Here’s how to quit your job and still be a class act
I have to preface my blogs nowadays because I want to be crystal and abundantly clear about some of my posts – this is one of them.
?Disclaimer: I’m not telling you to quit your job?
The last thing I need is someone blowing up my inbox talking about, “Vannesia, you said…”
However, this is a common topic that I have helped my peers navigate through multiple times.
Research shows that Millennials and Generation Z are less focused on building a legacy with their employer and are more concerned whether or not the values of the workplace match up with their core beliefs. Additionally, both generations are more interested in building parallel and entrepreneurial careers rather than maintaining loyalty to 1 or 2 employers for an entire lifetime.
Whenever there’s a misalignment of personal and professional goals, people tend to jump ship with these two words: I QUIT.
My (soon to be published) thesis was all about generational differences in the workplace. I was sick of Millennials getting a bad reputation for abruptly quitting jobs without first attempting to express their dissatisfaction in a constructive manner.
Buuuuuuut, I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said there was TONS of research that said otherwise. I’ll get into the motivational theories that should be applied toward my fellow Millennial superstars at a later time.
But this one is for the soon-to-be quitters and corporate rebels. I was in your exact shoes almost three years ago.
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If you’re at the point where you are dreading hitting the alarm clock on Monday mornings, check out the tips below before you chuck the deuces:
1. Identify the real problem
Quitting doesn’t always have to be the answer. Have you ever sat down and asked yourself what is the core issue that is really bothering you at work? Writing it down can identify the root problem in order to potentially solve it.
I’m just going to say this and get it out of the way: “They don’t pay me enough” isn’t a justifiable reason to quit a job. Without researching comparable salaries within your field of expertise, location, and company culture; pay scales can be a moveable benchmark.
Use sites like glassdoor.com, indeed.com, and LinkedIn to compare job descriptions and pay scales relative to your field of work. Bearing these details in mind, you may find that your knowledge, skills, and abilities are simply misaligned with the job description. Working outside of your “Zone of Genius” can be exhausting, but it is fixable.
Additionally, it can be less stressful to simply ask your employer to assess your current role than volunteer for an unnecessary job search just because you’re in your feelings.
2. Make a decision and plan your exit strategy
If you’re like, “Nah Vannesia…I’m out,” then great job — you’ve made a decision.
However, just because a decision is made, does not mean you have to leave right away! It took 8 months from when I made the decision to leave my job to when I closed my office door for the last time.
I knew I was no longer a good fit because my skills exceeded my current position — and I had the consistent metrics to prove it. Since there was no sign of opportunity for advancement, but I was still a star player, I had all the time in the world to plan my exit.
When you’re not in a rush, this is what you can do in the meantime:
Ask your employer to help you grow
Look to see if there are any licenses, memberships, or certifications that are relative to your career field that your employer can pay for. Tip: Check on any tuition reimbursement clauses or educational expense agreements in your employee handbook before you ask them to foot the bill on your training.
Ask key teams to help you quantify your input
Do you know there are departments that exist within companies to help benchmark? Check to see if there is a data analysis or CRM team that can run a report for you. Identifying and quantifying your impact on the company can be useful when sprucing up your résumé. Data doesn’t lie. Tip: You should periodically do this anyway, but if you haven’t been tracking yourself/department, be sure not to send off any red flags when you ask for a report to be created. Keep your request general.
Plan to use your vacation time or PTO that may expire
Set a date for your departure
This will help you know internally that there’s an expiration date to your discomfort – yay! Don’t be surprised if your swag switches up once you have a date in mind. You might find yourself coming on time, dressing up, and even having a positive demeanor because you’re finally taking control back.
Gather your “Atta-Girl” emails
Whenever people email you things such as, “You saved the day!” or “This  dollar project would not have been successful with out [your name],” SAVE IT. Start a google doc, forward it to your gmail address, whatever. Your employer may want to convince you to stay and here’s where receipts are important! Being able to professionally throw their praise about you back on them really puts the icing on the negotiation cake. Tip: company emails are typically wiped clean due to intellectual property and confidentiality practices when you leave, so do your best to document in a way that will not get you thrown in jail.
Contact your college career center
Typically universities offer lifetime alumni access to career perks. This includes unlimited cover letter / résumé critiques, access to job databases, and the ability to do mock interviews. Remember, résumé critiquing is a skill. Avoid asking everyone to take a look at yours unless you’re going to pay for it and you have a specific job description to customize it to. It’s a lot better use of your time and resources to get with a career advisor who is skilled in the art of making you the most desirable candidate on the market. Tip: Sites like jobscan.co, use “résumé robots” to give you instant feedback up to 3 times for free.
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3. Give two weeks and be professional
My Mom used to always say, “Leave right – don’t leave where you can’t come back.” I’m not sure if she was talking about home or work, but we’ll use the latter in this case.
The reality is that any industry you’re in is a small industry.
Remember that job I got by sending the CEO a Facebook message? I ended up being pulled from that job to another job before embarking on entrepreneurship. That very same CEO became my first client once MOXIE Nashville was up and running and several people from my last job have thrown me clients.
My Mom said it best: LEAVE RIGHT
When it’s time to announce your departure, schedule a meeting with your supervisor so there’s no surprises. Depending on your relationship, you can share more detail of why you are choosing to depart, but it’s not necessary. Here’s something you can say:
Hey Kim! I know we talked about trying to make [existing issue] work about [time length] ago. Unfortunately the situation hasn’t gotten any better and this area still prevents me from providing the quality of work necessary for my success. I am officially resigning on [date] and also have a written notice here for my files. I appreciate all your help in [existing issue] area.
Same day leaving is a tacky career move – avoid doing that. My personal preference is to give a two week written notice to Human Resources and the supervisor.
When asked to do an exit survey keep it as professional and polished as possible.
Look, if you’re a high performer (which I believe that you are because you’re here!), believe that your skills are transferable and that you are a hot commodity. It’s a lot less costly for employers to keep you than to train someone else. There’s no rush to quit (other than the attempt to relieve your internal pressure).
Take your time to be strategic.
As the saying goes, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Always Speak Life,
[Tweet “I just finished reading @vannesiadarby’s latest blog. Read it before you quit your job”]
Need to level up professionally? Get helpful tips from powerhouse Executive Coach and Founder of The Coaching Factory, Chelsea C. Hayes, SPHR