Have you ever considered rage-quitting? Tell me, how close were you to walking out that door and never coming back? In the moment, were you thinking strategically about your career or were you purely acting on emotion?
We’ve all been there. Most of us have had moments at work where we’re frustrated by a task, a customer or a project and we decide the only thing to do is walk out and retreat to our living room couch with our favorite comfort food — never to return.
However, consider what will happen if you quit without notice or leave at lunch one day and never go back. How would it affect you today, tomorrow, this month and a few years from now?
Today, you’ll have to explain to your partner why you quit suddenly. Tomorrow, you’ll have to figure out what to do about your health insurance and other benefits. This month, you’ll have to figure out your finances. Can you afford to be unemployed? Do you have enough in savings? And for the next few years, every time you interview for a new job, you’ll be asked about why you left that particular job without notice.
By now, you probably already have a bit of a guess as to how I feel about rage-quitting: It’s not the best decision. And as a human resources professional, I’m all about helping you make great career decisions.
That’s why I’m going to provide you with a list of questions to think through before you make a decision you might regret for the remainder of your career. Quitting a job should never be a quick decision; it should be a slow, well-thought-out decision.
These questions will be helpful to you whether you’ve just started considering a job change or if some tumultuous moments at work have left you thinking about rage-quitting for a while now.
6 Questions to Consider Before Quitting
Before you quit, slow down. Speak with a trusted manager, advisor or mentor to talk about options. Then, consider these six questions.
1. Can You Negotiate?
Before you even think about quitting, let’s talk about negotiating. Can you renegotiate your position or transfer to another position within the company?
Employers want happy employees and they want to retain them. Most employers will be willing to work with you if you have an honest conversation with a trusted manager about what you’re going through.
You may be able to negotiate some of your benefits — like vacation time or pay — or you can talk about negotiating your position. Maybe you’d like to pivot to a new role entirely in the company or maybe you’d like to grow in your position and take on more responsibility.
Regardless of what you’re looking to negotiate, come at it with a positive, non-threatening attitude. Threatening to quit unless you get your way won’t get you far. Be prepared to come to the table with valid reasons as to why you believe you’re obligated to get additional benefits, or why you’d be a good fit for a different role. Sell yourself.
Ask yourself if the situation can truly be remedied. Everyone wants more money and unlimited paid time off (PTO). More money might sound great in the moment, but it’s often only a band-aid solution that doesn’t fix the overarching problem. Eventually, the employee realizes it wasn’t the pay. It turns out it wasn’t the right environment, manager, career, team or culture — and none of that can be negotiated.
Make a list of your biggest concerns. Is there anything you can change yourself to make it better? Will a role change or a few extra dollars and more PTO fix it? If not, perhaps it’s time to start looking for other options. But again, do not rage quit!
Related Content: Tips for switching roles within your company
2. Do You Have Another Job Lined Up?
If you quit today, do you have another job lined up tomorrow? Chances are, if you walk out at lunchtime today, there isn’t going to be an empty desk with your name on it somewhere else tomorrow morning.
Ideally, you should always have another job lined up before quitting your current job — especially if you’re the sole provider for yourself or your family.
If you’ve decided it’s time to leave and you can’t negotiate with your manager, make sure you have a job lined up before putting in your notice.
3. Can You Afford to Be Unemployed?
If you don’t have a job lined up, you have to consider your finances. Do you have enough money to support yourself (and possibly your family) if you don’t have money coming in?
If you haven’t built up a cushion for yourself, you can really struggle to stay on your feet without a job. You also don’t know how long it may take you to find another job.
Generally speaking, if you up and quit your job, the likelihood of getting unemployment is very slim. The state determines unemployment eligibility. In general, if you quit, you aren’t eligible. So you can’t count on unemployment to get you through.
Before you put in a notice, make sure you’re able to financially support yourself without a steady income.
4. What Will Happen to Your Company Benefits?
Every company sets up its benefits a little differently. Some employee benefits end on the last day of work; some benefits last through the end of the month.
Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your benefits package before you leave. You may need to adopt an interim solution until you get another job.
If your family is depending on your benefits, losing them overnight can have a big impact on them. Sure, you’ll still be able to attend your medical and dental appointments, but you’ll have to pay for them out-of-pocket. Those expenses can really add up and put you in the hole quickly.
5. Is it Time for a Career Shift?
If you’re finding that you no longer enjoy the work you’re doing, it might be time to totally shift careers. Instead of seeking the same job you’re currently doing at a different company, ask yourself if you need to switch industries.
Maybe you have a few different skill sets you’d like to pursue. Before you rage quit and jump into a similar role with a new company, see if you can work with a temp agency in town. You might have an opportunity to try out a few different career paths with them to see what suits you best.
When you go down this road, you’ll find a more suitable career path and you’ll avoid burning a bridge with your current employer.
You could also explore job shadowing opportunities. They’ll give you a real-life look at what a particular job is like.
6. How Will Rage Quitting Affect You in the Long Run?
Think about your brand as an employee. If you just get up and leave without notice, how you leave that job follows you. When you interview at companies in the future, you’ll be asked about the job you left.
Interviewers want to know if you left your previous jobs in good standing. If you failed to carry out your notice or left one day and didn’t come back, you won’t be looked upon favorably. New employers might fear you’ll do the same to them. Employers want to mitigate this behavior and retain their employees.
You’ll also burn a bridge with your previous company. Keep in mind: A shocking number of people who quit their jobs admit to regretting their decision and a considerable number of them end up going back to a company they previously worked for.
Imagine leaving one day and not coming back, giving a short notice or not fulfilling your entire notice before leaving. Now imagine trying to go back to that job in the future. Not only will you likely feel like a dog with its tail between its legs, but your chances of getting your old job back are slim to none — all because you burned that bridge.
Subsequently, you’ll leave your coworkers high and dry. You may not exactly care about the business, but you build relationships with your coworkers. You spend a large chunk of your day with them; you inevitably start to bond. If you just leave them hanging, you could burn bridges with them too.
Avoid the Consequences of Rage Quitting
A lot of times, people are unsatisfied with their jobs for a while before they rage quit. Think about what you’re doing. Is the way you’re feeling a trend or is it a moment in time? In either situation, find a trusted advisor, mentor or manager and discuss the pros and cons of leaving now, putting in a notice or pursuing another position within the company.
- Can you negotiate?
- Do you have another job lined up?
- Can you afford to be unemployed?
- What will happen to your company benefits?
- Is it time for a career shift?
- How will rage quitting affect you in the long run?
You might decide it’s time to leave your current company after all. If you do, make sure you give proper notice (two weeks is typically sufficient) and complete any remaining tasks before you go.
As you hunt for your dream job, consider these factors that will help you stand out and those that will hurt you.