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Do I stay (for a little bit) or do I go?
February 14, 2012 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I really dislike my current job. I have a job offer from a company that would love to have me and is willing to accommodate all timing logistics. However, I still feel guilty about quitting my current job, for a myriad of reasons. Give me permission to quit.

I'm currently working in the accounting industry, conducting financial audits. I've been in this position since September of 2011, following my graduation in May of 2011 from a prestigious business program that cost me a buttload of money, and a supplementary accounting diploma over the summer. I interned for my current company in the summer of 2010, too, so in total I've been with this company for 10 months.

I've always known that business wasn't really the place for me, but I saw it as a compromise between what I really wanted to do (writing, design-y things), and something that would get me a job. I always thought that I would pay my dues in accounting, get my auditing certification, and then use that professional certification as a springboard for networking and find something else I actually enjoy. Everyone I talked to about this plan talked about how wise it was to be cautious, which further cemented my belief that I needed to put off my "dream" for a few more years. I didn't enjoy my business program, either, but I stuck it out in the name of pragmatism, so I thought another three years in accounting wouldn't be that terrible.

Well, it kind of is. I find aspects of my workplace really toxic. Misogyny and sexism runs rampant, everybody associates in cliques, and it's very much an extension of high school. The nature of the work is utterly mindnumbing to me. I find myself frustrated with the lack of autonomy and the lack of meaning in what I do. Understanding the principles behind financial auditing just makes me not believe in auditing as a profession, and I end each day feeling like the client is wasting their money and my time. Being at this job exacerbates my depression in a really unhealthy way, and I dread waking up every day. I'm a conscientious worker and I take a lot of pride in my work, and I hate how apathetic I've become at this job in just six months.

I've reached out to a few friends about it, and I've received a job offer for a web development position with a boutique advertising agency that a friend of the family owns. I've done some contract design/development work for them in the past, and I get along really well with everyone at the office. The boss is really excited to have me because their web development team is hopelessly short on staff and expertise right now. I would have a lot of autonomy within the role and I'd get to help shape the scope of the projects we take on. While I never saw myself as a developer, I've been daydreaming lately about teaching myself more of web technology at this position and finding myself practically giddy at the thought. They're willing for me to start whenever I'm ready - I could have a job if I walked in there tomorrow. I have a bit of savings, enough for the move and a few months' expenses and whatever exam fees I may have to pay back to my current company. I have no debt, and a good credit rating.

Due to the cyclical nature of the accounting industry, my current company is going through a really busy time right now. Busy season typically ends at the end of April, and my original plan had been to talk to HR in the middle of March and let them know I'm leaving (so that they don't register me for courses/exams), and then leave once our current stream of clients settle down. Another reason I want to stay for the rest of busy season is because we're pretty understaffed right now due to some turnover that occurred right before busy season started, and I'd feel really bad depriving them of one more employee.

But I've also been working exhausting hours due to our being understaffed, and every day I fantasize about just walking in and giving my two weeks. I have a two week gap in the middle of March when I don't have any clients scheduled, and I've been thinking I should just leave then, instead of waiting until May.

However, the HR people at this company really like me and I've gotten really good reviews/feedback from other seniors I've worked with at the company. Since they've "groomed" me since I was a summer intern I kind of feel beholden to them. I know that staying longer (even by a few months) at a job I hate due to past investment is just further feeding into the sunk cost, especially since I intend to never touch accounting again, but I can't help but feel like I'd be letting them down. The convention in the industry is that you stay three years to get your certification, and I've never heard of anyone quitting before their professional exams are done, let alone six months into their first year. And even though I have my next job lined up, I'm concerned that a six-month-stint on my resume immediately following graduation would look flakey to future employers.

TL;DR: I want to leave my job now, and have the means to do so. I feel like I owe it to them to stay until May. Do I?
posted by Be cool, sodapop to Work & Money (40 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
There is never a good time to leave, leave now. I left a similar sort of position and my last day was right before another huge crunch time. They were fine without me, and I was able to move on to a job that makes me happy. You have my permission to quit and not feel bad about it.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 12:44 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


No you do not owe anybody anything, this is your job not your family. If they needed to fire you, they would do so without hesitation.

