You Can’t Fire Me! I QUIT!

Posted February 1, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves
Hand written "I Quit" on a greenboard

Getting fired is one of the most emotional experiences a person can go through in a career. It’s easy to think less of yourself in that moment, to be concerned about your future, and to be incredibly afraid of what might happen in your career. Generally, though, there are two types of firings in any job – the kind you see coming, and the kind you don’t see coming. One is not more or less painful than the other, but anticipating getting fired produces another big question. Should you quit before they can fire you?

The Levo League asked this question and gave some great advice here. One piece of advice we loved was this gem:

Is there anything you can do so you don’t get fired? Try to ask your boss about what you can do to improve your performance. If your employer provides access to an employee assistance program, use it. You can work with a career counselor or coach to figure out what is your best move. Terry Bacon, author of The Elements of Power and Elements of Influencetold The Daily News, “If you know you’re going to be fired, turn a lemon into lemonade and make the best possible transition you can. The worst thing is to be in denial and pretend it’s not happening.”

In addition to Levo’s great advice, we have a few questions you might consider before you say “You can’t fire me! I QUIT!”

  • Are you financially stable? If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, the truth is, it’s often better to be fired than to quit because you become eligible for unemployment.
  • Are you ready to explain the scenario? If you get fired, you have to be ready to explain getting fired. The same goes for quitting. Which scenario would you rather explain in a job interview? The answer to this question could change your mind about how to end the relationship with your employer.
  • Are you being fired or laid off? If you know your position is being eliminated for budgetary or similar reasons, you’re being laid off and not fired. In that situation, you may have more the option to negotiate a severance package more freely than you could if you are just being let go for performance or political reasons.

Ultimately, whether you quit preemptively or wait to be fired, your career will have consequences. It’s up to you to determine which story is the least damaging to your journey in business. Take your time as much as you can, and make the right decision for you.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."