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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Q&A: I'd like to quit my job, but how can I tell my boss?

Q: My annual review meeting with my boss is next week. I want to go, but I'm afraid to say anything.
Lately work has been a huge drag and I know it's time to go. I've been at this office for 4 years now. Pay is good, but promises of advancement have been broken or deferred time and time again. I have plenty of other work opportunities elsewhere and, actually, I have plans to leave this joint and start my own thing. The problem is, as things get worse, I'm also more "needed here". Moreover, I've really built a good circle of friends here. Do I mention that I am seriously considering leaving in hopes that things may change, or just be quiet and just bail when the time is right?

A: Our first advice is to resolve for yourself what is important to YOU. Write down 101 things you love (EVERYTHING and ANYTHING); look "above" that list for patterns and really important stuff.
Second (and here's the tricky part), we humans will CHOOSE to stay in simmering low-grade pain until the pain is unbearable--but not sooner. In other words, if you don't make an effort for yourself toward actually LEAVING, you'll probably stay in your shitty job for years (because the fear of leaving, with all of its risks and unknowns, is worse than the pain of staying). In order to leave, we need to make a contract with ourselves before we do so with our bosses. You need to make an "irrevocable choice".

Here's what you do: Figure out what's important. Then when you've sorted that out, walk to your boss and say, "I'll be leaving here in one year." Holy shit, it's done! Fear will come and go--you may not even know today how you're gonna leave your old job (not to mention getting a NEW ONE!) But now everyone is aware of your intentions (INCLUDING YOURSELF!). You are now on a "irrevocable path", one that will help you and move you toward actually leaving.
First, most bosses will appreciate an exit strategy rather than just quitting. Many will actually help you through your transition. A good boss knows that a good ext plan is good for everyone involved. Hope this helps.


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