Author Topic: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?  (Read 3586 times)

birdiegirl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
  • Location: Minnesota
Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« on: February 25, 2018, 07:40:29 PM »
Iíve been working for a dysfunctional corporation for 7 years but have decided it is finally time to leave.  Things have been up and down during my time there but in the last 6-12 months the company and environment have really started to deteriorate (IMO).   Iíve been trying to ride it out because my job pays well and is close to home but I can see my physical health and especially mental health are suffering right now and I need to do something soon.  (Itís Sunday night and Iíve been sick to my stomach since the afternoon thinking about going back tomorrow)

Iím struggling with how to explain why Iím leaving.  My plan is to take a couple months off and then look for another job Ė ideally not another corporate job, maybe going to a small business or non-profit, contracting, or even PT work, not exactly sure yet.   

My boss (and colleagues) probably wonít understand or respect this because a) I Ďd be leaving without another job and b) I wonít be looking for a ďbetterĒ job.   Wish I could say I donít care what they think but I need them as references so I have to care about how they perceive me.  Iím afraid the way they will perceive it is that Iím lazy or couldnít cut it when things were tough.   

I donít want to lie since I will need them as references and it's very likely I will run into some of them around town.  But I canít seem to come up with an explanation that seems socially acceptable.  No kids or ill relatives to take care of....what could I say that would be honest enough but still not raise too many questions? 

koshtra

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 664
  • Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
    • Mole
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2018, 07:58:18 PM »
You don't really need to say much. A bright "It's time for a change, and I'm going to take a few weeks off to put some [family things] [household things] [something that will sound legit to them things] in order" will probably do fine. "I'd really like to try working in a small business or a non-profit" works too.

If they're really fixated on climbing the career ladder then there's really not much you can do to keep their respect, but most people can understand taking some time off after 7 years in the trenches.

On the other hand -- it might also be time to just be up front and tell people what the hell you're doing. You don't actually know how that will land with everyone. It might be exactly what somebody needs to hear.

TheExplorer

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2018, 02:48:30 AM »
Study? Eg is there a short term university course that you could do/that you always wanted to do that would be interesting?

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2018, 06:39:07 AM »
It's not like you have to be super specific.

Generally I'd keep the conversation more focused on your current job. Putting in two weeks notice (or one month, whatever is standard), letting them know you'll still be around that long. If they ask why you're leaving I think "it's just time for a change" is a valid answer.  If they ask what you're going to do now, which they may out of curiosity, "I'm going to take a couple months off and then find another job" should be fine.

simonsez

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1584
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 07:56:50 AM »
How much leave do you have?  I'd probably take a 2 week vacation to hit the reset button and really think about it.  Then after I came back with better mental/physical health and I still felt the same, now you're 100% and can start the separation process.  As for giving full disclosure honesty or being somewhat vague - it would depend on how much you needed references/relationships for the future.  I recommend not being too private if you are close with certain colleagues but you also don't want to burn any bridges by overzealously trashing the place (and indirectly your colleagues) on your way out.

And if you came back and feel refreshed and decide to stay, then great - just remember to take those very important mental/physical breaks every so often.  Good luck!

plog

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 270
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2018, 08:58:41 AM »
You work for a corporation right?  They are more afraid of saying you suck to your potential employers than you are.  Most corporations with big HR departments will just confirm employment dates and say if you are rehireable or not.  As long as you aren't fired or light a turd on fire in your boss's office on your last day they will say you are.


As for references, those are from real people (HR workers are not real people).  So, start collecting contact info of real people you work with.  Then once you leave, you ask them to be references when the time comes. 
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 09:00:34 AM by plog »

Paul der Krake

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5854
  • Age: 16
  • Location: UTC-10:00
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2018, 09:12:28 AM »
"Family health issues".

pecunia

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2859
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 09:17:00 AM »
DO NOT BURN YOUR BRIDGES!  Hell may have no fury like the scorn of a former employer.

Yes, I have learned the hard way.

There is nothing more important than your health.  This is reason enough to get out.  You are doing your best for them.  Don't make their problems your problems.

Although this site talks a lot about money, one thing it has been showing me is that your life is a lot more important than the money.  Look at all of the postings you see from people who have FIRED.  It doesn't seem like there are too many disgruntled FIREEs.  It seems like there are a lot of disgruntled employees.

