6 Things to Do Before You Walk Out of a Job

When things don’t go as smoothly as you thought at work, you may fantasize about walking out of your job like how they depict it in movies. But you may be playing with fire if you dramatically storm off of your office. So as much as you think your actions are justified, it’s better to keep your cool. You can even take some personal development courses to ensure that you are prepared once you make a life-changing decision.  

While you might feel like you made the wrong decision by applying for this job role, it’s still a learning opportunity.

As you learn more about yourself through ill-fitting positions, you can pinpoint the right career for you and avoid abruptly quitting. So before you walk out, there are some things you need to know to exit the company on good terms.

Common Reasons Why People Walk Out of Their Jobs

Employees making a sudden departure is more common than you think. In fact, 9 out of 10 new employees are willing to leave their job during the first month, with 28% walking out during the first three months. These statistics show that workers are searching for more than just a monthly paycheck.

People are looking for jobs to help them achieve their career goals and personal ambitions. If they can’t achieve it or can’t see any possibilities of achieving it, they might just walk away. 

To give you a better view, here are some of the root causes of why people walk out of their current job:

Compensation is not enough

An employee’s salary keeps food on the table, clothes to keep them warm, and a roof over their heads. These are the basic needs they have to fulfill to survive every day. That is why it’s the primary motivator for workers to keep searching for a job that can provide them with that and more.

According to research, 59% of employees quite due to low salary.

With how easy it is to compare salaries these days, people realize they can work the same job elsewhere but with higher compensation.

No room for career growth

The quitting trend will not slow down unless companies find a way to fix the long-forgotten need of their employees. However, while employers remain unhappy that there are not enough skilled workers, they forget to implement training programs to meet the skill gap.

The interest in learning and development is rising strongly among young workers. 94% say they would stick with a company if they invested in their career development. So, when this need is unmet, businesses will see more employees walk out the door.

Poor working conditions

Work conditions refer to the company’s environment and job terms that affect employees’ overall satisfaction and well-being. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Hygiene factors and basic necessities
  • Safe and healthy environments
  • Workload and work schedule
  • Location and commute
  • Benefits

But depending on how severe the work conditions are, employees can leave their jobs anytime because their physical and mental health is on the line.

Toxic work culture

The most significant driving force behind the Great Resignation in 2021 wasn’t because of salary disputes. Despite workers having high-paying jobs, there was an unusual turnover that posed a bigger challenge for companies to fix.

In 2021, more than 24 million employees in America left their jobs. And toxic work culture was to blame. When a company fails to promote equality, diversity, and communication, workers feel disrespected and undervalued. So, people take this experience as a sign that it’s time to look for a new job

Better job offers

When workers have had enough, they will apply for work somewhere else, even if they still hold a position with a company. But once they get a better job offer, they’ll resign right away. Whether their potential employers gave them a higher salary or better work arrangements, they wouldn’t give it much thought before sending in their final notice.

Consequences of Walking Out of a Job

Marching out the door after saying “I quit” may seem satisfying at first. But underneath, there are some potential risks to walking out of a job.

If you abandon your work for whatever reasons you may have, here’s what can happen:

  • Your current employer may sue you for breach of contract if you decide to walk out of your job mid-shift.
  • The company may charge additional costs for a temporary worker or another employee to cover for you if you quit without notice.
  • Resigning by walking out of work impacts your entitlement pay because you didn’t inform your employer that you’ll be quitting your job.
  • The company may tell your future employer that you didn’t work during your notice period if you ask them for a reference. This can negatively affect your career.

Instead of letting your exhaustion and emotions get the best of you, weigh them out before calling them quits because they can come back and bite you. Even if you’re pursuing a career in a different industry, give your employer time to adjust by sending your resignation letter.

walked out of job employee quitting

6 Things To Do Before You Walk Out of a Job

No one recommends walking out of a job, even if it seems fitting at the moment. So, try to keep your impulse from getting ahead of you. However, it’s okay to quit without informing your employer in advance for instances such as harassment and health concerns. You can still remain professional by giving your immediate resignation letter.

These 6 things you need to do before you walk out of a job will help you make a respectful departure:

Review your contract

Here’s the thing when you’re in this situation. It’s not black or white. Companies have different rules and policies when it comes to employees quitting their jobs. Typically, however, a two-week notice is the most common practice among professionals when resigning.

Even if there’s no legal requirement that you must give the company your two-week notice, it’s ideal to offer it to avoid legal problems down the road.

Aside from legal concerns, you may uncover employment-related benefits by reviewing your contract thoroughly, which may include the following:

  • Unemployment insurance
  • Pension benefits
  • Severance pay
  • Accrued leave
  • Overtime
  • Sick pay

So, it’s best to study your contract before you make rash decisions. But if there’s something that you can’t wrap your head around, you can always ask your human resources department for clarification.

