I Quit!: Click for special report.

Is Quitting the Best Option?

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By Andrea N. Browne
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, September 6, 2007; 5:00 PM

It's not uncommon for workers to get frustrated with their jobs. Whether it's issues related to working for a company that is short-staffed or putting in overtime without compensation, there are a range of contributing factors.

While some are able to deal, others may decide that the only solution is to leave the company. But before making any hasty decisions that could negatively impact your professional or personal life, make sure your reason for quitting is valid.

Several HR experts weigh-in on which you should reconsider and which are legitimate:

When Emotions Run High

There can be plenty of stressful moments between you, your co-workers and your boss, says Ray Bennett, vice president of human resources for the American Bureau of Shipping in Houston, Tex. That's no reason, however, to decide on the fly to quit your job.

Often times something happens, such as not getting a promotion, and a worker's emotions take over, Bennett says. Instead of thinking rationally and talking with their manager about areas of needed improvement, the initial reaction is wanting to quit. "If the job works content-wise and growth opportunities are available, take a deep breath and think twice," he advises.

The Grass Isn't Always Greener

"Most workers aren't able to accurately assess if quitting is the best move," says Susan Heathfield, president of Heathfield Management Consultants and writer for About.com's human resources section. "They think that by leaving their current company, everything will be perfect." Job-hopping to get away from certain problems may not be wise, she continues. This includes issues relating to office culture and salary.

If you quit because of money, for instance, there's a strong chance it will become an issue with the new employer, Heathfield says. A worker can leave for a new job and get a 10 percent salary increase, but the following year their increase range will typically fall back down to the national average of four percent, she notes.

While the above are examples of why you should re-evaluate a decision to leave, below are a couple of reasons to consider a new job search:

Time for Growth

If you don't see any growth opportunities with your current employer, it may be time to move on, says Bennett. A lot of times workers will stick around simply because "they like their co-workers and are comfortable with the office environment, but know they can't advance," he adds.

Bennett warns that being complacent can have negative effects because higher-ups tend to form misconceptions about you and your talents. This can reflect in other areas such as pay raises, he continues. If a worker finds themselves in such a situation, then it's time re-evaluate the importance of professional development. And leaving the company may be the only option.

Butting Heads With Management

In the working world, a commonly used phrase is: "You never quit a job, you quit your manager," says Patricia Mathews, president of St. Louis, Mo.-based human resources consulting firm Workplace Solutions. If you're working with a bad manager and have made repeated attempts to switch departments and remove yourself from the situation, it is time to move on, she says.

It should be in the organization's interest to keep good workers. If they are not demonstrating that, then you need to do what's right for your career.

Finding Resolution

Bennett and Heathfield agree that before making a final decision, talk with someone you can trust outside of the company. Unhappy workers often get stuck in a negative mindset and nothing about the current job will ever be good enough, Heathfield says. Expressing your concerns with someone who has an unbiased opinion can help pinpoint things that aren't obvious to you, such as financial stability or if the new job can really help advance your career, Bennett says. Be certain that you're leaving for a better opportunity and not simply running away from something, he advises.

If you are still on the fence about leaving, talk to your manager about taking on more challenges and pursuing other options within the company, Mathews adds. Explain what your career goals are and ask if there is anything coming down the line that fits those wants and needs, she says. "Ultimately, quitting should be a last resort."


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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