Cali Nonya

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 514
  • Location: California
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2018, 09:30:00 AM »
Birdie:

Most corporations will ask what your plans are (they are allowed to ask, you don't have to answer), because what they actually care about is if you are leaving to go to work for a competitor or client.  If your intention is to do something different, they most likely won't really care.

I left a Fortune 500 Blue Chip corp, and actually went back within 2 years.  They asked why I was leaving since they flag employees depending on a case by case basis if they are eligible for re-hire.  I was honest and respectful and was eligible for rehire.  Realize from the business perspective what they care about is if you will be a competitor or a liability.  If you are truly going heading off for something different, then all is good.

Lady SA

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 556
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2018, 11:52:12 AM »
Maybe you could request a 6 mo or 12 mo sabbatical to reset and see how you feel about going back? You could quit at the end of your sabbatical with a "I'm just having too much fun traveling (or whatever) to come back, sorry!"

Otherwise, to not burn bridges, be sure to put together a solid transition plan and wrap up as much work as you can, or get it to a place where someone else can pick it up. There's no easier way to burn bridges than to leave your coworkers in the lurch.

"I'm putting in my 2 week notice."
"Why? Where are you going? Why are you leaving?"
"I'm just going to focus on myself/travel/something vague and benign. I've had a great career here but I'm ready for a breather."
"But why?"
*points to paper* "I signed and dated it, and I'm sure I have everything in order. Please let me know if there is anything you or HR needs from me."
"But whyyyy?"
"I'm wrapping up my projects and they will easily transition to Susan and Kenny."
"WHYYY"
"Off to lunch now, toodles!" *literally wave and walk away*

Seriously, you can just obliviously railroad their questions and not answer them if they keep pushing. Just steamroll cheerfully right over them, with a big smile on your face, and answer the questions you "wish" they were answering. You don't owe them an in-depth answer, and as long as you wrap up your work neatly and are pleasant, they wont have anything to complain about or hold against you. Good luck!

HipGnosis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1825
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2018, 12:09:19 PM »
You already said it;
in the last 6-12 months the company and environment have really started to deteriorate 
I can see my physical health and especially mental health are suffering


Undecided

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1237
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2018, 12:47:24 PM »
You already said it;
in the last 6-12 months the company and environment have really started to deteriorate 
I can see my physical health and especially mental health are suffering

There's no upside in pointing a finger back at the company, in my opinion. I would just say some version of "I've enjoyed my time here and appreciate the experience it's brought me, but feel that it's time to move on. Rather than go directly in to another job, though, I'm going to take some time to focus on personal interests. I hope our paths will cross again when I'm back in the industry."

okits

  • CMTO 2023 Attendees
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *
  • Posts: 13071
  • Location: Canada
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2018, 12:51:38 PM »
Socially acceptable?

Sabbatical
Travel
Pursue a hobby/dream
Mid-life crisis
Health reasons (don't specify or you could try to hint at something that doesn't get perceived as weak, like a heart condition)

birdiegirl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 96
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2018, 10:43:03 PM »
Thanks for the ideas.  The biggest challenge (at least in my mind) is that I've worked with the same boss and mostly the same small team for my whole time with the company. 

They certainly will push for an explanation.  I can't really blame the environment because my boss has become the biggest cause of that...so can't really come out and say that.  And a non-answer would probably make me look like a jerk... and to a certain extent it would make me feel like one too.


Think I have a couple ideas - Like saying I'm ready for a change and I'm going to take a short break.  That I've been working since I was 15 years old and have never taken a break between jobs but now I fortunate enough to be able to do that.  And I'll say nothing about the kind of future jobs I have in mind.  Or maybe trying the vague health issues... she may try to push for more info but would probably get the message and back off if I stick with vague responses. 
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 10:51:01 PM by birdiegirl »

Livingthedream55

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Location: Massachusetts, USA
Re: Socially Acceptable Reason for Quitting?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2018, 09:07:37 AM »
Can you say "for personal reasons"?

Bosses tend to quickly back away once they hear that (they imagine all kinds of things like you are going to rehab, etc.) but you can't control where peoples imaginations take them in the absence of any real info.


 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!