Think of your financial standing

Walking out of a job feels good because it’s one of the best ways to express your emotions to your company that they’ve gone too far. But this natural human reaction can ultimately affect your career in the long run, even if you’re planning on shifting.

Unless your decisions are set in stone, make sure you have the financial capability to support yourself until you find another job. Have at least six months’ worth of expenses saved up, so you stay caught up on your monthly dues. You can also consider career cushioning to avoid financial instability.

Cool off first to avoid making reckless choices. And give yourself at least a couple of days to think it through and see if reacting in the heat of the moment would be a good idea.

Use all your sick and vacations days

Quitting is better than getting fired from your job since you can create a positive narrative around it. But before you walk out, make the most of your entitled leave benefits. Your company may offer a payout for unused vacation and sick days, or they may not. If they do, use them while you still can.

Take advantage of this time to reflect on whether voluntarily leaving work will have the desired outcome in your career later on. And ask yourself if deserting your job is worth making an effort to find a new one.

During your time off, think deeply about your emotional triggers to cope with work-related stress better. Be proactive in dealing with challenging situations because you’re bound to repeat the same circumstances if you brush them off under the rug.

While you’re enjoying your leave benefits, take some time to refine your resume, portfolio, and professional social media account. Adding things to your formal documents can showcase your recent work experience to your future employer.

Talk it through with someone you trust

If your boss thinks you intend to resign by ditching work on the spot, you need to have a good explanation as to why you did it. And better to do it as early as possible. Then they’ll have to decide whether or not to accept your reasons. So, it’s best to talk it out with a family or friend you trust the most.

Sometimes you can solve sensitive matters like these by discussing them with someone reliable. This person may shed some light on the situation where you might not even need to leave your job. But be mindful of who you choose because they may misrepresent your words. Or worse, they may tell somebody in your company.

Upskill for the transition

Whether you want to leave your job to find a new career at 50 or you have any other reasons, upskilling is very important. There’s always something new to learn in this ever-changing job market dynamic. So, if you want to unearth your potential that you weren’t able to gain from this job, the internet has a plethora of free and cost-effective online courses to help you with the transition.

Clean out your work computer

To have a respectful job exit, resigning should be well thought out to avoid regret afterward. If your reason for quitting is private, you can discreetly talk to your supervisor and let them know your last day.

Regardless of the length of your employment, delete everything from your and the company’s computers. However, be aware of what and what not to clear out because you may accidentally remove proprietary documents. 

Below are the things you need to wipe out from your work computer:

  • Emails
  • Passwords
  • Recycle bin
  • Personal files and apps
  • Extensions you installed
  • Cache, cookies, and browser history

However, save a contact list of key people that can be beneficial to your network. Additionally, ask your employer if you can have a copy of a project you worked on to add to your portfolio. But ensure to request for a written permission before keeping them.

How to explain walking out of a job in an interview

You’ve considered everything that transpired, and you made the final decision to quit. Now you’re in a dilemma about explaining a job change to your potential employers.

Here’s the ideal way to justify walking out of a job during your hiring manager:

Avoid unnecessary details

Even if you did walk out of your job, you don’t need to elaborate on all the fine details of what happened. Instead, you can tell them that your previous position no longer aligns with your career goals.

Suppose your reasons for quitting are due to caring for somebody close to you. In that case, you can briefly explain it only if you’re comfortable.

Your interviewer’s goal in asking why you’re seeking new employment is to see if you have good working relationships with your company.

Stay composed and professional

For whatever reason you have for walking out of your job, remaining professional during your interview will help you land the position. A way to remain professional is to never talk negatively about anyone from your previous company.

Hiring managers want to know that you can take a painful experience and not let it bring you down.

Highlight your skills and accomplishments

Rather than dwelling on the past, draw your interviewer’s attention to the things you learned while working for the company.

Focus on your niche skills and projects you’ve accomplished. But if they asked why you left your job, answer briefly. Most often, they won’t require you to tell them everything since they’re more interested in what you can do moving forward.

To find more remote and flexible job opportunities that match your skills, use Flexjobs. Flexjobs is an online platform that connects job seekers with remote and flexible job opportunities from companies across various industries.

Recommended Courses Before You Walk Out From Job

Before you make the leap, we recommend sharpening your skills to boost your chances of getting hired or becoming a successful entrepreneur, if that’s your goal.

1. Cracking That Difficult Interview

“Cracking That Difficult Interview” is a concise and practical course designed to equip you with the skills needed to handle job interviews effectively. Covering the basics of interview techniques and innovative ways to respond to common questions, this course is perfect for anyone looking to improve their interview performance.