Plus: Misogyny and sexism runs rampant, everybody associates in cliques, and it's very much an extension of high school. The nature of the work is utterly mindnumbing to me.

That sounds truly horrible... you owe it to yourself to get out. Do it, do it now, never look back.
posted by pwally at 12:45 PM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


You have my permission to quit.
posted by empath at 12:45 PM on February 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's a job, not a marriage. Quit.
posted by sugarbomb at 12:45 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you don't pull the trigger now, you're going to convince yourself to not pull the trigger later. Do what's best for you (moving to a new company) and for your current employer (getting rid of a terminally unhappy employee.) You have my permission to quit and feel good about your decision.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:46 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Keeping staffing up is their problem. Being understaffed is their problem. Keeping their clients happy is their problem. And your worries about job-hopping are invalidated by the fact that you have your next job lined up; as long as you don't leave that one after six months, its' very very unlikely that anybody will care, at all, ever.

Take your new job and don't look back.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:46 PM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


They'd let you go today if it benefited the business to do so.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:46 PM on February 14, 2012 [18 favorites]


listen, ppl spend 8+ hours a day, 7 days a week at their jobs, around people not of their choosing. if you hate your job and the people you work with, it's exhausting and life-sucking.

if you have a job offer, quit the job you have and hate now.
posted by violetk at 12:50 PM on February 14, 2012


You have my permission to quit right now.
posted by agatha_magatha at 12:50 PM on February 14, 2012


In a poorly run company, there's always understaffing and crunch time, and when you let them guilt you for that you're just enabling their addiction.

Get. Out.
posted by straw at 12:51 PM on February 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


You have my permission to quit. You also have my permission to blast Wu-Tang Clan from your cubicle throughout your last week.
posted by theodolite at 12:52 PM on February 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also, if you're a Freakonomics fan: The Upside of Quitting
posted by sugarbomb at 12:54 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do it! I'm excited for you. You current role sounds awful, and like everyone above has said, you're just a tool for them; they'll let you go whenever it suits them. You don't owe them anything.
posted by v.barboni at 12:56 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm new here so I might not be doing this right, but here goes:

DTMFA
posted by some loser at 12:58 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


And even though I have my next job lined up, I'm concerned that a six-month-stint on my resume immediately following graduation would look flakey to future employers.

It's OK. Just keep the next one for a while, and no one will think any worse of you. Quit.

I find aspects of my workplace really toxic. Misogyny and sexism runs rampant, everybody associates in cliques, and it's very much an extension of high school.

Definitely quit.

The convention in the industry is that you stay three years to get your certification, and I've never heard of anyone quitting before their professional exams are done, let alone six months into their first year.

But you won't be in that industry, will you? I somehow doubt future web development jobs will look at your resume and think, "Oh, man, no accounting certifications, no deal!" Quit.

You've got a great opportunity that would make you much happier, go for it. The only downside I can see is if you later decide to quit your awesome, happy-making, gives-you-autonomy web job to go back to accounting. I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. Quit, and don't look back.
posted by mrgoat at 12:59 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have regretted the jobs I should have quit (but didn't) more than the jobs I turned down or left. Give the company fair notice, but you do not have to bend over backwards to be extra-nice to them for their convenience.

Back in the mid-90s I interviewed for a contract job at a university that could have led to a secure, well-paid tenure track job in the library system. The hours were awful, my supervisor appeared physically incapable of smiling, and the library ceiling was low, with almost no natural light getting into the cave. They offered me the job and I came in again to accept. When I walked out to the sunlight, I thought hard, hated myself for being indecisive, then found a pay phone and called them back to rescind my acceptance. I started freelancing erratic hours with another set of clients in a related field, and it's where I've found a good fit ever since.

One small detail: you said you're debt-free. Does that include student debt? As long as you have a plan to pay it back (and there should be ways to significantly reduce your amount owing if you simply can't afford to pay it back), then really, quit and do some interesting and challenging work that doesn't make you feel like shit.
posted by maudlin at 1:02 PM on February 14, 2012


Your one responsibility is to you. Do what is most important to you.
posted by episodic at 1:05 PM on February 14, 2012


You don't owe them shit. And you have an offer!

