Career Decisions: Quit or Get Fired?

You’ve built your life around your career and suddenly you wonder if your working world is about to crumble. When your daily work routine starts to include termination signals, it is time to decide whether to quit or get fired. Career decisions of this nature have long-term impacts and should not be made without considering all the possible outcomes. To have the most time possible to determine if you should quit before termination action, consider these warning signs your job may be ending.

Your Boss Has Lost Confidence
If you were previously included in decisions impacting the company and no longer are, your boss may have lost confidence in your performance. Any change in communication level with your supervisor could be a warning sign your job is in jeopardy. If this sign presents itself, consider whether the boss will be a good reference if the situation continues to deteriorate. Retaining your most recent employer as a reliable job reference is important in securing replacement employment. Should you quit or be fired? If the relationship cannot be repaired, departing on good terms, even if it means quitting, may be essential in receiving a positive recommendation.

Your Work Has Been Distributed to Others
If the boss has reassigned your work to others it may be a preliminary step in eliminating your job completely. If your hours have been cut or your pay classification lowered based on the work distribution, you may be laid off in the near future. Should this warning signal force you to quit? If this is your only indicator of impending job termination, waiting for further development before quitting is advisable. In many states, individuals who quit a job based on pay changes do not qualify for unemployment insurance unless the changes were substantial.

Your Company Has Merged or Outsourced Work Recently
A reorganization or outsourcing of work within a company may be an indicator of future job reductions. Even if you have been given new work projects, being asked to teach someone else to do your job may be a sign you will be laid off as soon as someone else is proficient at your duties. How much this warning sign tilts your quit-or-be-fired meter will depend on how fast the reorganization effort moves. While the warning may present itself, restructuring often is a closely held topic and only limited notice is given before lay offs begin.

Your Customers Downsized Projects
In a company where budgets are dictated by cost center profits, downsizing or contract cuts will probably impact the number of employees retained. When rumors of contract cancellations abound, gather as much information as possible on the bottom line impact to determine if your job is likely to be eliminated. Should you quit before the ax falls? Review your options for other employment before leaving a job based on a rumor. Determine where you stand in the seniority rankings and review your most recent job performance ratings. If these reviews would put you on the chopping block early in force reductions, spruce up your resume and start job shopping in hopes of finding employment before any terminations take place.

Your Employment Contract Expiration is Nearing
If your fixed period employment contract is soon to expire and no one will discuss an extension or a replacement contract, your employment time may be short. If you are under an employment probation period and your evaluations have been less than stellar, your job could be in jeopardy. Quit or be fired? The decision on this job ending warning sign has to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Will the evaluation at the end of performance hurt your chances for another job? Will the contract ending simply be viewed as the end of a need for your services? If so, working until the end could result in a positive work recommendation. If you have time to improve before probation ends, stick with the job and attempt to recover your performance reputation.

Leaving a job can be stressful under any circumstances. Recognizing these warning signs may allow you enough preparation time to soften the harsh reality of unemployment.

Sources: Personal Experience
Illinois Legal Aid| Qualifying for Unemployment Benefits