On quitting your job and forging ahead

Disclaimer: The employment situations talked about in this article will not be attached to their corporate entities to create distance between the job and the former employee and also to avoid creating a bad name for the company as a whole.

It’s not uncommon to find a St. Kate’s student who is attending school full time and also working at least one job.  Sometimes however, situations can arise where we begin considering if our best option is to remain in our current job or to turn in our resignation and find other employment to fit our needs.

Balancing a combination of school, life, and being an employee can be a hard balance to make, but it’s even harder to make work when something is preventing you from having a positive experience at your job.

Prior to leaving your job, Kay Blassingame, a Career Counselor in the Career Development office, recommends that students think about two things:

“Assess if the job is a job you want to keep, aside from the problem you might be having, and see if you can improve the situation,” said Blassingame.  “If you can’t work out a solution to enable you to stay, then what you’d want to do is find the next job, start interviewing, and applying for other jobs that would work for you… and secure that job before you give your notice to the current employer.”

The Career Development office offers career counseling, resume help and much more.

The Career Development office offers career counseling, resume help and much more.

There are a number of reasons why students decide that it might be time to seek other employment and truthfully, it depends largely on what you can handle.  Here are five reasons many students decide to quit their job:

  • Lack of Accommodation.  Day student classes can start at 8:00AM and the last possible class ends at 9:30PM.  Many Day students choose to have their classes in the middle of the day rather than strictly in the morning and strictly at night.  When a day student is hired, one of the first things they’ll ask about is if their class schedule will be taken into account when they are being scheduled during the week.
  • Not Enough Income.  It’s a valid reason to move on from a job, even if there are no other problems at your current workplace.  Personal goals and lifestyles develop.  If your goal is to own a house someday, a minimum wage food service job may not help you get there.  If you want to go out to eat more often, you’re going to need income to support this wish.  It’s as simple as that.
  • Strained Employer-Employee Relationships.  It’s hard to get through a day at work when you not only have to worry about the responsibilities you accepted upon being hired, but when you have to worry about talking to your boss or rumors around the workplace as well.Shannon Bernard, ‘19, said that in one of her previous jobs, “I was being told about accusations made by [another employee] about myself and other staff.”  Incidents such as this one continued and in some instances escalated for Bernard and ended in an intrusive text from her boss.“I felt so betrayed and violated by [what she said] that I quit right then and there,” said Bernard.
  • Stressful Work Environments.  Similar to when you have a difficult relationship with your employer, it’s difficult when there are too many things about your work environment that you can’t control.  Lack of training, being short-staffed, and incompatible management/employee styles can lead to a stressful work environment because there are too many moving pieces.
  • Professional Ambitions.  On reflecting about the end of one of her jobs, Bernard says, “I realized that customer service is not what I wanted to do with my life.”  As a Sonography major, Bernard started looking for jobs related to the healthcare field, since that was the direction she wanted to grow in professionally.  While working in a customer service position helped her learn how to handle difficult situations with people, there was only so much she could learn before she needed to find employment directly related to the healthcare field.

In the event of quitting your job, there are certain steps that need to be taken in order to ensure that you leave your current job on a positive note and on the best of terms.  According to Blassingame, one of the most important first steps is turning in a verbal and written resignation.

“[Writing down your resignation] is a nice thing to have on paper so that you can do a thoughtful review of what you gained from the job, why you were grateful to have it, and express your thankfulness for the position.  It’s just a very nice way to leave a company.  You never know, you may want to come back someday,” said Blassingame.

When resigning from your current position, it’s important to give as much notice as possible.  There is no right answer for how much notice to give, but two weeks should be the minimum amount of notice that you give your employer.

It’s best to leave your job on a positive note, but that’s not always the case for everyone.  This might mean that you harbor negative feelings about the place where you used to work or perhaps you quit in a less than ideal way.  Shannon Bernard left a negative job experience wishing that she had handled the situation a little better, though she doesn’t regret leaving her job.

“I left on a very negative note.  I know I didn’t handle it well or maturely… I would definitely have wanted to sit down and express my concerns and formally put in my two weeks face-to-face,” said Bernard.

Blassingame recommends doing a self-reflection– take time to consider the circumstances that caused you to leave and also consider your role in that situation and think about what you would change in the event that difficult circumstances surround you in a future job.  She also recommends focusing on the aspects of your former job that helped you grow when you eventually move on to a new job.

“Don’t ever put [your former employer] down.  Think about what you’re grateful for from the experience and just try to forgive and let go… You’re a little wiser for your experience.  When you’re interviewing for a job in the future… you can think about what [environments and circumstances] you want to avoid,” said Blassingame.

Quitting a job can be quite personal.  There are many valid reasons for a student needing to change jobs and one shouldn’t feel bad about making that choice.  The best advice that St. Kate’s students and staff can give to each other is to make sure to put in the effort to make the end of your work experience a positive one.
The Career Development office on the fourth floor in Coeur de Catherine offers career counseling, resume help, job interview help, and anything related to getting a job and choosing a major for any St. Kate’s student who asks.  Call 651-690-8890 or send an email to askcareer@stkate.edu to ask questions about available resources or schedule an appointment.

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