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Submitted by techmgr on



I have to seriously consider quitting my job of 7 years, without having another job offer. I would very much appreciate some help in identifying the risks and how to approach this decision and best handle a lousy situation.

My company has become a very difficult workplace. It is imploding under poor leadership and the stress and craziness has just become too much for me. I'm concerned that I may not be able to hang in there until I find something new. 

I am doing everything I can to be a good colleague and employee, and handle it. I am not terribly confident in my marketability. While with this company I had to switch career paths. I fear my resume is now weak, and switching back isn't an option. Improving my resume is the goal of course. I'm a department of one, and I can't get anything done without involvement from other managers who are mostly bunkering down in their silos in self-protection mode. Only one manager is open to working on a few doable projects, because he too is trying to improve his resume. 

My spouse is supportive but obviously doesn't want me to quit. She prefers that I get fired and collect unemployment insurance and have cobra health coverage. To be clear, I'm not "plotting" to get fired. I don't want to get fired. I've had some negative confrontations in the past few weeks and I'm worried, because things are so crazy, anything is possible. But I just don't see a situation where getting fired is preferred, other than short term financial. 

During this recession there was a lot of talk about a hiring bias against unemployed job seekers. Any truth to this? Of course, I am fully prepared to speak highly of my previous employer while explaining the employment gap. I'm concerned about what I cannot influence, if there's some truth to this hiring bias.

Other than needing to explain the employment gap, what are the negatives to quitting? Is there some other option that I haven't considered? One thought was to take on a short-term contract position, as a way out, and perhaps that would give me time to land something permanent. Is that just as risky as quitting outright? It's hard to think clearly in such a situation. I would appreciate any input. 

Thank you,


Doris_O's picture

Don't quit. Do get your current resume up to date and build your network. I highly recommend the resume workbook and the interview series, if you don't already have them.

I can understand why you would want to quit. I work in a fairly challenging workplace and it just keeps getting harder. However, there is a lot of wisdom in the old saying: "It is easier to find a job when you have a job."

If you don't feel your resume is up to snuff, come up with a couple of goals for yourself in your current position. Just a couple of things that you can accomplish, that have value to the organization and would help you improve your resume as well as your outlook.

For example: I was frustrated that too many institutional challenges were preventing me from growing in my position. So I decided I would try to improve the way our database was set up for our department. The IT department had been avoiding working on the database because they no longer had anyone with knowledge of this particular system. My department's productivity had been suffering for several years as a result. So last fall I taught myself what I needed to know to fix it. I developed relationships with the IT staff to build their trust so they would give me the access I needed to make the fixes. The system works the way it should now. I learned a new skill and I have a new accomplishment for my resume. My department also has a better functioning database and my day is slightly easier than it used to be.

Hang in there!

Kevin1's picture

As Doris says, Don't quit yet.

Get your ducks lined up. Career Documentation. Achievements. Resume. Network. Savings to live off?

Especially network. Freshen up those relationships now. You may need them soon and you don't want the first contact they see from you in years to be a request for help finding work.

Without these items fresh and current, it will also be hard for you to get contracting work even if that was a fall back.

Listen to all the casts available. Buy the interview series to put you in good shape when you get opportunities to interview, and to echo Doris again, 'Hang in there'

donm's picture
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"Don't quit" is correct. Get your network working for you. Call around others in your industry and see if they are hiring. If everyone else you know is working for companies that are laying off, then you're probably better off to try to hang in there, or change careers or field of interest. If the other companies are hiring, start interviewing. Once you have a position lined up, then tender your resignation, and tell the company how thrilled you were for the opportunity they gave you and how much you regret leaving. Leave professionally, which includes already having somewhere else to go.

techmgr's picture
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First, thank you for the replies.

I should have been more clear - I've been a MT listener for years. I'm all set with regards to lay off immunization, resume, and network. And I'm not looking for recommendations on job searching. 

I appreciate the "don't quit" advice. And I'm already at the point where I *must* consider quitting. It has to be on the table. You just have to trust me that the situation is becoming intolerable.  

What are the risks to quitting? We've all heard the adage that it's easier to find a job when you have one. Why is that? What happens on the hiring end?

Are there any options other than wait to find a new job and quitting without one? 









Kevin1's picture


sorry for jumping to the wrong assumptions.

i *think* that being out of work brings high levels of uncertainty.  The longer some folks are out of work, the closer uncertainty can get to desperation.  As one approaches desperation, interviewers can sense it.  One comes across as less confident than candidate B who, all other things being equal, gets the job.  This leads to more desperation, and higher levels of anxiety which further penalise you in the interview stage.

In addition, some employers may have additional doubts. Did you leave because you couldn't get on with people there?  Etc.  

All that could be just totally anecdotal.  

Glad to hear all your other ducks are lined up.

good luck


Gk26's picture

 There is a bias against the unemployed.  I know it is wrong, but the longer one is out of work, the harder it seems for them to find work  I know several people at the Director level who are or were out of work.  It took one 8 months and he had to move to another state.

techmgr's picture
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Thanks, this is helpful. Looking desperate in an interview is certainly a risk. 

If I felt (and I do), that being fired is a good possibility, is thinking of quitting proactively just galactically (sp?) stupid? I've been let go before, and I told myself I would just never let this happen again. I'm feeling sick just thinking about it. I'm weighing the difference in an interview between saying "I resigned because I knew that after 7 years, I wanted a new challenge, but wanted to take some time out in between to spend with family, to gather some more certifications or training in my field, before heading back to work", vs. "I was fired". 

My current position was created just for me, a little over a year ago. If I were gone I don't think they would bother to replace me, at least not in the way the role is currently understood. And even if they did they would move the position to the bigger office out of this country. Is it entirely insane to consider approaching my boss, and just asking him to eliminate my position or move it to his country and lay me off?

Thanks again, Jeanne






CalKen's picture



Your quandary made me think about something similar. I took a "career break" from my last position to take a lower position that provided me more time with my family and to pursue higher education. I am thinking of jumping back into the fold so to speak but I always wonder how I will sell the past 5-7 years…would I say "I took a step down to spend more time with my family and pursue higher education" or should I state it differently? My quandary is that most people I work with (and people who are still in the higher levels of the company that I used to work with) do not understand the concept of taking time off to pursue something and feel that it is a distraction form one's career. Most people I talk to cannot understand why I would step down and stall my career for this reason.

After reading your story I will definitely need to take some more caution in addressing how I will "sell" this. Good luck, my thoughts will be with you.


techmgr's picture
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 Thanks everyone for the input. - Jeanne