Author Topic: How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?  (Read 1684 times)

skeptic

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How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?
« on: January 24, 2018, 10:38:49 AM »
I am hoping to hear your thoughts on how I can leave my job on good terms without another job to go to.

I am not FI but I am close; nevertheless my job is making me crazy and I have decided to give notice quite soon, despite not having another job lined up (and not sure if I will even do another real job for years or ever).

I work at a very small social-mission-driven organization and I believe if I leave without a really compelling reason that I am going to harm or burn some bridges/relationships, which never seems like a good idea. If I left because of a really cool opportunity (job) elsewhere, everyone would understand and no one would be offended. If I leave for a more squishy reason like "needed a break" or "wanted to spend more time with family" I believe people will question how much I care about the work and/or they will feel personally rejected and it will harm my relationships... and invite much questioning about what the "real" reason was. (Because of some changes happening in the org, it would be easy for people to interpret me leaving as a reaction to those changes, which I don't want.)

I have kicked around trying to ask someone with a business to hire me for $1 to do some technology research that I would probably be doing anyway, and then I could technically truthfully say I was leaving to join a new project/position. But I'm not sure if that is a good idea to do or how exactly I would arrange it if it was.

I don't want to lie, so maybe there are not any other good options and I should just say something vague like "It was time for a change" / "I needed a break" and accept that people are going to feel rejected and offended and that's just how it goes.

Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

terran

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Re: How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 10:57:50 AM »
To play devil's advocate, why DON'T you want to give the real reason? It sounds like you believe in the mission of the organization, but not the implementation, so being nearly at FI puts you in the uncommon position of being able to speak truth to power. Maybe you'll even be able to make the job into something you'd be interested in sticking out until you hit true FI. If it doesn't work out, would you really be burning bridges with the people you like and respect, or only those you see as messing things up for the organization? Easier said then done, of course, so I'm just putting that out there as another possible way of looking at it.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 11:50:18 AM »
Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

You don't want to lie, but you don't want to tell the truth either. That's a tough one. I'd just go with something vague and open ended then.

JLee

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Re: How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 12:18:03 PM »
I left a job once simply because I wanted to move somewhere warmer.

To be perfectly honest, why does it matter?  You're leaving.  You don't owe anyone an explanation for your life choices.

BlueHouse

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Re: How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 12:28:48 PM »
I would go with "I'm spending more time with family" even if you need to go down the route of "Auntie skeptic needs more help right now, and I'm going to spend more time with her". 

This seems like the easiest "problem" in the world.  Congrats on having enough savings to do what you want to do. 

And remember, you can't control what other people think, so pick something close enough to the truth that you won't get defensive, and just go.

JJsfr

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Re: How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 08:29:55 PM »
This is a tough dilemma. I have had people quit on me and I have understood as there's usually some amount of improvement in their life for the change (more pay, stability, responsibility, etc.). I'm usually happy for them. I appreciate it when they are open enough why they are leaving as it prevents most speculation and gossip among those who stay. For that reason alone I'd give a substantive reason, but I don't work in a small values driven environment.

My wife worked non profit for 10 years before making a huge career shift into a completely different sector because it was taking too much of a toll on her. Her immediate supervisor understood, but her peers eliminated her from their social circle. It's a weird mentality because they for sure thought she was abandoning them because she wasn't committed enough or something (obviously), but it started a wave of people leaving the org due to a pretty toxic environment. She is still close (familiar colleagues but not friends) with her old supervisor and execs but not those peers, but never really fit in in the first place with them. I think several people are in a better/happier place knowing that it is actually ok to leave; those who held it against her eventually left too,  but they all still regularly support this org and believe in the value it brings to its community.

I think I'm telling you this story because you will probably burn bridges with some, but if you do it professionally, usually the more seasoned folks know that people come and go. Some are "lifers" at these orgs, others aren't.

Are you planning on providing some future support to them? I think you can quash any notion of you not believing in the cause by other forms of support (volunteering, monetary, services given in kind for special projects, etc.)

I believe you can come up with a way to tactfully say you need a break as it sounds like it is something you want to do. It just seems like you're too close and every little thing is getting to you, which screams that you need a break. We've all been there. I think it says something about your commitment that you haven't been interviewing for a new job. Use that to your advantage.

If I think of a ringer thing for you to say, I'll post it, but you are probably going to be the one who knows what's right.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 08:32:21 PM by JJsfr »

Chrissy

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Re: How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 08:50:23 PM »
If I left because of a really cool opportunity (job) elsewhere, everyone would understand and no one would be offended...

I have kicked around trying to ask someone with a business to hire me for $1 to do some technology research that I would probably be doing anyway, and then I could technically truthfully say I was leaving to join a new project/position.

I don't want to lie...

"I'm leaving to do tech research (from home).  It's a great opportunity (that I'm giving myself).  I'm really excited about the new project/position (which is sabbatical/retired)."

Problem solved.  No lying required.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2018, 06:22:14 AM »
You can't control other people's feelings. That's not to say you should go out of your way to quit AT them, but people leave jobs all the time, it's just part of life. As long as you're pleasant about it, their reactions are their problem.

skeptic

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Re: How to leave job on good terms -- without another job lined up?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2018, 10:15:00 AM »
Thank you everyone for adding some perspective and insight. I've read each comment carefully and while there isn't a consensus, there are some clear prevailing themes.

Most likely I will be vague, e.g. "it's time for me to pursue new projects" or "time for a change."

This thread has helped me accept that even if there is some relationship fallout (which I do think will happen, at least with some people), that it is something outside my control and isn't catastrophic.

At least their reactions are ultimately their responsibilities, whereas if I am misleading people (even while telling the truth) that is something that could bother my own conscience.

( @terran I appreciate your speak-truth-to-power approach, and although I am not exactly pursuing it, it is not out of complacency or naive fatalism. The details and history are more than I can or want to share, but if I can sum with a cliche: that ship has sailed.)

I really appreciate all your help. Thank you. And yes, as problems go it is a great one to have. I plan to give notice soon and be gone in about a month. It will be such a huge relief, I can't even say...