about to quit
February 6, 2012 6:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm about to quit my job. What do I need to do to before, during, and after I give my notice?

I have become an anxiety-driven, unmotivated, and very depressed person. In this office, I know of several people who have either gone to HR, thought seriously about leaving, or have left within the first 6 months. This is across several teams, none of these teams are in areas of high turnover rates (not sales or call center).

I have been here for less than a year and I'm not proud of it. I am a very career-focus person, have "toughed" it out, and now, I can't take it anymore. I seriously worry for my mental and physical health if I stay much longer.

My current situation:

With no income, my saving accounts should last me about 1.5 years without dipping into my retirement funds. I'm in my late 20s, early 30s with no history of medical problems, however, my teeth and vision are not so great.

If I can't find a job right away, I have one or two side projects I can take on as a consultant to demonstrate continuous work history. Neither of them will pay, but it's a good way to gain paying gigs in the future (if I can't find a full-time job).


1. What do I need to do between before, during, and after I give my notice? What things should I watch out for or start preparing?

2. Any suggestions for health, dental, and vision insurance? I have been with my partner for over 3 years, is it possible to get domestic partnership to be on my partner's insurance plan (in CA)? If not, should I look into Cobra, HSA, or other plans?

3. I care about my career a lot and it took me a long time to accept that for my mental health, I need to quit. What should I do to make this transition easier on myself?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Have you never quit a job before? Look, this isn't anything weird or unusual, especially if your company has a higher turnover.

1. You send an email to your boss and cc HR giving your notice. Then you work for the remaining period of time that you said you would. Is there anything about your job that only you know how to do? Maybe just jot down instructions for that, otherwise your boss will give you instructions. Finish up any ongoing projects that you can.

2. Cobra is just you paying for your group health insurance. It isn't a special plan. Many times the rates on group plans are less than individual plans so that is why this is usually a good idea. Think about whether you really need dental (maybe) or vision (I highly doubt it) coverage at all. You getting on your partner's plan depends on a few things. Are you registered with the state? Does your partner's plan require that? How long have you been living together? Are you same or opposite sex partners?

3. Enjoy some time off? Having one short job stint on your resume isn't going to hurt you or your career. Use this time to find a good job at a good company.
posted by magnetsphere at 6:42 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

What do I need to do before, during, and after I give my notice?

Give at least two weeks' notice. Keep it quiet before. Make sure your superiors hear it from you first, not from office scuttlebutt. Resist the temptation to air grievances in the exit interview, but instead find something positive to say about your time there. Thank everyone who helped you in some way. Keep pulling your weight during your last two weeks, and don't burn any bridges. This job sounds like it was thoroughly miserable, but you're nearly done. Just keep being professional for two more weeks.

Is it possible to get domestic partnership to be on my partner's insurance plan?

This depends upon the company for which your partner works. Companies are not legally required to provide domestic partner benefits, but conversely, many companies have definitions of "domestic partnership" that are much more generous than those of the State of California. Your partner will need to talk to his/her HR department.

Talk as well to your HR department about COBRA benefits. Keep in mind that you can sign up, but you then have 60 days before you have to send in payment. You can send in payment retroactively if it turns out you used medical benefits during that time. Generally periods of less than 60 days don't count as gaps in coverage from an insurance standpoint. So sign up for COBRA, then take some time to evaluate your options. You may find a replacement job much more quickly than you expect.

What should I do to make this transition easier on myself?

I suggest that you give yourself a "vacation" immediately after you quit: 1-2 weeks to decompress from this awful environment, pamper yourself, and rediscover what life is like without this awful job hanging over you.

Then, do as much as possible get back on a regular work schedule around finding a new job. Be sure to shower and get dressed every morning...this is huge...set goals for job search progress, and then stop working at the end of the day. Also, you may be tempted to immediately stop spending money because what if it takes forever to find a job? I'd suggest that you try to avoid this impulse, set yourself a budget, and make sure it's reasonable and livable long term.

And finally, I just want to congratulate you on making the decision to leave a toxic work environment. The transition may be nerve-wracking at times, but you'll feel so much better once you're in a better situation.
posted by psycheslamp at 6:43 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Before: brush up the resume. Two weeks: gather references. If you're in an industry where you will need samples of your work later on, gather what you can within the law and the company rules. Get your stuff together so that you can leave cleanly.
After: Do not speak negatively about the company in job interviews. You'll have plenty of time to vent later. Also, grant yourself a week or two off from things before you proceed on your job hunt (unless something really good shows up.) It will help you clear your mind and will also make sure you've had a break in case you get a job soon and can't take time off for a while.
posted by azpenguin at 6:53 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Good for you for having savings. It's a classy touch to document what you're working on and tie up loose ends. Give your personal email (JaneDoe@yahoo.com. not CuteThang@hotmail) to people who might need to contact you with a question or 2. If there's an exit interview, try to politely describe the reasons you're leaving, and any suggestions for improvement. Get a written reference from your supervisor, and have a discussion about what kind of reference you'll get in the future. Yes, get non-confidential work samples, copy of reviews, atta-boy emails, etc. You should basically have a portfolio from each job, for future resume-building. After you give notice, ask HR about insurance.
posted by theora55 at 7:12 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have become an anxiety-driven, unmotivated, and very depressed person.

