The 31st March is “Quit Your Crappy Job” Day – who knew there was such a thing, but then again why should we be surprised? I’m sure that we can all name at least one of our close circle of friends who detests their job and are too stuck to know what they really want to do or, if they know the answer to that question, have the courage to quit their “crappy job”.
I was speaking with a Career Coaching client about this only last week. They wanted to leave their job and I suggested that rather than jumping out of a plane and building their parachute on the way down, they should spend time constructing their parachute whilst on the ground so that this will provide a scenic view as they leave the plane and a soft landing when they reach the bottom! In other words focussing on the process before you quit.
Be clear on why you want to leave
This can be something as simple as drawing 2 columns on a piece of paper, one headed “Reasons to Stay”, the other “Reasons to Leave”. Keep adding to this over a period of time, as ideas come into your head. Getting your thoughts out of your head and into words on a page can add a different perspective to your predicament.
Consider the “Leave” column, is there anything on there that is within your power to change? Talk through this list with a friend, confidante or coach. They would see this through a different set of eyes and could give you an alternative view – on both staying as well as leaving.
“Measure twice and cut once”
The carpenters’ rule of “Measure twice and cut once” is a great analogy here, make sure that you are not just just having a bad day or are getting yourself into a vicious cycle of despair but that you are really ready for change.
Now you have measured twice, here is your opportunity to cut . . .
Giving Your Notice
It is essential that you do this in a professional manner as you never know when you will cross paths with your colleagues (or your boss!) again.
Those of us who are a certain age will remember Phil Collins famously splitting up from his wife via fax (I mean, who actually uses a fax anymore!), do the decent thing and share the news face to face.
Have compassion for your boss, you have just created work for them as now, they need to divert their attention from their current projects to filling your vacancy. If they are recruited in time, why not offer to train your replacement?
If you are in sales, you will probably be asked to leave immediately and placed on garden leave. If not, work your notice with grace – after all, this is part of your contract and will help to ease the transition of you out of the business, making it easier for someone to come and take your place.
Don’t trash anyone – you may need a reference from your former employer, you may even become a supplier at some point.
Create Your Story
What will you say to your boss about your reason for leaving?
As this is a business decision, make this as straightforward, gracious and professional as you possibly can. Your boss may want you to agree a story that you share with the rest of the team – this doesn’t need to be a fairy tale, just one that enables everyone to move on with dignity.
Jeff Bezos said that “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room”. Behave in such a way that your colleagues will be saying “I’ll miss them”, not “I can’t wait for them to go”.
The Exit Interview
If your organisation holds exit interviews, take the opportunity to share what works and what would be improved in the business. Plan what you are going to say, act in a professional and business like manner. If this is a real struggle, think of yourself as a consultant presenting your findings and making recommendations for improvements.
If you can afford to take a break, do so, isn’t that why you “quit your crappy job” in the first place?
Now that you have jumped out of the plane with the parachute that you have already made, you can float back down to earth and enjoy the view.