Before you say ‘I quit’
'A winner never quits; a quitter never wins'.
So goes the inspirational saying which you're, no doubt, familiar with. It's famous, for sure. The question is: Is it true? At best, it's only partly so, if you think about it.
People quit smoking. They quit being alcoholics. They quit deceptive, exploitative religious cults. Some ex-convicts quit their criminal careers. Women quit abusive marriages from time to time. Are these quitters losers?
Obviously not. In fact, there are state-endorsed million-dollar programmes aimed at influencing more people to be quitters in these areas.
It takes courage, determination and high self-esteem to quit, in the examples aforementioned. In other words, those cases prove that it takes a winner to quit. Bear this in mind as you consider the main subject of this column, namely, how to successfully quit a dead-end job.
Many readers of this column have written to me about their intention to quit their jobs. Their reasons have ranged from gross underpayment to abusive bosses; from negative, oppressive work environments to lack of opportunities for upward mobility; and from frustration to boredom.
Some of these persons have expressed the desire to just walk off the job. They are so fed up, they just can't take the job anymore. So, they want to simply quit. That's always a bad idea, however.
Without devising a workable exit strategy, these quitters end up losers instead of winners, like those mentioned before. The key to successfully quitting a dead-end career or job is your preparation before saying "I quit." Here are some crucial tips:
n Explore alternatives to quitting before making a final decision - that should only be a last resort. Such alternatives will depend on your reasons for quitting in the first place.
n Secure another position before handing in your resignation.
n Save at least six months' salary before leaving your current job.
n Give adequate notice before quitting; don't walk off the job.
n Talk to persons already doing your target job.
n Clarify your reasons for wanting to quit the job. Is it low salary? Frustration with your boss or co-workers? Clarification will minimise the potential for later second guessing your reasons.
n Offer your help to your boss, if possible, in finding a replacement, perhaps in the company.
n Don't quit merely out of frustration without securing an offer for your next job.
n Don't allow the quality of your work to fall in anticipation of your exit. That's not only unprofessional, but could hurt you practically should you need a recommendation from your current employer.
n Don't be indiscreet in sharing your plans of quitting with your co-workers who may not communicate accurate information about your plans in divulging your intentions, prematurely.
n Don't share any grouses you have about the company or its management with fellow staff members.
n Don't burn your bridges behind you. Maintain your important relationships and contacts. You may need to go back to them for help; as well, they be able to benefit from new opportunities you can open for them.
n Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of From Problems to Power and co-author of Profile of Excellence. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.