Moving On? 5 Things NOT To Do When You Quit

properly quit your jobQuitting a job -- quitting well, at least -- can be hard work. There are plenty of missteps you can make that can end up hurting your career in the long term. Check out our list of things to avoid when breaking up with your boss.

1. Don't Pull a Johnny Paycheck

It's been the subject of countless daydreams: quitting your job. You rise from your second-rate, back-breaking desk chair. You stride through the maze of cubicles, eyes forward, deftly deflecting queries and attempts at conversation from your colleagues. ("Forget the expense report, Cathy." "No, Bill, I don't have an opinion on the president's jobs plan.") And then you reach the door. It's closed. No knocking today. You grasp the knob. Twist. Throw open the door. Finally, eye-to-eye with your nemesis, you deliver your attack: "Take this job and shove it!" (Yes ... we know, Mr. Paycheck didn't write the song. But he made it a hit.)

Pretty sweet, huh? Yeah. But don't do it.

Instead: You must suppress the rage, stifle the snark, subdue the frustration. Smile. Be respectful. Give notice. Offer to help in the transition. It is, as the animatronic children at Disneyland say, a small world, after all. People talk -- about you. And unless you've recently come into several million dollars and plan on leaving the workforce forever, a less-than-conciliatory exit can come back to bite you later in your career.

2. Don't Annoy Your Coworkers

You're beginning to feel like an inmate -- imprisoned unjustly, of course -- with a release date just around the corner. All those people you work with, however, are still doing hard time -- with no end in sight. Don't talk about all the great stuff you'll be doing once you're on the outside.

Instead: Leaving on good terms with your colleagues is just as important as leaving on good terms with your boss. Don't badmouth the company you're leaving, and don't brag about that great new company you're moving to. Answer questions honestly. But bear in mind that these people (some of whom you may actually like) are still stuck in the situation that you're fleeing. You want them to have happy memories of you. Who knows? You may need one of them as a reference sometime, or even end up working with them again in the future.

3. Don't Act Like a Short-Timer

You've given notice. See that down there, at the end of the tunnel? It's light. Two more weeks and it's on to bigger and better things for you (a new and happier job, we hope). This can be a difficult time. While your body is there at your desk, your mind is far, far away. A little slacking is expected. Anyway, what are they going to do about it?

Wrong attitude.

Instead: Do your best to fend off short-timer syndrome. No matter how you feel about the company or your boss, you want to leave on a high note -- be a pro to the end. In your final days, you should strive to work at the same level that you have during your entire tenure at the company. People aren't necessarily going to remember that you put in back-to-back 18-hour days to finish a crucial, last-minute project two years ago. Colleagues -- potential references and networking partners -- will remember, however, that you came in late, slacked off, and left early before abandoning them forever. You can never make another last impression.

4. Don't Get Lured Back

You have a new job lined up, or you've squirreled away enough money to sustain yourself for a job search. (We advise the latter). Your mind is made up. You're out of there. So long. Sayonara. See you later. And, then, they hit you with a counteroffer to get you to stay. More money, more vacation, better benefits, promises that "things will get better next quarter."

Tempting. But don't take it!

Instead: The moment you gave notice, your relationship with your boss morphed into something that resembles the relationship between an estranged couple. Now your spurned boss, whatever his motives, has entered a bargaining phase that often accompanies a breakup. (I can change!). But things won't get better; likely they'll get worse. You've demonstrated your unhappiness and lack of loyalty by accepting a new job (though some say that employer/employee loyalty is, in fact, long dead). Stick to your plan. Just thank your boss for the consideration and inform him that you'll still be moving on. Many sources say that most people who accept a counteroffer end up leaving within six months, anyway.

5. Don't Hold a Grudge

And ... you're outta there. You cleared your desk of personal stuff, surrendered your iPhone and laptop, said your goodbyes and crossed that threshold for the last time. You strolled -- maybe even swaggered -- through the parking lot, fired up the car and headed off toward the horizon. Congratulations. You have made a successful exit. Finally, you can start trashing your former company, boss and colleagues to anyone who will listen.


Instead: Let the past be the past. Don't go around bad-mouthing your former employer, especially not to a new or prospective employer (or through social media). You'll come off as vindictive -- and maybe even a bit obsessive. It's not healthy for your career or your psyche. And you never know when you'll run into these people again.

