Fifty Ways to Leave Your Loser

Bob Goldman on

Paul Simon came up with "50 ways to leave your lover." I wish I could say the same when it comes to leaving your loser of a job. Unfortunately, there are only seven ways to leave a job. If you don't like it, don't blame Paul Simon. Blame Harvard.

The distinguished Harvard Business Review -- HBR to its friends -- came up with the seven-ways concept, or so I learned from "Pick one of these 7 ways to quit your job," a recent Dominique Rodgers post on the Monster website.

Frankly, I wish the HBR would stick to what it does best -- yes, I'm talking about the annual COO Swimsuit issue -- because when the Ivy League eggheads at Harvard start messing with my professional life, I get a serious case of what they would call, at Harvard Medical School, the heebie-jeebies.

But maybe I'm being unfair. According to Rodgers' post, Gallup's State of the American Workplace survey reports that " 51% of American workers are actively looking for a different job or watching for openings right now."

If you are part of the disgruntled 51%, you are free choose any of the seven approved ways, but you must avoid the one way you most want to use. Hate to tell you, but according to the Monster experts, "going out in a blaze of swear words is never a good idea."

The "by-the-book quit" is certainly the most politic way to go. Telling your manager that you have accepted a new position and will be leaving in two weeks is "respectful, professional, and provides room for the company to make the best choices to prepare for your departure."

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I suppose there is something worthwhile in giving the company time to burn your access card and fumigate your cubicle, but according to workplace expert Robby Slaughter, you should only take this approach to taking off "when relationships are generally positive and when you have respect for your job."

Since that's never going to happen, better move on to No. 2.

In the "grateful quit," you take extra time to explain how appreciative "you are for the opportunity to have worked at the company, and sometimes includes an offer to train a new person." The being grateful bit will probably not be possible, unless you've been hiding acting skills worthy of Meryl Streep. Besides, the last thing your employer will want is a clone of you. (Your training will be helpful to your replacement, who you can school on the best place to take a nap and which door to use when sneaking out at 3 p.m.)

The "in-the-loop quit" assumes you have previously told your manager that you are looking to leave. You are advised to skip this way if "you're leaving for a direct competitor or you're concerned about an early dismissal from your current job."


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