I Quit – but do it gracefully

I Quit - GracefullyMy mother always told me the grass isn’t always greener. But as a young professional I really liked the new shiny penny.

It wasn’t until I was much older that I figured out it wasn’t about moving to a new job that made me happy, it was about finding my life’s vocation. I tried a few things. Some successfully, some not so much.

I never was a job hopper. Really couldn’t afford to be as I was the main breadwinner in my family. But I can honestly say it wasn’t until my current career that I didn’t constantly think there could be something better.

There are many reasons why people quit or look at new opportunities.

People more than not leave people, not companies.

Even the best of bosses can get frustrated with poor performance and the employee feels micromanaged. It is the main reason you should find what you are passionate about and competent at–your overall chance of success increases immeasurably.

The other factor is generational. Today’s generation has less loyalty than the previous and with good reason. They watched their parents, who gave their heart and soul to an organization, get laid off during a bad economy. “I owe my soul to the company store” would not be a hit song today.

So first things first. How do you insure you make a good career choice right out of the gate to help eliminate the need to quit? We suggest two things. First make a list of all the things you are really great at. Remember the kid in high school who was a natural athlete? Well everyone has something like that, something you are naturally good at. The gift that’s in your DNA. Write it on your list. The learning curve is quick when it’s naturally something you do well. Maybe you are quick on your feet. Have a great sense of humor – no matter what it is, write it down.

Next make a list of what you are passionate about. Can be both professional and personal, but things you absolutely love. People love going to work when they are passionate ABOUT the work.

Now marry the two lists and see where they cross over. Then think about your career path where these competencies and passions collide. It’s a great way to start finding your life’s vocation and a career you never have to figure out how to quit.

So what happens if you’re already in the wrong career? I understand that sometimes you just have to leave. Wrong career, wrong company, wrong choice. What I will tell you, having had my own company for considerable time, is this. Leave with grace and dignity, no matter how bad it has been. Even if you’re angry you should NEVER burn a bridge. The people who quit from my organization that were honest with me and told me the business wasn’t for them have been those I have maintained a relationship with. I am still their cheerleader in the marketplace. Others decided, despite the fact they just weren’t right for this business, that it was everyone’s fault but their own. Have I been called as a “former employer reference” without their knowledge? Yes. Was I honest? Absolutely.

Bottom line, you may make a mistake in your career choice. Always take the high road and don’t just jump ship thinking it’s always greener someplace else. Work is and always will be a four letter word in some respects. Learn to give 100% and you will get much in return.

Authored by Employment Resource Group CEO Sharon Hulce