Before you quit, go see the doctor for a check up, and mention these concerns. They may be able to help you. If anything, there'd be a medical record of you seeing someone for job-related stress.

Also - I don't know what state you're in, but there are some states where you can collect UI for quitting, if the previous job seriously impacted your physical and/or mental health. It's not a guarantee, but it is out there. I was able to do this in WA State a few years ago, but I had to have a hearing first. Research this, and see if it fits into your situation.
posted by spinifex23 at 7:28 PM on February 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Is there a chance that they will ask you to leave the day you give your notice? Has that happened in this company that you know of? It's not uncommon at all, so start gathering things from the office soon.
posted by jgirl at 8:19 PM on February 6, 2012

An unfortunate but true fact is that it is much harder to become employed while unemployed than it is to find a new job while employed.

Is it absolutely necessary for you to quit your job *right this instant*? If so, then you should quit without notice. I don't think that's the case for you, though, since it sounds like you want this to be done in your best interest.

If that is the case, you may want to consider toughing it out. Never underestimate how crappy it is to be unemployed and unable to find a job. It's even worse when you do it to yourself.
posted by saeculorum at 8:23 PM on February 6, 2012

I did this not too long ago. Cobra was a fucking joke; the rates were crazy. I got an individual Kaiser plan for $180/mo. Good for you for getting out of there.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:53 PM on February 6, 2012

Consider applying for temporary (California, not federal) disability benefits.

If you are seeing someone for the depression and anxiety -- which, I'm thinking, must be pretty severe if you are quitting without something else lined up -- ask your doctor whether he thinks you are a candidate for that. There are specific criteria they use, and to which your doctor must attest, for temporary disability.

But, you say, I didn't lose a hand in an industrial accident -- I'm just so anxious and sad that I cannot work. Do they even pay disability benefits for that? Yes, they do. California pays 55% of your salary from the job you left, for up to a year (or less, depending on your doctor's assessment). As opposed to UI, which tops out at $450 a week.

I know everything about this. Memail me if you want to talk about it.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 9:08 PM on February 6, 2012

I realize there are two main themes to your question. The first relates to leaving one job before you have another. I've never done that, so I can't help you there.

The second question relates to how this could affect your career. I'd like to amplify the advice that others made, which is essentially to maintain your integrity and be professional. I also want to give some practical ways you can make a good exit, based on what I've done in the past:
  1. Deliver your resignation to your manager in writing. It should be concise, unemotional and clearly specify when your last day of work will be. It should also state — and you should reiterate this during the conversation — that you are committed to making this a smooth transition and welcome advice on ways he/she feels you could accomplish this. During your conversation, you should discuss what you'll be working on until you leave, so be prepared to jot down some notes about that.
  2. Your manager may need to prepare a succession plan, so offer to let him/her break the news to co-workers.
  3. Do not slack off during the last few weeks. They're still paying you and you owe it to them to work hard in return.
  4. Create a thorough document listing everything others might need to know to do your job. I'm good at keeping documentation up-to-date anyway, but my responsibilities are often spread across several projects and teams. When I left my last job, I spent the last few weeks creating a Wiki page called "The Book of Tom" which listed each project I had worked on during my time there. For each project, I listed key contacts, location of important documents, server names, open issues, important procedures and so on. I made sure that at least two people on each project knew where to find this Wiki page and had sufficient time to review it before I left.
  5. Let others know how to reach you once you're gone, just in case. I've never had anyone abuse this offer, but I guess it's always possible... especially if you don't heed my previous point.
I've been told upon leaving every job I've ever had, with all sincerity, that they'd be glad to have me back. Make this your goal too. Although you may have no intention of returning to work there, it's a small world and you'll be surprised how many former colleagues you'll encounter later. Make sure their memory of you is a positive one.
posted by tomwheeler at 9:22 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tomwheeler gives excellent suggestions for AFTER you give notice.

Here are some things you might want to address BEFORE you give notice.

Typically, unused vacation time is paid with your final check. However, unused sick time and personal time is often lost. Use that sick and personal time now.

If there are example of work projects that would be useful in future interviews or portfolios, take copies now.

If there are contacts that might be useful that you only have via work, make copies of that info now. Also, prepare a "going away" email that you send to these contacts and includes a personal email address that you can be contacted at. (I got a job offer from one of those in the past.)
posted by hworth at 7:17 AM on February 7, 2012

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