Ready to quit? Think twice before resigning
Sometimes resigning should be your last resort. (Shutterstock)
Like many people, I had a phase in my life when walking out of a job in protest seemed like a way to make a statement. Luckily, this phase wasn’t long and didn’t cause much damage to my career.
I still totally get it that sometimes walking out is the only way possible to end an unpleasant work situation that can’t be worked out anymore. But as far as making a statement, anyone can tell you that this statement is often short-lived and doesn’t really communicate as much power as quitters think.
If you’re in a situation where you feel that quitting is the best strategy, think again. In most cases, quitting should be your absolutely last resort. Consider all of the following options first.
Problems are often between employees and their supervisors. In this situation, you may feel that even if you go up the food chain to seek help, that won’t really change the situation because you still will have to deal with your supervisor on a daily basis. And if you do complain, the situation could even get worse.
You’re probably right to some extent. But going up isn’t the only option. You also have a choice of going in a parallel direction to either the human resource department or coworkers who may be able to mediate. If you’re willing to quit to end your work troubles, what harm this attempt can cause?
In every company, there are specialists who have ways to deal with conflicts, settle disputes, and control future consequences. If you take the right channels and approach these specialists, you probably can get your problems sorted out, and get a better situation in the future. And if the problems are not sorted out, for whatever reason, you at least have documented the issues and saved yourself from any misunderstanding in the present or in the future.
Office life is complex. Sometimes, dealing with problems is just part of the job. If you’re working in a workplace where things are intense, people are hostile and it is hard to sort out issues in a civil way, just tough it until you find something else.
Continuing in this work environment doesn’t mean that you participate actively in the office politics, and become part of it. Instead, you should focus on your job, try to pick your battles and decide on your next step. If that step doesn’t include fixing what’s wrong with your company’s culture, get working on finding your next job.
Work it out
Instead of getting all wrapped up in office politics, pointing fingers and fuelling arguments, step back and think about how things can work better for you if you stay. This could be by moving to a different department, avoiding particular people or even changing your job within the company. Looking into these opportunities can be more productive than jumping ship.
In addition, when you figure out how things can be worked out, you will be able to use this experience to sort out future problems. Having said that, be sure that you’re pushing the limits too much. In many cases, the employer is willing to accommodate one request to retain a quality employee. But if this employee becomes a pain, the requests may be less than welcome.
That is why try to know how to manage your office life with a variety of tactics — from ignoring trouble to using negotiation — and resort to formal agreements and fixes when they are only necessary.
Fighting for a job that you’d leave anyway for a few months may be futile. But quitting at once may also bring serious damage to your reference and record. So if you calmly think that quitting is the better choice, do it right. Give a proper notice as mandated by your contract, work hard as usual through this notice period and depart gracefully.
The only exception to this rule of thumb is when you’re trying to avoid some major trouble — like fraud, legal issues, etc. In this case, pack and get out of there as soon as you can. And make sure you have documentation that can help you clear your name if the company’s troubles come to haunt you later.
To go or not to go
Consider alternatives to quitting first
Get others and HR to help
Keep resigning as last resort
Run in case of ethical or legal issues
By Rania Oteify
Rania Oteify, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.