Is your job terrible? Do you feel undervalued or stressed out or overworked? How much do you depend on that income? How badly do you want out? Here’s how to quit your job (and how that might actually make your job better).
Want to Quit Your Job?
BACKGROUND: I was hired nearly seven years ago by a behavioral economics company to be a contractor. I was hired to do research for the company and help write white papers when needed. Back in those days, the company had less than 30 employees. Today, the company is much larger. It has 3 offices and over 200 employees. My boss is awesome and has always been an advocate for my work and my flexibility (and gave me a 33% raise just over a year ago). The company, however, has had some growing pains. For the past 6 months, they’ve been adding hierarchy where there hasn’t been any.
Over the past six months, with the restructuring, several things have happened. Several people around the office have decided I’m under them in the hierarchy and have either decided to ignore my work or not consult with me in the first place. With changes in H.R., my paycheck was forgotten for three pay periods in a row! Then, in December, someone in the office accused me of dishonest business practices via email (and then failed to apologize or even respond when I responded with proof against the accusations). Needless to say, the past six months haven’t been great for work.
I have the benefit of primarily being a stay-at-home mom with our family relying on Mr. T’s income. My job brought in about $20,000 last year, so it’s not nothing, but we could live without it. I originally took the job because I loved the work. We didn’t need the money and I didn’t plan to work many hours, but I am a researcher. It’s what I do. And I love it.
Are you Better Off Without Your Job?
After taking some time off work for the holidays and our trip to California, I was ready to quit. I’m busy enough with 3 kids and even though we’re trying to reach Financial Independence, I’m a big proponent of enjoying the present. Even though I still love the work, I hated the job, and I was ready to quit the job and give up the income.
DISCLAIMER: You can’t threaten to quit your job if you’re not actually prepared to quit the job. I was completely prepared for my boss to say “I’m sorry to hear that. I wish you all the best.” And that would be that.
I assessed my life, my strengths, and my possibilities. I had a great gig going being able to do research (which I love) and get paid hourly to do so (with the ability to just work a few more hours if I wanted a few more bucks), but the situation had grown toxic. I love freelance research and writing work. But I hate finding clients. I’m terrible at pitching myself. Even so, I was ready to face trying to pitch myself rather than keep dealing with disrespect at work. I made sure I had a backup plan.
How To Quit Your Job
When I returned from vacation, I already had a regroup meeting set up with my boss (over the phone, of course, since I work almost entirely remotely). Before he could start off with his usual discourse of updating me on where projects ended up in my absence and where I could pitch in, I launched into something similar to the following speech:
“I’ve been with the company for nearly seven years. I have loved the work and the flexibility it has provided for me and for my family. You know my skillset and I know what I’m good at, and over the past six months, I don’t feel like those skills are being utilized effectively. In the past six weeks alone, I’ve been accused of dishonesty, have had three paychecks forgotten, and have been treated like an inferior by several people in the company with whom I have worked well in the past. I think I am a relic of a previous version of the company and I no longer feel like I fit. The time has come for me to be done.”
How My Job Improved
Again, I assumed my boss would politely thank me for my service and I would be done. Instead, he thanked me for expressing my honest concerns, told me not to quit quite yet, and said we should talk more about it later in the week. I hung up and felt like I failed. I was trying to quit! Why didn’t I?
Before I talked to my boss again three days later, the following things happened:
- I had the previous 3 paychecks over-nighted to me.
- The CFO called me and apologized for a solid 20 minutes about the payroll mix-up.
- I received an apology email from the guy that accused me of dishonesty.
- I was invited to join work meetings on 4 big projects around the office.
- Another co-worker, that had previously avoided working with me, called me and gushed about how much she valued my work and how I had been officially included in the group of “senior research directors” in the office (putting me at the top of the hierarchy and giving me an official title for the first time).
It was immediately clear that my boss had my back. He effectively walked around the office yelling at everyone until things were made right. These changes were welcomed, but I was still ready to quit. These changes only managed to fix things that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. I don’t care about titles or heirarchy. I just want to do my job, be respected in doing so, and maintain the flexibility to be a stay-at-home-mom and work when it’s convenient.
I promised my boss I would give it some time before making a decision.
Since I quit six weeks ago:
- I’ve been able to get back to doing what I do well.
- I’ve been included in the communications at a higher level that allows me to insert myself where I can be most useful.
- I’ve been working the same amount of hours as before, but have had to deal with less politics and spend more time actually being involved.
- I’ve been able to maintain the flexible schedule I had before.
- The same guy that accused me of being dishonest in December sent an email telling me that I “have a gift for finding, analyzing, and summarizing large amounts of research and data.”
- All of my paychecks have been sent via UPS 2-day mail.