What You Need To Know Before Quitting A Job

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

When you’re ready to move on from a job, informing your boss you’re quitting or resigning can be a scary moment for many. Those conversations often cause nervousness and anxiety for us. Before you give notice to your employer, be sure you understand how it may impact you.

Don’t Quit On Impulse

Work can be frustrating for many people and muttering under our breath “I quit” is very different from actually doing so. Make sure your decision to quit your job is well thought out. Really consider how quitting will impact your quality of life. If you have another opportunity being offered to you, be sure it is a formal and confirmed offer. There’s nothing worse than quitting a job to have the other job fall through.

If you really can’t stand your job, you may decide to quit without having another position lined up. When that’s the case, expect potential future employers to ask you why you left your job without another opportunity secured. You may benefit from focusing on your job search and letting potential employers know that was the intention. If at all possible, try to stay in a job until the next one has been secured. It’s an easier transition for you to make.

Determine How Past Resignations Were Handled

If you’ve been with an organization for some time, you may have an idea how they react to employee resignations. While most employers handle resignations well, it’s not unheard of to hear of a boss who takes it as a personal insult when an employee quits. When people take resignations personally, there’s a greater risk of a tense work environment during those last couple of weeks.

If you’re not sure how your company has reacted to resignations in the past, try to discreetly talk to colleagues about the process. If your company has a standard policy handbook, make sure you’ve read any material regarding voluntary terminations and what to expect.

Know That You May Not Work Out Your Notice

Depending on what your role is, don’t be surprised if you give notice and are informed there’s no need to work out your two weeks. Some positions handle sensitive information and companies would prefer to end employment and company access the moment an official resignation is given. If this occurs, companies should still be paying you through your notice period to avoid the termination appearing as a lay off rather than a resignation.

Know Where You Stand On Counter Offers

If you’re a highly valued employee, your company may attempt to counter the new offer you have with a higher salary, a promotional title, better schedule, etc. Give serious thought before handing in your notice to how you plan on handling any potential counter offers. It may be that you have a certain number of demands that need to be met to stay. It may also be that you’re ready to move on no matter what your company offers you.

Expect To Train A Replacement

Don’t be surprised or offended if your organization expects you to spend your last few weeks training another staff member on your job duties. It’s important for companies to have back up plans to ensure the work doesn’t stop. You need to acknowledge that your final weeks at a company can still have an impact on future references or opportunities. It’s beneficial for you to provide any assistance you can and make the transition as seamless as possible.

Understand Unemployment Benefits

If you’re voluntarily resigning your position, be aware that unemployment benefits will not be available to you. Unemployment benefits exist to support those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (i.e. a lay off) or through their own decision (i.e. resignation). Even if you’re quitting your job without a new position lined up, it’s unlikely you’ll have access to any state or federal unemployment benefits. An exception might be if you’re forced to resign. If you feel that’s happening to you, it’s best to document everything you can to protect yourself at a later date.

Understand Your Health Insurance

Company health insurance doesn’t technically travel with us. A federal act called COBRA gives workers the right to choose to continue group health benefits provided by their group health plan for limited periods of time when voluntary or involuntary job loss occurs. It does not guarantee the rate at which those plans will be offered. Almost always, the fees associated with continuing group health benefits through COBRA is significantly higher than what was paid under your previous employer.

It’s not only important to understand any new fees associated with your health benefits but also when they’re effective until. In some cases, group health benefits terminate the day employment ends. In other cases, it’s 2 weeks after or even at the end of the month. Be careful you don’t encounter any long periods of time where you lack health benefits but don’t know it.

Secure Personal Files and Information

Even before you walk in your supervisor’s office to give your resignation, it’s good practice to make sure you’ve secured any personal files and information on your system or at your desk. In the off chance your employer informs you that you do not need to work out your notice period, you don’t want to find that you aren’t given the time to clean out your desk or wipe your systems clean.

While you can’t take any sensitive or confidential information with you, you may want to save tools or documents you’ve developed for yourself. Don’t get caught unexpectedly unable to secure private information!

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
LinkedIn

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees. Robin aims to empower the employees and managers she works with by providing coaching and counseling services.

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