Q. I am desperately miserable in my job and plan to quit soon. But I’m having problems deciding exactly when to do it – on one hand, I don’t want to be here a minute longer than I have to, but I also don’t want to burn any bridges with my employer. I am feeling guilty about doing it soon after getting an annual bonus and right before a (relatively expensive) office party. I don’t have another job lined up yet.
A. In addition to your feelings, there are other concerns to consider when deciding when to leave a job you can’t stand.
Financial: Can you afford to leave without another job lined up, especially in this particularly tough job market? Are you prepared to live without unemployment insurance as well as without an income for what could be many months? When you resign voluntarily you cannot collect unemployment benefits.
How “miserable” are you? If going to work is making you sick or causing a high level of anxiety that effects and limits other areas of your life, then leaving is essential to your health and well being. If, on the other hand, it is tolerable and you can conduct a job search while working, then you may be better off staying a bit longer while you get a reality check on what your job search will entail.
Are you under any time constraints that you must honor? Policy or contractual limitations regarding your bonus and the period of time you must work for the company following receipt of that payment may exist and you should be certain of its terms.
Although you must ultimately resign, you are wise to retain the goal of not burning bridges with your employer. Whatever timing you ultimately choose for leaving your current job, continuing to respect the needs and expectations of your employer will serve you well in the long run.