. It’s never fun to spend your first day at a new job cleaning up after your predecessor. I was raised to treat the property of others with even MORE care than you do for your own property, and an employer’s property is no exception.
  6. Stay Positive – There’s no point to in talking about how under appreciated you felt, comparing how much work you did to your compensation, or recounting all the co-workers how difficult it is to get along with this co-worker or that co-worker.
  7. Write a Goodbye Note – A simple thank you and offer to stay in contact can go a long way to preserve professional relationships that can be mutual beneficial. One thing that I strongly suggest you do is to offer some type of personal contact information, such as a home email address. You’ve probably developed some decent relationships with co-workers, and have likely worked side-by-side with many of them. In an increasingly small world where everything and everyone is connected, you never know what fruits different professional relationships could bring as your career progresses. Perhaps an old co-worker calls you up years later with a job they think would be just perfect for you (and it is), or maybe 5 years from now you’ve started a business and you’re looking for great people who are passionate and perform. What better pool to draw from than those hardworking people that you already know from earlier in your professional career? Keep in touch!
  8. Train Replacements for Success – Take the time and effort to appropriately train your replacement, or those co-workers who will be taking over your responsibilities, offering them every opportunity to be successful. Share any process notes that you may have maintained during your employment, and take a moment to clean your computer.
  9. Clean Up Your Computer – A good way to manage the computer clean up process is to create a single new folder on your desktop. Copy all of the personal photos, emails, music, etc that you want to keep to this new folder. Save this new folder to a jump drive or other such external drive, and send the originals to the recycle bin/trash. Don’t forget to empty your recycle bin to permanently delete the items.
  10. Give Honest Feedback – If you do have an exit interview, constructive feedback can go a long way to provide insight to employers. Just remember to stay positive (#6 above), helpful, and supportive, and you’ll likely find that your employer returns the favor.

So did I miss any?

[callout font_size=”20px” style=”grey”]What are some of your “must dos” based on your experiences with deciding to change employers?[ Tweet this][/callout]

Elie Wiesel is a holocaust survivor and political activist who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. One of my favorite quotes comes from Elie, a man who The Norwegian Nobel Committee called a messenger to mankind, and it is:

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indiffernece. The opposite of beauty is ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith in not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, but indifference between life and death.” 

Do you love your job, or are you indifferent?

Best Regards,

-Matt

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