Quitting v. Fired v. Trying to Stay | Articles & Tips | WNYJobs.com | Buffalo

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 Quitting v. Fired v. Trying to Stay

By Joe Stein

 
Sometimes your employment situation comes down to this basic decision. This is especially true in a scenario where you feel your status as an employee with the company is at risk. This can be due to a variety of situations, but it usually is around an unlivable work environment or an actual or perceived dissatisfaction your employer has with you.
 
I get asked frequently by people in this situation what they should do. It is a difficult question since every situation is different and ultimately you have to ask yourself which decision is best for you. It, however, usually comes down to three probable scenarios.
 
1.      You Can Quit – When you quit, you cut the ties to the organization either with notice (the preferred way is to at least offer) or by simply ending your employment immediately. I am always an advocate of leaving professionally by offering notice and taking the high road when it comes down to criticizing your employer. In this situation, I am referring to leaving prior to landing another position.
Potential Benefits: Quitting allows you to leave on your terms (at least to most it may seem that way) and this provides some degree of satisfaction for you. If you are in a work environment that is toxic, it starts the process of healing for you. Looking for a new job can be a very time consuming process and leaving immediately can allow you to devote the time necessary to finding new employment. If the situation has come down to quitting or being fired, then leaving is typically an easier situation to explain.
Downside: I know it sounds obvious but unemployment can’t be considered a “vacation”. Departing immediately can create a tempting scenario where you take time off to “recharge your batteries”. Typically all this will do is hinder your chances of finding a new job. Another pretty obvious downside is that there will be no income coming in. Situations vary but often if you are terminated for a non-negligence or policy violation you will receive unemployment (in some unusual situation you may even receive some type of severance).  If you quit, you will most likely not be eligible for unemployment benefits.
 
2.      Wait to Be Fired – When you are fired, you force your employer to make the decision to end your employment. 
Potential Benefits – Seems pretty hard to believe that being fired can have benefits, but it may depending on the circumstances. In this situation, you may be eligible for some type of severance package depending on the company policies and practice. This could allow you to receive some wages and perhaps extend your medical coverage. You may even receive some type of outplacement assistance in finding a new job if you are in a reduction-in-force situation. If the organization is doing something that it shouldn’t, such as a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, being fired may strengthen your legal case. Being fired is also a clean break that leaves you with no doubt and no wondering if you could have made it work.
Downside – Well…who wants to be fired? It can be a humiliating situation, both at the time of the event and also for some time afterwards. You are now in a situation where you have been fired. This may make it even more difficult to find your next employment. Most Hiring Managers have come around and now understand when someone is part of a downsizing or restructuring, but there is still a stigma for performance terminations. 
 
3.      Try to Stay – This can be a long-term situation, but usually is a “stop gap” solution that allows you to find a new job before departing.
Potential Benefits – Staying allows you to continue to earn a paycheck, insuring an income arriving each pay date. You can also search for a new job while gainfully employed in your present role, which is traditionally an optimal situation.  This may allow you to be a little choosier in your job search, while providing you the confidence of not having to explain why you quit or were fired. If you are worried about being fired, you may find out that your employer does not actually want to fire you (or can’t get it legally approved) or you have won them over and they have changed their minds.
Downside – A potential downside is when your timing is off and you do not find another position prior to your employer terminating you. You are then in a situation you wanted to avoid, which is looking for work without another job and with the potential stigma of your firing. Depending on how toxic the work environment is, staying may significantly impact not only your job satisfaction but also your overall life outlook. Finally, staying employed (and working to not get fired) may leave you with little time to do your much needed job search.
 
We all hope to have that terrific work situation, but unfortunately (too often) we find ourselves worrying about our employment. If you are in this type of situation, you are in a position to weigh your options of outright quitting, waiting to be fired, or trying to stay either to work things out or until you can leave on your terms. Each option comes with some potential benefits and a downside. Evaluate your situation and determine what is best for you.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search!