How Not to Quit Your Job.
Written by Shikira Saul + Edited by Chelsea DuDeVoire
I am a self-proclaimed job-hopper. I’m not exactly proud, but I’m not quite ashamed. I prefer to (jokingly) call it "character building." I have run the gamut – from service industry to executive assistant; from regimented Monday-through-Fridays, to "What days am I working again… wait, what day is it today?”
While I've successfully managed to navigate through some pretty murky professional waters, I have also been guilty of committing an egregious faux pas that I still cringe at the thought of today, but have learned from nonetheless.
What I'm about to say does not condone frivolous abandonment of duties and responsibilities, but rather supports the idea that sometimes, resigning from a job is a mutually beneficial act. If you are unbearably unhappy in a job— please — do yourself and the company you work for a favor, and quit. Seriously. There is little to gain by remaining in an occupation that depletes you of any (or all) inspiration, passion, or motivation to improve. There are situations in which quitting is justified, and even healthy. There are tactful ways to do so, and there are not.
Having quit two jobs in my life, I can confidently say that I've done so once with conviction and dignity, and the other quite atrociously. The latter still mortifies me to this day. Please view the following text as a cautionary tale against a foolish (and downright embarrassing) departure of employment made by yours truly.
During my Junior year of college, I worked as a sales associate at Dick's Sporting Goods. At this point, I had already been on the cusp of unhappiness with the job for a while, but for reasons that I can now see stemmed exclusively from lack of maturity. On this particular Saturday night, I just desperately *needed* to go out with my friends after my shift, and was looking forward to it greatly. I mean, I deserved to, right?
After clocking in that night at 6p.m., I was immediately faced with five shopping carts that were filled to the brim with “go-backs,” a warehouse that had been destroyed by a typical weekend rush, and a frazzled sales lead who brusquely gave me a rundown of my closing duties. It was implied that I would not be getting out on time, and would therefore probably spend an extra thirty or so minutes at work. God forbid. This, in my horrifically privileged and entitled 20-year-old brain, was absolutely grounds for quitting.
I calmly walked away from my lead and towards the back of the store; past the manager’s office, and into the break room to collect my belongings. While clocking out and proceeding to leave, I heard my manager call my name. I ignored her. She followed me out, continuing to call my name at a rate that grew in speed and volume. As I proceeded, a fellow associate kindly alerted me that I was being summoned. (Thanks so much, dude. 'Preciate ya.) With my eyes on the prize, I strutted past the running, tennis and golf sections, past the stack of shirts I was previously re-folding, past the cashiers at their registers, and into the parking lot. My manager followed suit, resiliently. It wasn't until I was fully stopped at my car that I turned around.
"What do you think you're doing?!"
I looked around, astonished.
Didn't this woman see that I was clearly quitting? (Yes.) Did I really need to say the words "I quit" in order for my actions to have meaning? (Also yes.) She warned me that if I went through with quitting, I would be leaving my fellow coworkers to clean up my mess - with extra work on top of an already slammed schedule. I would never be able to work for the company again.
"Uh, yeah, that's kind of the point," I thought to myself.
Instead, I resorted to muttering an ever so articulate and intelligent, "This is bullshit," while retreating into my car and jetting off into the limitless horizon of freedom.
I cannot truthfully state that the events which transpired that night had Butterfly Effect-like ramifications that I still feel the sting of today, but it definitely wasn't my most shining moment. It was a completely revolting exhibit of selfish laziness, and revealed my enormous lack of respect for others and their time.
Today, it’s clear to me that I did not value my privilege to earn money, nor did I value acquiring an admirable work ethic. Luckily, I have since learned from that night – if not from actual maturation on my part, then from the visible cringes of others when I recount that story in conversations.
If I've learned anything in my relatively short stretch in the workforce, it's that there are times when you should absolutely quit your job, and there are times when you should absolutely shut up, fold some shirts, and do your damn job.
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