How to Quit Your Job With Grace and Integrity
Ready to quit?
We’ve all seen dramatic scenes on TV or in movies where the lead character shouts, “I quit!” and storms out with triumphant music playing in the background, sometimes to the cheers of their co-workers. In real life, though, this kind of dramatic display is almost never justified, and certainly not recommended.
What To Do
Whether you’re leaving to take a new job, go back to school, spend more time with family, or for some other reason, take care to do so with grace and integrity. Remember that you serve as an ambassador of Christ in the workplace. How you handle leaving says just as much (and maybe more) about your character and your faith as the way you conducted yourself on the job.
Remember that you are serving your current employer first, so be sure to be totally dedicated until your last day. This can be harder than it sounds, especially if you are excited about leaving. But it’s a question of integrity. Taking it easy during your last week at work might seem like a small thing, but Luke 16:10 reminds us that “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” You’ve made a commitment to work for your current employer right up through that last day, and that’s what you must do. Not just because it’s good to keep your word, but because it honors God.
Leave your current employer better off than when you arrived. Strive to provide your company with a as much value as you can offer, and if appropriate, you should have a successor ready to move into your role when you leave. Depending on your position, you might not be choosing your own successor, but you can commit to train your replacement in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.
What Not To Do
Don’t use the resignation to negotiate your current compensation. If you’ve reached the point where you have prayed about your decision and feel that God has called you to the next job, role, or stage of life, then that’s probably what you should do. If you use a competing offer or the threat of resignation merely to strengthen your bargaining position, you might succeed in getting more money, but you won’t win the respect of your boss or coworkers. And that’s the kind of thing they’ll remember about you the next time you mention going to bible study or church.
If you believe that your current compensation is below market, and especially if you’ve had this confirmed by an outside job offer, you can go to your boss and discuss the situation honestly without using the offer to negotiate. It can be a delicate balance, but you won’t go wrong as long as you strive to conduct yourself with integrity. If your boss does not address your compensation concerns and it’s important enough to you, then go forward in talking with the other company.
When a valued employee offers their resignation, a company might put together an offer to try to keep them on. If this happens to you, it’s not wrong to reconsider, especially if the offer addresses some or all of the reasons you may be leaving. But if everything else is the same and money isn’t the driver, don’t let increased compensation change your mind.
A Graceful Exit
Overall, strive to leave on a positive note. Even if you dislike certain things (or everything!) about your current company, now is not the appropriate time to lodge complaints. Instead, focus on the positives as much as possible. Talk about your new role, stage of life, etc. to explain why it is the right step for you, rather than focusing any dissatisfaction. It can be a tempting time to air all of your grievances, especially among sympathetic coworkers, but you’ll regret leaving on a bitter note.
Have you left a job recently? Are there any things you wish you’d handled differently?
Photo cc by -Ben Thompson on Flickr.