The risk in saying 'I quit' too early

By Robert Half on 9 January 2016

When you’re feeling frustrated at work, it’s tempting to throw in the towel and walk out the door.

But before you say 'I quit', take a deep breath and think about whether you’re making the right decision.

Here are 3 things you should consider before quitting your job too early.

1. The risk of regret

There could be many things leading to your frustration right now, and it’s easy to blame work over anything else and just say 'I quit'. But one of the risks you may encounter if you take action too soon is the regret of not considering your situation and circumstances properly into account.

To help you find out if your job is the real problem, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your situation really so bad?
  • What exactly do you dislike?
  • What are the things that are going wrong?
  • What are the positive aspects of the job?
  • Do the positives outweigh the issues, or vice versa?
  • Is there an alternate role with your current employer that you could aim towards?

Once you’ve identified whether or not your job is the main cause of your unhappiness, you can start to look for a solution. If you’re experiencing problems at work, there may be some ways to overcome them. For example, you could speak to your manager about making a few changes to your job description or hours, or you could chat to a colleague about resolving some of the problems within your team.

If you work through all of these questions and still feel your job is the problem and the issues can’t be solved, then you can go about quitting your job confidently, knowing you’ve considered all the options.

2. The risk of stalling your career

Before quitting your job, you need a plan for what you’ll do next – after all, you still need a steady source of income and to continue the momentum of your career. It's also important to avoid job hopping, as it can present as unstable behaviour on your resume if you frequently make hasty decisions to quit. This is why making a plan for your future career is important at this stage.

Think carefully though before you step into the next role, because finding a better job – one that doesn’t have similar issues as you’re currently experiencing – may take longer than you think.

To use this next step wisely, think through all your options and plan before you quit:

  • Have you done your research into the current job market? Looking at what is currently available in your industry and evaluating if there is a demand for your skills and profession will help you make a clear decision
  • Can you use this time to prepare for your next job? For example, if you want to move from a front-line job to a team leader’s position, you could begin a short course in leadership skills to widen your knowledge and add to your resume
  • Lining up your next job is a practical step to take before handing in your resignation. It can reduce any risk revolving around job security after you leave your current employer, making the whole process less stressful

3. The risk of burning bridges

Burning bridges is one of the potential risks you may encounter during the process of quitting your job, so it’s important you approach this stage professionally. When emotions are high and there is tension between you and your manager, conflict may arise if you quit before thinking about the consequences.

The reason why this stage is so important is because you never know when paths may cross in the future. You may depend on your former manager for a reference later down the track in your career. So take a deep breath and work out some professional solutions for potential scenarios.

To quit your job in a way that will leave the doors open, consider the following:

  • Think about how you will hand in your resignation letter. There are obvious steps you want to avoid, such as throwing it down on your manager’s table and waltzing off. Instead, stay calm and well measured
  • Ensure you put your best foot forward by planning what you can do during the transition phase to handover your work in an amicable fashion. Besides giving your full notice period, being ready for this phase of leaving your job is a professional way to ensure that your resign on good terms

Be prepared when saying “I quit”

Considering all your options before coming to a decision about quitting your job will give you the peace of mind that you have done everything in your power to make it work.

Giving yourself the confidence that you have acted professionally will make transitioning to the next stage of you career much easier.

More From the Blog...