Can I Quit My New Job?

You took a new job that you thought was going to work out. Just a few days, weeks, or months in, and you know it’s not the place for you. You want to bail—bad—but is it ok to quit a new job?

Can I Quit My New Job?

REASONS TO STAY

Here’s what you keep telling yourself:

1 | You don’t want to look like a quitter to your current employer.

2 | You don’t want to look like a flake to your family and friends.

3 | You’re not sure how to explain such a quick turn-around on your resume.

4 | You feel guilty about leaving your company or co-workers in the lurch.

5 | You’re not sure if you’ve given the job a fair chance.

 

REASONS TO GO

But, you have compelling reasons to get outta there. Maybe...

1 | The job you do is not the same as the job they told you you’d be doing.

2 | You are being emotionally or verbally abused.

3 | The people suck.

4 | In order to do your job, you have to go against your values or integrity.

5 | It just feels wrong.

 

 

TRUST YOUR GUT

Every time I’ve taken a new job that was not a good fit (and there have been many), I’ve known pretty quickly that things were not going to go well. I bet the same is true for you. You should expect an adjustment period in a new job; it will take some time for you to get to know the ropes and feel comfortable with new people, systems, and tasks, but you can trust your intuition. When you know, you know.

And once you know, it’s best to move on. It will make things easier for you and your company, because the less training and investment they’ve put into you, the easier you are to replace.

But let’s go back and look at some of those reasons (fears) that are holding you back.

 

GETTING OVER THE FEAR OF QUITTING

Here are some of the things that you’re nervous about:

1 | You don’t want to look like a quitter to your current employer.

You can’t control what other people think. I care what you think about yourself. You are entitled to make mistakes, have false starts, and fix it. Don’t let the opinion of someone you don’t even want to work for keep you put.

2 | You don’t want to look like a flake to your family and friends.

Your true friends will have your back and understand when you tell them your reasons for leaving. If your family is upset, they’re probably more anxious for you than anything else. Keep them on a need-to-know basis, but be open with your partner.

3 | You’re not sure how to explain such a quick turn-around on your resume.

If it’s a super quick turn-around, you don’t have to explain it at all; just leave it off your resume!

If you do have to explain yourself, pretend like you’re CJ on The West Wing and get ahead of the story. You control the narrative. One version of the story is that you’re an irresponsible loose cannon and a risk to hire. That version was probably written by your inner critic, and we hates it. A more accurate narrative would look something like:

“I was really excited to try something new. It turned out to not be the fit I was looking for, so I made a quick change. I felt it was better for me and more courteous to the company not to drag things out."

4 | You feel guilty about leaving your company or co-workers in the lurch.

If you’re really concerned about this, you can offer to stay until they’ve found a replacement. But that’s the thing: you’re replaceable. Once you’re out the door, they will move on. The company will not crumble. They will be fine.

5 | You’re not sure if you’ve given the job a fair chance.

Refer to above re: trusting your gut. But if you’re doing this a lot, there might be something else going on.

 

ARE YOU A FREQUENT FLYER?

It’s no big deal to try out a job or two and discover that they aren’t a good fit. But if you’re fleeing from job to job to job and none of them are satisfying you? You, frequent flyer, have some work to do. The pattern here is you, and the problem is that you don’t know what you’re looking for. Your big job right now is to get very clear on what you want so you can stop bouncing.

As a former card carrying Frequent Flyer, I have resources to get you started:

Career Change Starting Point

The Through-line

 

IT’S OK TO QUIT

I once quit a job on the first day. After a day of red flags, the manager walked me to the parking garage and said, “Make sure you always walk to your car with a friend. We’ve had some attacks happen in here over the last few months.”

I went home in tears. I wanted to quit, but I had only been there one day! I felt guilty. This really smart and handsome guy that was hanging out in my apartment (oh wait, that was my husband) told me that it was ok to quit. The whole position sounded like rubbish, but my safety was non-negotiable. So I made the call right then, quit, and felt instant relief. 

If the parking garage hadn’t been an issue, I think I would have stayed…for a couple weeks. I knew that it was not the place for me. You’ll know, too. Trust it, be brave, and take care of yourself.