Many times, employees know (or at least have a hunch) that they could be getting fired soon. To help prevent embarrassment, some people consider resigning before being dismissed. But, is that always the best decision? The answer is both yes and no. There are advantages and disadvantages to both quitting ahead of being fired, or waiting to be let go.
It’s understandable why you might want to leave your company before being told that you’re no longer wanted by your boss. Resigning before termination means that you don’t have to deal with a difficult situation. Many people think getting fired can also cause damage to their work reputation and may make it harder to find another job.
But, quitting ahead of time has its drawbacks, too. It might save you the embarrassment of getting let go. But, if you aren’t prepared, you could find yourself in a difficult situation. Simply put, it’s probably not a good idea to resign to save face.
There can be some benefits to leaving a company before you’re let go, though – if you do it the right way. It all depends on how prepared you can be before leaving, and why you feel you might be getting fired in the first place.
Is It Better to Quit or Be Fired?
This guide will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of quitting before you’re fired. If you fear you’re about to be let go, is it better to be fired or leave without notice? Many factors play into this, and doing it the right way is essential. When you resign, you still have to keep in mind that you’ll eventually have to get another job. It’s never a good idea to burn bridges with any company.
With that in mind, let’s look at what you should expect if you decide to quit before being let go. But first, you should be entirely sure that you’re about to get fired in the first place.
How Can I Tell if I’m About to Be Fired?
Some people are completely caught off guard when they’re fired. Even during the process, they can’t think of a viable reason for being let go. But, in most cases, it’s relatively easy to pick up on a few signs that you’re going to be terminated soon. Sometimes, it has nothing to do with you. Other times, the job itself may not be the right fit.
Some common clues that your boss could be thinking about letting you go include:
- Your boss starts writing down any correspondence between you. This includes things that don’t need to be written down. They may even start to ‘cc’ emails to other people within the company. Email documentation makes a strong case for HR.
- You get left out of projects. If your employer starts leaving you out of things you’d otherwise be involved in, it’s not a good sign. This is especially true if there isn’t a ‘valid’ reason for it. If you’re needed elsewhere, and your skills can benefit another area of the business, it may not be anything to worry about. But, telling the difference between these situations is pretty straightforward.
- Co-workers and your boss start acting differently around you. This is a clear sign that something might be wrong, and perhaps rumors are circulating about your termination. If people are suddenly quiet or treating you differently, they could have a hunch that you’re about to be let go, or they could know something you don’t.
So, if you’re pretty sure you’re about to be fired, what’s the best thing to do? Is it better to quit or be fired? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of doing just that so you can make the best decision for yourself.
Can I Avoid Getting Fired?
In some cases, if you feel you’re about to be let go, you may be able to turn the situation around. If you don’t want to quit and enjoy your job, the best thing you can do is be upfront about the situation. Try to schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss it. You may be able to convince them to give you a trial period so you can improve any performance issues they see.
Or, maybe you’re just a better fit for a different position within the company. If you genuinely don’t want to be let go, try to remain positive and work with your employers. If they see your drive and determination, they may be more willing to give you a break. This doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be terminated, but you may have a longer period of time to prove yourself.
What Are the Advantages of Resigning Before Termination?
The biggest advantage of leaving your job before you get fired is that you’re leaving on your terms. This can look better to future potential employers than a red mark on your resume. You can frame out the reasons you left in a clearer and more concise way during job interviews. There is no real way to make getting terminated sound better, no matter how you might be able to spin it.
Your employer may appreciate the fact that you’re willing to resign before they have to perform the difficult task of letting you go. Why would it benefit both of you? It can benefit your employer because they’ll save on unemployment costs. You may be able to work out a deal with them where you can get severance pay or a strong recommendation to another company. If done tactfully and on good terms, resigning can be a good thing for both you, and your boss.
Finally, if you’ve been unhappy with your job for quite awhile (and so have your coworkers), your quitting could provide a sense of freedom and relief. You may even spark something in your coworkers that allow them to demand better treatment or working conditions, too. While you should never quit a job to be a hero, ‘taking one for the team’ isn’t always a bad thing. It can make you feel confident about your skills and abilities when you’re going into your next job.
What Are the Disadvantages of Quitting Before Getting Fired?
Unfortunately, there are also some drawbacks to consider if you want to leave your job before you’re terminated. The obvious disadvantage is that you won’t be eligible for unemployment benefit. If you can’t work out a deal to get a severance package, that will leave you with no job and no money coming in.
That’s another big issue with quitting in general. If you don’t have another job lined up, income is something to think about. It can be tempting to leave a job you’re unhappy with, but unless you have something else around the corner that can provide you with a paycheck, you may want to hold out. At least when you get fired, you’ll usually receive unemployment pay.
Finally, quitting isn’t usually easy. Even if you’re not happy at work, going to your boss for that type of conversation can be awkward and uncomfortable. If you’re the kind of person who tries to avoid confrontation, you might find it somewhat tricky to resign before getting fired.
Reasons to Stay at Your Job
Even if you have legitimate reasons for wanting to leave, it may not always be the best choice. It can be challenging to stay in a job where you’re unhappy, but it will be even more challenging to be without a job with no other plans.
If you’re thinking about quitting, consider the following reasons to stay for now:
- You’ll be more comfortable with your job search if you’re still employed while you’re looking.