Doesn't it feel good to be a gangsta?
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:11 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you feel that guilty, split the difference. Quit now, offer to stay to May 1 to finish up tax season. They may or may not agree, but a toxic workplace is way more pleasant once you know you have a specific end date. And it's always nice not to burn bridges -- you might need an accounting firm one day.

(I don't think you need to feel guilty about quitting. There's nothing wrong with quitting today with two weeks notice. But it is really generous to offer to stay and finish things up, and I never regret being generous.)
posted by jeather at 1:15 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have regretted the jobs I should have quit (but didn't) more than the jobs I turned down or left.

This. Jobs like this warp your brai, no joke. It will be very easy to become a more jaded and less motivated human being the longer you stay in a bad environment.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:15 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny how much loyalty employees feel toward their employers, but there's pretty much zero going the other way . . . if they didn't need you they'd cut you loose and never look back. Do you think they'd worry that you couldn't pay your bills? Of course not. So you shouldn't worry about them covering for you when you leave. They have a whole department dedicated to doing just that. And it's a great time to be a company that's looking for new hires that can start today.

My last day at my current job is this coming Friday and I'm so glad I jumped ship when I got another job offer. Sure, I felt guilty about leaving, but do they feel guilty about wasting money and then not being able to cover payroll? Not at all. When I leave, I'll be two paychecks behind and nobody's losing any sleep over that.

But I'm not bitter.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 1:21 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, not only do you have permission to quit, you have permission to open up Word, type out a resignation letter: "To Whom It May Concern, I hereby resign. Thank you, Be cool, sodapop", print this out right now, and go bring it to your boss. You know you want to. Do it. Just do it. Come on, do it. Do it. Do it.
posted by Grither at 1:25 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's an unemployed accounting grad out there who would love to take your job. Do it for them.

And for you, because you deserve work that fulfills you. Live's too short.
posted by gauche at 1:25 PM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


No student debt. My parents aren't too thrilled with the idea of me giving up the security of accounting for something less stable that I never got formal training in, but they've given up trying to talk me into anything, and they would probably be willing to let me crash at their place for a few months if, say, I quit and then a meteor hit the agency tomorrow.

Oh man, I'm monitoring this thread while out at a client (I don't even work in the office most of the time, I work in windowless boardrooms at client sites all around the city with 1+ hour commutes) and I am dying to just walk out.
posted by Be cool, sodapop at 1:28 PM on February 14, 2012


No student debt and you're doing work that could be done by a mushroom on wheels?

Give them legal notice. Go.
posted by maudlin at 1:33 PM on February 14, 2012


Yeah, quit. You got thirty minutes till five, draft up that resignation letter and vamoose. Web development and advertising are both great fields to get some important experience in, and honestly if you like design and other creative endeavors, accounting may just not do it for you in the long run, you are young and free of debt, spread those wings...
posted by stormygrey at 1:34 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


It may not be strictly true in every case, but decisions like this became much easier for me when I realized my employer would let me go in a heartbeat if it improved the bottom line. Go. Be happy. Improve your bottom line.
posted by Perthuz at 1:36 PM on February 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


They'd let you go today if it benefited the business to do so.

This is the answer to every single "should I quit my current lame job for a better one" question on AskMe. Quit.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:01 PM on February 14, 2012


Just in case the parents opinions are an issue: I have attained big increases in my salary and my job satisfaction by ignoring my parents' advice. My SO thinks it's insane that I ignore most parental job advice, but ignoring them and doing what I thought best has always worked for me. Parents are well-meaning, but you know yourself and your position much better than they do, so do whatever you think is the best idea. It sounds like you have a miserable current situation and the chance to take on a role that is fulfilling and career-enhancing. Do it, and your parents won't bat an eye since you're still employed.
posted by Tehhund at 2:01 PM on February 14, 2012


Dont get emotionally attached to your job. The company you work for wouldnt think twice if they had to sack you or lay you off. You need to move to a better opportunity if you have one.
posted by pakora1 at 2:08 PM on February 14, 2012


When push comes to shove and the bottom line is at stake, your company won't give a crap about you. Why sacrifice your mental well being for them? You should -- no, you must, take the new offer now; you owe to *your* bottom line. No one cares more about your bottom line that yourself.
posted by cgg at 2:13 PM on February 14, 2012


You have my permission to quit. Seriously. From the perspective of your employer, there is never a good time to quit. With my current job, I will be leaving someone in the lurch pretty much no matter what, when I eventually move on. There is no good time to quit at most jobs. But most companies are used to people quitting at inopportune times and are fairly good at picking up the pieces.

