Maybe you’re in a situation like that right now. If you are it’s important that you avoid quitting in a way that you will regret later. As much as we may not want to hear it when we are all fired up and ready to quit a job, the saying “never burn your bridges”, are the truest words ever spoken when it comes to leaving an employer.
There are a number of reasons why you will be better off going out quietly.
Protecting your reputation
In the career world you’re only as good as your reputation. Part of that reputation is built on how will you handle stressful situations, and that would include experiences with bad previous employers. Even if you had an otherwise positive experience with a given employer, how your exit was carried out will have a disproportionate effect on what people remember about your tenure.
If your departure was smooth and considerate – especially if it was a tense situation – you will likely be remembered as a class act. Even those opposed you at the time you left will have at least some measure of respect for you.
If however your departure was marked by ugliness, you may have caused even those who otherwise respect you to think less of you.
Careers run on reputations, and they are well worth protecting even when the circumstances seem to warrant otherwise.
You may need a reference
Any job that you hold will occupy a space on your resume. You will need references in order to prove both your time on the job and the quality of your work. A heated departure could make references for that particular job hard to come by.
While it’s probably okay to have a “bad job” at some time during your career, you don’t want that job to be either recent, or a significant experience. Having good references from a bad job experience is a way to neutralize the negativity that you faced when you were there. Leaving a job in conflict is a way to lose what might otherwise have been positive references.
It really is a small world
Most career fields are smaller and more tightly knit than we realize. This is especially true in local job markets. Not only is the field tightly net, but there are also a limited number of potential employers. That should provide incentive for you to maintain positive relationships with as many people and employers in the field as possible.
As is often the case, both employees and managers tend to move from one employer to the next. It’s entirely possible that the person you insult while quitting one company could show up at the next one you work for. That could turn future jobs into uncomfortable situations.
Any time you are tempted to quit a job in anger always step back and consider the very real possibility that you will be facing at least some of the same people in a future job situation.
Hurting future job an business prospects
Let’s spend a little more time considering the limited number of employers in the local area that we touched on in the last section. There may be a time in the future when you will face a layoff during a tough job market. At that time, you will be considering employment at all potential employers in the local area.
If there are eight potential employers in your area, but you had a bad fallout with one of them when you left, your list goes down to seven. This will be a problem even if you’re looking for contract work, which is a path that many pursue during periods of unemployment.
You may need to come back
One thing most people give little thought to when quitting in anger is the possibility that they may one day need to return to the employer they quit on less than favorable terms. It may not be a job loss that forces it, but rather the move of an influential friend to the company potentially creating an opportunity for them. But a job may not be available because some of the higher ups remember the inglorious exit.
No matter how bad a job situation may be, we always need to remember that we are professionals working in a professional environment, and proceed accordingly. No, our superiors and co-workers may not always reflect professionalism, but we need to even if they don’t.
We need to keep positive relations with any and all employers in our career orbits. We can never know if we will need references from some of the people who were part of our bad job experience, or even to return to that employer. By keeping your cool, you keep your options open.
Have you ever quit a bad job in anger then lived to regret it?