What sets this course apart is its focus on innovative and effective communication strategies tailored to some of the most frequently asked interview questions. The course offers a comprehensive yet brief learning experience, making it easy to fit into a busy schedule.

This course to be incredibly insightful and practical. The step-by-step guidance on how to craft responses to tough questions was particularly helpful. It provided me with the confidence to approach interviews with a clear and strategic mindset.

Who is this course for?

This course is ideal for university students preparing for their first job interviews and professionals looking to advance in their careers. It offers valuable insights and techniques that can help anyone feel more prepared and confident in any interview scenario.

“Create An Entrepreneurial Mindset That Drives Your Success” helps you develop the mindset needed for business success. It offers 15 powerful strategies to enhance focus, build value, and turn competition into an advantage.

This course stands out by providing actionable strategies, not just theory. It covers everything from maintaining momentum to crafting a growth-driven vision, making it a practical resource for entrepreneurs.

The course is practical and inspiring, with easy-to-implement strategies. It offers fresh perspectives on creating reusable assets and embracing competition for business growth.

Who is this course for? 

Ideal for entrepreneurs, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs. Whether starting a new venture or growing an existing business, this course provides essential tools and strategies for success.

“Start Your Own Successful Home Business” is a quick-start course designed to help you launch and run a profitable business from home. Learn how to start immediately, expand, or stay small based on your preferences.

This course stands out with its focus on a unique business model that anyone can start. Jaci, the instructor, shares her secrets to turning a seemingly difficult business into a simple, profitable venture that you can begin within a week.

The course is straightforward and highly practical. Jaci’s insights on running a home business with a unique twist were eye-opening and easy to follow, making it ideal for anyone looking for a low-risk business opportunity.

Who is this course for?

Perfect for business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to start a home business. No prior knowledge is needed, making it accessible to everyone, regardless of experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What financial preparations should I make before quitting my job?

Ensure you have enough savings to cover expenses during the transition period. It’s wise to have at least 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses saved, in case finding a new job takes longer than anticipated.

How do I know it’s the right time to leave my current job?

Assess your current job satisfaction, career goals, and the reasons you want to leave. If the cons consistently outweigh the pros and you feel your growth, happiness, or health is compromised, it might be time to move on.

Should I have another job lined up before quitting?

It’s generally advisable to secure a new position before resigning, as this reduces financial risk and career gaps. However, circumstances like health issues or toxic work environments might necessitate an immediate departure.

How do I resign professionally?

Submit a formal resignation letter, provide adequate notice (typically two weeks), and express gratitude for the opportunities you’ve had. Aim to maintain positive relationships and leave on good terms.

How do I manage my emotional and mental well-being during this transition?

Recognize that leaving a job can be stressful. Ensure you have support, whether through friends, family, or professionals, and take care of your mental health during the transition.

Expert Insights 

1. Vladimir Terekhov, CEO, Attract Group

“I’m Vladimir Terekhov, CEO of Attract Group, where we specialize in software development and business process optimization. When considering walking out of a job, it’s crucial to maintain professionalism: provide ample notice, ideally two weeks, to avoid burning bridges. Document and organize your current work to ensure a smooth transition for your successor or team. Have a candid conversation with your manager to explain your reasons, focusing on the future rather than past grievances. Lastly, ensure you understand the terms of your departure, including final pay and benefits, to avoid any legal or financial surprises.”

2. Ethan Keller, President, Dominion

“Before taking any action, I would recommend that you give some thought to the choice that you have made to quit. Take into consideration whether there are potential solutions to the problems that led to your choice to leave your current employment, and make sure that leaving your current position is in line with your long-term plan. You should try to find a new job or have a well-defined strategy for your next steps before you quit from your current position whenever it is possible. This creates a more seamless transition between positions and guarantees that the financial situation remains stable. It is important to carefully analyze your employment contract as well as the policies of the organization in order to gain an understanding of the notice periods, leaving procedures, and any
contractual duties. Utilizing this knowledge can help you navigate the process of resigning.”

Key Takeaways

Before you walk out of your job, ensure you’re set up for success in your next venture. Consider the importance of being financially prepared and ensure you’re not breaching any contracts. Lastly, keep your professional network strong. These steps are crucial for a smooth transition and for maintaining your professional reputation and opportunities.

In line with these preparatory steps, enhancing your skill set with Skill Success All Access Pass is a proactive way to ensure you’re ready for whatever comes next. This platform offers more than 4,000+ courses that can help you refine your current skills or develop new ones, making you more adaptable and competitive in the job market. 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2024. It has been updated for freshness and accuracy. 



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