Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to Quit Like a Man

For the first time in my life I quit. It was a significant milestone in my story and I felt like I was going into uncharted territory. It went against the way I'd been raised and it was uncomfortable- but it was the right thing to do. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, hopefully you'll find the things I learned to be helpful.
My parents raised me to finish what I commit to and for that I am eternally grateful. Wether it was the middle school basketball team that was a waste of time or attaining the Eagle Scout rank, I was taught to stick it through until it was finished. Little did I know that they were shaping a huge chunk of my character by not letting me take the easy way out. There's an article in the works about sticking with it- so don't think we're getting soft. Sometimes a man's job is no longer worthy of his time and effort- for me that was my first job out of college. 

Make your decision
Before you do anything else, pray for wisdom. No matter how I felt about the job I had, I knew God was the one who provided it and used it to provide for my family. I didn't really feel qualified to tell God his provision was no longer good enough for me, so I needed to feel like God's hand was equally in my leaving as it was in my coming. This is a lot easier said than done and I didn't do it perfectly. It can be a huge challenge when your emotions are involved so this is a great time to involve your spouse and/or your close guy friends to help you sort though the decision. Be prepared to wait. I was ready to go 18 months ago, but the good Lord saw fit to keep me in the position until just now. If you're thinking about moving ahead without God's blessing re-read the story of Jonah and be sure to let me know how that works out for ya. 

Anticipate your move
When you get the green light to move forward with your release, make the transition as thoughtfully as possible. Regardless of how you feel towards your current work situation, a real man looks past his feelings towards the good of others. A significant part of your exit strategy should be helping the company quickly get through the void you're about to create. How this plays itself out is going to be unique in every scenario, but what I did was hire a recent college graduate that I knew would be able to replace me after about a year of training with me. I also created a manual for the position I was in- everything I do and how I do it. Make yourself as replaceable as possible in this time. If you like the idea of mass chaos and sticking it to the man after your desk is cleared out you probably need to check your motives. 

Leave with dignity
The world says it's cool to give everyone a real piece of your mind on your way out the door. Scripture points in the opposite direction. When your time is up be Christlike. Submit your notice in the form of a resignation letter. Thank your boss for the time and effort they have invested into you. Let them know you'll be available to help in the time of transition. Give them a reasonable ending date. Two weeks is typical, but your situation and/or job may necessitate something different.

I repeated a line that'd I'd heard earlier when discussing my resignation with my boss: "it's not personal, it's just business." I immediately regretted how cliche and hollow that sounded. The fact of the matter is- it is personal. When you spend several years of your life working with people, spending the best hours of your day with them it becomes personal. In the span of time I've worked at this job I'd gotten engaged, married, co-workers had babies, lost loved ones, bought their first home- these people, whether you like it or not, are part of your life and you are part of theirs. I've been on this soapbox before, but a godly man makes an impact on whatever community he is a part of and your co-workers should miss the Christ-likeness and diligence you brought with you (again, that's easier said than done and I hope to continue to grow in this). Since it is personal, don't be surprised when people take your resignation personally. Anger, sadness, or even apathy can be common responses. Continue to respond in love. 

As men, we should continually strive for excellence in the workplace. There is no reason our last day should see any less effort and thought than the hundredth or thousandth day. Have any of you faced a similar situation? How did you handle it?

You may also like:
The Merits of Setting Down Roots
Business Travel on the Up & Up
What I Look for When I'm Hiring Someone

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