How to Quit a Job

Quitting a job is probably one of the most difficult tasks I have ever had to do. I feel so guilty and nervous. It normally takes me at least a few weeks to get up the nerve to actually do it. I always feel like I am doing it wrong. I recently quit the job I had for 6 months, and it made me wonder, is there a correct way to quit a job?

My most recent job was a pretty great gig. I am a licensed insurance salesperson and was selling insurance with a very prominent insurance firm. The pay was above average for a college student’s part time job, my boss and I really got along, and I was making connections and relationships with customers. So you may be thinking, why did I quit?

Easy: school. I was spending too much time at the office and was getting overloaded with schoolwork I was unable to complete in my free time as well as doing other activities to keep me well-rounded and sane. My health started to become impacted from my stress levels. I had been considering quitting for nearly a month, but every time I tried to do it, I just didn’t. I would even print out a new resignation letter every couple of times I went in to the office with that day’s date to keep it current, then wouldn’t hand it to my boss. It was getting to be even more overwhelming knowing I was going to quit and continuing to pretend that everything was okay.

I knew the correct way I should do it. I should go into work, sit down with my manager first thing when I get in, hand her the letter and explain my reasons for quitting, but also give her the two weeks of notice to be courteous—allowing her time to find a replacement. I knew all of this, but quitting is just NOT that easy for someone like me. I like to please people and feel that I owe them when I need to be looking out for myself sometimes. I finally got the guts to quit, and it went down a little differently than expected.

I texted my boss on a day I was not working and asked if I could come in to chat with her. I figured sending this text would open the doorway to the discussion, and it was a lot easier for me to send a text, which I couldn’t take back. This is a bit informal and not how I think about quitting, but it was the easiest way for me to begin the conversation, as I had been so nervous about it for weeks. My boss responded back to me that she would be in meetings all day and would not be available until Monday. I responded that I could wait until Monday. She then responded back to me, “Do you want to quit?” My jaw dropped. I never imagined myself quitting a job via text message. I did not want to lie to her, so I honestly responded stating that yes, I do want to quit and would give her two weeks to continue working until she found a replacement. I also responded how terrible I felt quitting via text, but her response surprised me. She told me it was okay and I need to do what is best for me and that I was handling it in a professional way by at least giving her two weeks.

SO what did I learn from this incidence? I learned there is NOT a textbook way to quit a job-it is always difficult. Every situation is different, and sometimes the information just needs to be out in the open no matter how you are able to communicate. Of course, I ALWAYS believe in giving two weeks notice rather than quitting on the spot so I do not burn any bridges, but the conversation really has no real form to it. Quitting is an awkward experience and never feels good to do, but the relief I felt after being honest with my boss was unbeatable. I felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could finally breathe easy again.

The moral of this story is if you are the kind of person I am and have a very difficult time beginning the conversation face to face, start it somehow! I would still recommend discussing it face to face, but if there does not seem to be an opportunity to do so for a while, get your thoughts and feelings out so you do not feel so anxious about it. It is okay to do things differently than the “expected” way and that can often turn out a lot better than you may expect.

-Lauren Thompson

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