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So you don't want to have a marching band out in the hallway as one kid did when he quit his hotel job where they treat you like slaves and are recognitionless? Well, it depends. Are you going to another field of work? Then, yes, play as loud as you can. It will feel good for abou 12 hours. If you are staying in the same field, I guarantee you will run across the same folks you worked with years ago either trying to get a job with you or vice-versa. It is amazing. I have been on the other end of, "hell no! you definitely don't want to hire that person!" when HR says a candidate listed you as a prior collegue. And I've driven the bus as I left which ,I don't regret but, as I distanced myself from the employer, realized who meaningless it really was and what little good it actually did for me. Just imagine what you'd like to do and do the opposite. Be professional. Thank them for the opportunity. Truthfully, the only folks we want to quit, never do, and the ones we cant wait to leave are always on time, doing the minimaly acceptable daily job to just get by and stay. "Yes Siiirr, "Yes Siiir. No problem...I'll take all day to get it done but I'll do it. And, btw, will be taking 15 bathroom breaks and 6 smoke breaks today along with my four course meal lunch! The American Dream

October 31 2011 at 2:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes I agree with this 100%. A few years ago I took my Vacation and when I returned, I gave my notice which they did not expect. A few days later the boss asked me if I would do the company a favor and stay on for one more month in order to help them out during the summer months. I just smiled and said that I had plans I could not change. I knew this was a bad time for them and this gave me great satisfaction as I smiled and continued to work the last two weeks. Everyone can find their own way of getting even instead of causing a conflict with bad feelings. Plan it out and have fun with it because revenge can be rewarding!

October 30 2011 at 11:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


October 30 2011 at 11:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When you know your boss is dating crack ****** and his ex-wife is a family member of yours, that's the best time to start looking for another job." How can you really respect someone like that... I later found out he was touching some of his male employees and one guy even took him to court and won."

October 30 2011 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tomorrow is the last day of my two-week notice. I'm not only holding a grudge and having short-timer syndrome, but I would still LOVE to tell "her" to take this job and shove it (mostly just the shove it part). She also had the audacity to ask if I had something else lined up already. I felt like saying "none of your damn business," but I just said yes instead. There is NO amount of money that would lure me back.

October 30 2011 at 10:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I wanted to piss on my bosses desk when I quit, but I just didn't have the urge to pee at the time. I'll be sure to drink lots of water the next time I quit or get fired.

October 30 2011 at 9:21 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Lady Ninja

Yeah but what happens when the Boss has an affair with an associate in the office and the associate attempts to make your life a living hell because you know?

October 30 2011 at 9:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lady Ninja's comment

You take a compromising picture of them, print it and hang it in the breakroom.

October 30 2011 at 9:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Maryann's comment

Break room? Post it on the Internet!

October 30 2011 at 10:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

THere is always advice for the people who HAVE bosses or who are the ones going on interviews. Part of the reason things are so bad right now is because BOSSES and INTERVIEWERS are taking advantage of this economy and are treating their workers like $h-t. Ever think of that?? It is absolutely ridiculous that people have to be cautious and polite if they want to leave a terrible job situation. What happens to a boss that treats their employees like crap? Nothing. Go write an article on that.

October 30 2011 at 8:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I play by the same rules as the employers do. If they can fire someone at 4 PM on Thursday without any notice, then I can (and have done) use all my vacation time, then call in sick until all my sick time is exhausted, show up for late for work on my first day back from being 'sick' and tell them that I quit. I treat people and companies the way they treat me and others. It's only fair.

October 30 2011 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In front of several others, I told my boss, Todd Lewis, that he was a pr*ck. All of them thought the same but never had the nerve to tell him. Shortly after I quit, I called the Human Affairs Commission and OSHA to report many safety violations as well as employment violations. I also let everyone know that my boss was having an affair with his assistant, both of whom were married. I even called each of their spouses to tell them of the affair. I then called the FBI to inform them that I discovered my boss (who was the company controller) had embezzled more than $100,000.00 from the company by creating several phony companies that were billing the company I used to work for.

You know what? I feel really good about what I did when I left the company. Best of all, I never had a repercussion. I'm glad I did it.

October 30 2011 at 8:32 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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