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Exit Your Job Gracefully, Even If You Think You'll Never Come Back

Posted by Mitch Corlett on September 30, 2013

I've had my share of terrible jobs, and if you're reading this, I bet you have too. There are entire industries that elicit grimaces and horrible flashbacks for their former (and sometimes current) employees. The mere mention of jobs like "fast-food worker" or "call center representative" often invoke a tacit understanding that your job was terrible - entire industries elicit grimaces and painful flashbacks. Bring up an old terrible job, and watch a former employee shiver as if a Dementor entered the room.

Or maybe you're in a great industry. But your company is in financial turmoil or poorly managed. Or your direct supervisor is a nightmare, or maybe you're actually suffering from a boss who is too nice (yes, sometimes nice bosses can be just as destructive to your career as the nightmarish ones).

There's always a fantasy in a terrible job. It's Day Whatever-54 of dreadful, boring existence. You're trying to escape the Pit of Despair - yeah, your coworkers nicknamed it years ago, and it stuck.

So you send out countless resumes, and the interviews you do get grant you tiny glimmers of hope that you need to keep sticking it out. Then you finally get an offer for a great company. And your current job is so terrible, all you want to do is trash your desk, walk up to your boss and yell in their face a string of expletives followed by "I QUIT!" It's tempting, but should you do it?

No, of course not! It's completely unprofessional, and burning your bridges is a terrible idea. Surprisingly, many people return to the organization they once left, after being absolutely sure they'd never, ever return. You never know what might happen - what if the job you just got doesn't work out? What if you get laid off suddenly and have no other immediate prospects?

Another possibility? If all goes well at your new position, you might have a chance to return to the Pit of Despair's corner office with a huge promotion. And you would have been the ideal candidate too, if not for that black mark on your file from when you flipped over your desk and cursed out your boss. Be rational - your future self will thank you.

Topics: Career Advice