Are you so unhappy at work that you feel like you could just get up from your desk, walk out of the office and never look back? I am here to tell you, “Stop! Don’t walk out on that job!”
There are many situations in the workplace that can bring about a great deal of unhappiness in a person. You may have a manager with whom you quite simply clash with on a personal level. You might find yourself uncomfortable with the ethical behaviour of the management team or staff. Perhaps the culture demands an unhealthy amount of overtime and your family life is suffering a great deal of damage as a result of having no work-life balance. In some of the worst circumstances I have been witness to, an employee can find themselves almost persecuted because someone, a colleague or even a member of the management team, has taken a dislike to them or does not want them in the team for whatever reason. We would all like to believe that people are nothing but professional in the workplace but let’s be fair – people are still people. Sometimes personality wins over professionalism. It happens all the time.
These are all circumstances under which most people would have empathy for the person living through it, and some people would even understand why someone would walk out of their job over it. The problem is, if you do walk out of the company, you can’t prove it happened the way you say it did. Even if someone backs you up, it’s unlikely to be your manager, and any recruiter will tell you, we need a reference from your manager. Even if your reason for leaving is entirely justifiable, the fact that you walked out without giving proper notice, will burn any bridge you thought you might have with that employer. A good recruiter and a diligent prospective employer will need to confirm your story or account for your time with that employer.
If you are so unhappy at work that you want to run, it is absolutely vital that you hold on tight to your emotions, and you make your exit professionally. I will offer you some advice on how best to do this.
You need to tender your resignation officially and be as honest as you possibly can be – when your problem is with your manager it’s significantly harder, but remaining neutral and citing personal reasons is a good way to go when you are in this particular pickle. Make sure you do not show weakness and make sure you ask that your manager or another senior member of staff can stand as your referee. If you have personal differences with your manager or a colleague, try to be honest and light about it – in reality, we don’t all like each other. Sometimes the connection between two people is just not there – no one is to blame for that and being honest about it from the outset can be the best way to go. I have conducted many a reference check where the manager admits that they and the employee did not see eye to eye, but that did not detract from the employee’s ability to do the work.
The hard-truth facts are, you cannot leave any employer off your CV, you should never walk out on a job without giving proper notice, and if you cannot get a reference from your most recent employer, you will be regretted from the majority of the roles for which you apply. If you burn that bridge, it will take a recruiter or an employer with a great deal of empathy, trust or insight, to genuinely consider your application. Most will simply decide the risk is not worth the effort.
So please, I say, think twice. Take deep breaths, count to ten, take a walk around the block, chat to your family, friends or a good recruiter for support, but DO NOT walk out of your job. There is a good way to get out of a bad situation!
Written by experienced commercial finance recruitment consultant, Cathy Symmonds – firstname.lastname@example.org