Are you ready to quit? We've all seen dramatic scenes on TV or in movies where the lead character shouts, "I quit!" and storms out with triumphant music playing in the background, sometimes to the cheers of their coworkers. But, in real life, this kind of dramatic display is almost never justified and it's certainly not recommended.
Whether you're leaving to take a new job, go back to school, spend more time with family, or for any other reason, take care to do so with grace and integrity. Remember that you serve as an ambassador of Christ in the workplace. The way you handle leaving says just as much (and maybe more) about your character and your faith as the way you conducted yourself on the job.
Tips for a graceful exit
Quitting is never easy, but you can do it right. So how can you quit in a manner that's consistent with your faith? Consider these principles:
• Keep working hard. While it's tempting to throw in the towel mentally as soon as you've turned in your two-week notice, remember that you are actually still serving your current employer, so make sure you are completely dedicated until your very last day. This can be harder than it sounds, especially if you are excited about leaving. But it's ultimately a question of integrity. Taking it easy during your last week at work might seem like a small thing, but Luke 16:10 reminds us that "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities." You've made a commitment to work for your current employer right up through that last day, and that's what you must do. You do this not just because it's good to keep your word, but because it honors God.
• Leave your current employer better off than when you arrived. Strive to provide your company with as much value as you can offer. If appropriate, you should have a successor ready to move into your role when you leave. Depending on your position, you might not be choosing your own successor, but you can commit to train your replacement in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.
• Don't use your resignation to try to negotiate your current compensation. If you've reached the point where you've prayed about your decision and feel that God has called you to the next job, role, or stage of life, then that's probably what you should do. Using a competing offer or the threat of resignation merely to strengthen your bargaining position might succeed in getting you more money, but you definitely won't win the respect of your boss or coworkers. And that's the kind of thing they'll remember about you the next time you mention going to Bible study or church.
If you believe that your current compensation is below market (especially if you've had this confirmed by an outside job offer), you can go to your boss and discuss the situation honestly without using the offer to negotiate. It can be a delicate balance, but you won't go wrong as long as you strive to conduct yourself with integrity. If your boss does not address your compensation concerns and it's important enough to you, then go forward in talking with the other company.
When a valued employee offers her resignation, a company might put together an offer to try to keep her on. If this happens to you, it's not wrong to reconsider, especially if the offer addresses some or all of the reasons you may be leaving. But if everything else is the same and money isn't the driver, don't let increased compensation change your mind.
• Strive to leave on a positive note. Even if you dislike certain things (or everything!) about your current company, now is not the appropriate time to lodge complaints. Instead, focus on the positives as much as possible. Talk about your new role, stage of life, and so on to explain why it is the right step for you, rather than focusing on any dissatisfaction. It can be a tempting time to air all of your grievances, especially among sympathetic coworkers, but later on you'll likely regret leaving on a bitter note.
While leaving in a huff can certainly be tempting, deep down you don't want to be remembered for your disgruntled exit. When you rise above the lure of leaving badly and instead resign with grace and integrity, you'll be remembered for the right things—and so will your faith.
Image courtesy of leesean / flickr.