- Dismissal is often a reason for a bad job interview.
- Most potential employers feel better networking with people who still have jobs
- You can avoid awkward conversations about quitting during your interviews for a new position if you’re still employed.
- You don’t have any other income coming in
- You’re not sure what you want to do instead/don’t have a plan
How to Deal with Being Fired
First of all, it’s important to understand that anyone can get fired. It happens in all types of situations. Maybe you saw it coming, or maybe you were blindsided by it. In any case, it can be hard to handle if you don’t know what to do next.
Use these tips to help guide you on what you should and should not do if you’re fired from your job:
- Focus on your next steps. Determine how you’re going to find another job quickly and what you need to do to make that happen.
- Think about how you’re going to tell future employers about being fired. You can make it more neutral than negative.
- Restrict negative comments about the company to friends, family, and future employers.
- If you’re feeling shocked and emotional about the firing, ask for a meeting with your HR professional or boss to later discuss unemployment benefits, etc. Give yourself some time to breathe if you need it. This can help you from saying something you might later regret.
What Not to Say (or Do) If You Get Fired
Whether you knew it was coming or not, getting fired can be an emotional experience. If you let your emotions get the best of you, you could say something unprofessional and something that could hurt your chances of getting another job quickly. Don’t let the traumatic experience of being fired keep you from doing the right things before you officially leave.
Here are a few things you shouldn’t do or say after you’ve been let go:
- Don’t leave any professional or personal documents behind. If you get fired suddenly and are forced to leave, you could lose anything that was only saved to your work computer. Back up things that are important to you and things that you have a right to take with you.
- Don’t shy away from asking for a recommendation. This will usually come with a separation agreement (where you can also discuss severance pay).
- Don’t blame your boss or other people for your termination.
- Don’t be afraid to ask why you’re being fired. If it seems unjust to you or is unexpected, you have the right to ask what the basis of your termination is. It’s up to your employer why they want to let you go. They may not give you a solid answer. But, you’ll never know if you don’t ask. If nothing else, it can offer you peace of mind in an otherwise stressful situation.
The most important thing you shouldn’t do when you’re fired? You shouldn’t lose hope in finding a new job or faith in yourself. Some of the greatest minds in the world were fired from countless jobs. If they had given up, we wouldn’t have some of the fantastic businesses or inventions we know and love today. Just because you were terminated from one job doesn’t mean there isn’t another one out there for you. It’s easy to get down and feel hopeless when you get let go. Don’t let it bring you down as you start to search for new employment.
How to Quit with Class
If you decide to quit, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to resign with grace and positivity. It will make your last few weeks at the job better for yourself, and everyone around you. It can even make finding another job easier if you and your boss are still on good terms. So, what are some tips to resign with a bit of class?
- Work out the transfer of responsibilities before you leave. If someone is taking your place, offer to train them. Or, if your responsibilities are being shifted to someone else within the business, make sure they know how to take care of everything. This is a kind gesture that can go a long way in making you look good before you leave.
- Write out a resignation letter. It shouldn’t be anything too lengthy or detailed. But, it should have a thankful and pleasant tone. Include your last date of work, and how grateful you’ve been to have such an excellent opportunity.
- Keep your reasons for quitting positive, not negative. It’s best to develop a story around why you’re quitting. If you’re unhappy, don’t shy away from the truth, but try to put a positive spin on it. For example, you might say that you believe you’re a better fit for a different business instead of saying you can’t stand your current company’s policies.
- Quit in person and do it directly with your boss before you tell anyone else. Bring your resignation letter with you and give them the respect they deserve for the situation. Quitting over the phone or via email might be accepted by some employers, but it’s much more tactful to do it in person.
Is It Better to Be Fired or Quit Without Notice?
It’s rarely a good idea to quit without notice. Even if you think you’re about to be fired, giving your boss enough time is the right thing to do. But, there are some cases in which leaving sooner could be the better option.
You can feel justified in quitting without notice if:
- An employee or manager has been physically or sexually abusive/harassing in any way.
- It’s unsafe for you to keep working or performing your specific responsibilities.
- You’re not being paid the salary that was agreed upon between you and your employer.
- You’re being asked to do something illegal or against your moral standards.
- You have a personal family emergency that needs your immediate attention.
Even in these cases, you might not have to quit. The best thing to do if you’re experiencing any of these situations is to talk to the HR professional. They might be able to help you work through different options that will work better for you. If something is happening that you feel isn’t right, they can also look into the situation.
When Is It Better to Resign?
Most people quit their job with too much confidence. This is usually because they’re excited about the idea of starting something new. Unfortunately, that confidence isn’t always the best thing at keeping you level-headed. There are times when it’s better to quit, and there are times when it’s better to get fired, even though that can sound like a difficult thing to accept.
It’s better to quit if you already have a job lined up. You should also have enough money set aside to live on for about six months. Even if you do have a new job in the works, there is no guarantee that one will work out.
It’s better to wait and get fired if you need severance pay or some type of unemployment payment to keep you going. If you’re confident you’re about to be let go, you can use that time to prepare yourself and your family for what’s to come.
Work to get a new job lined up and take advantage of any upcoming opportunities. Now that you know what to do in these different scenarios, we hope your experience can be less stressful – no matter the outcome.
Here is some advice on how to get a job if you’ve been fired.
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