So you’re thinking of leaving a job but hoping to make some sort of peace before you quit...?
You don’t get along with your colleagues, don’t like or trust your boss.
Maybe the job you were promised was not the job you ended up doing. Maybe the atmosphere is toxic.
If you’re not popular then you probably don’t trust any referral you might get from people in your department.
In the end, you’ve decided that it’s just not worth being there.
But your farewell, if having one at all, would be more like a fare-ill.
Your strategy for leaving should be a form of damage control before you quit
If this is you, congratulations on taking the initiative and deciding to resign.
Sometimes quitting a job on your terms is better than waiting to be pushed out, especially if you’re not popular with the right people.
Sometimes we need to step backwards or sideways in order to go two steps ahead further on.
– so you can escape with dignity and your professional reputation intact.
That way your career path has only shades of grey, rather than black spots that can undermine your career sustainability.
And at least your farewell will be respectable.
If you want to somehow leave on a good note, or resign in better style than your workplace situation allows right now, read on for what three things you need to know and do in the months before you quit your job.
If you are not getting along with people in your department, don’t
bother to try now. Make links with people outside that silo – give
quality service to the real customers of your work. Those people can
also serve as referees for your next job as they can also assess the
quality of your work.
Do this without disparaging your own department, as nobody in the workplace actually cares about your problems unless it’s for idle conversation and gossip.
You need to represent yourself as a mature professional above
petty complaining rather than involving more people in workplace
politics. Your work, no matter how much you hate it, needs to be the
very best standard.
You need to ensure your work speaks for itself, before you quit your job.
This will help to polarize people’s opinions of you in the workplace, where people won’t understand why you aren’t popular in your department, especially if you don’t engage in back-biting yourself.
You will be able to resign gracefully, and there will be people in the company that miss you by the time you have your farewell.
Hopefully before you quit your job, you have by now added more
knowledge to your repertoire of situational leadership: where different
situations require you to behave in different ways, such as when to
avoid issues or be silent, when and how to contribute etc.
In previous jobs you might have been a star performer, however in this job that quality wasn't appreciated.
Or you might have used a particular skill well, although it wasn't needed in this job.
Getting over a bad job requires understanding what you needed to provide the team, and the role you could have played (other than being the star, or other than being the passenger).
Even getting to know what workplace sharks or rats look like is a Positive, and how they think, so you can predict their actions.
You might even think back to earlier in your time there and see how you might have put people off-side.
Other things you might learn are:
You only understand when you are emotionally removed enough to be objective about your situation.
You need to be self-aware and honest about your part in any issues.
All of the above will form part of your analysis when you vet other companies.
At interview time for your next job, you can ask specific business-oriented questions that can give you a feel for how ‘together’ and professional a company is:
If your interviewers seem unsure about these questions or can’t answer them satisfactorily, then this should be a warning bell that the organization risks having similar system problems to your current workplace.
By thinking about what you have learned from your bad work experience
(even better if you do this before you quit), you can remove yourself
emotionally from the situation, even understand why the rats around you
behaved the way they did.
Then you can leverage this knowledge into becoming savvier in your next job, and in life.
Create a plan for what you will do post-job.
Start a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to do, start going to concerts, visit friends or go fishing on the weekend – anything to put a smile on your face while you still have to go to work, before you quit your job.
Look forward to the future, rather than dwell on the past.
Don't bother with the petty concerns of your department, just represent yourself well.
Why? Nothing is more victorious than having a happy life and living well.
It might also improve the energy around you at work.
When you let something go, it no longer has power over you.
When you appear relaxed and happy while others are
back-biting or stressed out, they can be frustrated that they don’t have
a negative effect on you. Remember that back-biters turn on each other
as well. Lift yourself out of the cesspit before you quit your job.
You may even find that after a while, opinion turns and you're in the good books!
Be magnanimous and courteous, but get your hopes too high about your co-workers - you've learned too much!
You might become popular but don’t expect apologies or introspection from others.
Why? We are hard-wired as humans to deny any wrongdoing on our part, and we will often justify or rationalize our actions – in order to psychologically survive.
Our egos will protect us from depression (as a result of realizing our wrong-doing) as it might lead to forms of self-harm. This is a neuro-physiological fact (referenced from Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman), and why step 2 of this article might be hard.
So don't waste energy expecting others to really improve, work on your own fulfillment.
Let go, focus on business at hand before you quit, and live well.
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