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Thursday, June 26, 2008

When to Talk to Your Manager About Quitting

As you have read the posts so far, the topics of raises, promotions, and quitting (in general) have been covered. This post covers that gray area/time when you aren't sure whether you are going to stay or what to quit your current job.

Honesty is the best policy, but there is always discretion. If you are thinking about quiting, you better some darn good reasons and an escape plan prepared. Similar to asking for a raise or promotion, you need to clearly understand and communicate why it is that you are considering this fairly drastic change. It may be simple, such as you and your spouse are moving, or retiring. It may also be complex, where the topics are difficult to discuss. In either case, be honest, factual, but use discretion when necessary. As always, don't let your emotions get the better of you!

Before going in, you need to ask the following questions:

1. Have I talked about these issues or concerns previously, and had a plan to resolve them?

2. Are these issue quantifiable, factual, or emotional (job satisfaction)?

3. Have I done everything possible to resolve these issues, such as speaking with HR, peers, or mentors?

4. What are the minimum requirements for satisfaction? Are those realistic?

5. What is the final straw?

If you can successfully answer these questions, it is time to make an appointment with your manager and discuss them. Hopefully, your manager is aware of the issues and has been working behind the scenes on your behalf. Hopefully, you have been willing to be part of the solution and willing to compromise. This is going to be difficult, but it may reap great rewards.

To borrow a principle from Stephen R. Covey, be willing to accept that you may not be able to solve one or all of the problems at one time. By leaving that option open, you may have given your manager the leeway or time necessary to "make something happen." You may find when the stress of resolution is gone, new possibilities open up.

What happens when you have followed all of this advice and you just can't take it any more? Read my post called "The Graceful Exit."

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