You are not hurting anyone by leaving, but it sounds like you're hurting yourself by staying. Take the offer and move on to a better job.
posted by asnider at 2:18 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Type up your two-weeks notice tonight, hand it in tomorrow, and let March be the month you start living the life you want to live! Come on, sodapop, do it for all of us who can't! :)
posted by jabes at 2:36 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I could have written that post, albeit a slightly different function in investment management. I made a significant investment in an education/career path that I am not profoundly inspired by and, frequently, severely depresses me. There are days when I nearly cry walking toward that desk, which feels like a prison, and all I want to do is turn around and run home. But I don't. I want to end this on my terms, walking away and not running. That will be in a year and 5 months. HR, staffing management, other issues: yes, that's the company's problem. This is about you.

Ask yourself: if the only thing I can control about this situation and be proud of is how I end it, what do I want to do? Who do I want to be? Do I want to be the person who quits when things are hard? Will I look back on this and wish I ended things differently? When I think of a person I respect and admire, how would they handle this situation? If any of these questions give you pause, read on.

I'm going to tell you what other people aren't: hold on. May really isn't that far away in the scheme of things. I promise you. You have the utmost luxury in a readily awaiting job, and that luxury is freedom to take the path you choose. Good luck.
posted by keasby at 3:52 PM on February 14, 2012


What are you worried about, getting fired? Quit.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:38 PM on February 14, 2012


Yeah just leave.
posted by mleigh at 5:41 PM on February 14, 2012


Yeah, quit. Six months on a resume isn't great, but it's not a dealbreaker. If you get asked, and you probably will, just say that it wasn't a good fit and the new opportunity allowed you to do a lot more of what you wanted to be doing. This happens, especially in this economy. You could legitimately spin it as, "As you might be aware, job prospects were few and far between when I was offered this [shitty] job. It wasn't what would have thought I wanted to do, but it seemed like a good opportunity to learn some skills and that the work would be engaging and could lead to better things. In this economy, it seemed foolish to turn that kind of opportunity down. But, after about six months, I had to admit that the position was a bad fit. There were no open positions that suited me better within the company that I might have tried to move into, so I began considering external opportunities. When this offer came my way, I had to jump on it. I didn't like the idea of leaving my old job so soon, but in this economy, the perfect opportunity doesn't come your way very often, and I knew I would have to. And I did, and it was a great decision."
posted by elizeh at 8:44 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would be a little concerned about how this looks on a resumé. If you came to me for a web design/development job, I'd furrow my eyebrows and ask why the hell you worked as an auditor for so long.
posted by Mister_A at 6:09 AM on February 15, 2012


So, uh, because I am freaking out internally but can't talk to anyone or show my excitement, I am going to post in this thread instead.

I have a resignation letter drafted and sitting in my Gmail. I'm literally sitting on my hands waiting for the formal paperwork from the ad agency to hit my inbox so I can fire off the resignation letter. I did give them my last day of work as per a standard two weeks' notice which completes my current set of projects, but I also give them the option of having me work another three weeks to do work on new clients that I was originally staffed on for that time. I think that's a reasonable compromise.

In the past couple of days since I've posted this question, my feelings have gone from "I should really stay until May...or maybe September...." to "I'm just going to call in sick for the next two weeks and pack up my apartment". I went to a web developer's meetup last night and met so many fantastic folks that it was all I could do this morning to come in to work instead of sitting at home putting together a portfolio and talking to moving companies.

What an immense relief it is even to know that my time here is (very) limited!

Thank you so much to everyone who chimed in on this thread, and especially those who offered contrarian points of view! I know I should revel in being an independently minded self-actualized individual, but really, having the hive mind affirm that what I am considering isn't beyond the pale is still very reassuring.

Hurray!
posted by Be cool, sodapop at 9:58 AM on February 17, 2012


Congratulations! I think offering to stay is generous, and will stand you in good stead, but I hope they let you go after the two weeks notice period.
posted by jeather at 10:17 AM on February 17, 2012


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