Is it better to quit or be fired? Or does it not really matter?
May 20, 2023 11:04 AM   Subscribe

I'm in a truly toxic work environment. To the point where my health and sleep are affected.

I've had the position for a month and found out that everyone who took the job previously had quit within a week or two. (That's how awful the boss is). So why am I still here? Money. Need it and don't have any other financial support except myself. Yes- I'm currently applying and interviewing elsewhere.

Boss has threatened to fire me more than once for not finishing up on tasks that were never appropriately explained to me. I was told when I was hired that it would be a great learning environment for someone who hadn't been in the industry before. Once I was hired and met the boss I realized this was flat out incorrect. He expects me to know everything already and god help me if I ask him a question or guess the answer wrong. Glassdoor reviews for the management of the company are abysmal.

Being fired within the next 2-3 weeks is quite likely. Should I avoid this by quitting? Or does it not matter if you were ever fired from a job? Not sure if a firing would ever come back to haunt me. I wouldn't put this job on my resume anyway, but can other employers still find out if I'm fired? Though Ideally I'd find something else before this happened I don't think that is very likely.

I'm in NY so I don't think I'd be able to qualify for unemployment since I've been at the job only a short time. (Also my ID is still from out of state because I'd like to leave NY if I can ever afford the moving costs).
posted by fantasticness to Work & Money (18 answers total)
It doesn't really matter, as long as you're able to trade some mental health for a few extra needed paychecks. But please do check out mentally as much as you can.

There's no Permanent Record. It is vaguely possible another employer could find out, but so what? You say, "the environment was SO toxic and the job so incredibly not as represented that I should have quit first, but I had rent to pay. Life be like that sometimes" and they say "ugh, I'm sorry that happened to you, that's a crap situation, here's your desk".

Honestly, just do what you have to do to survive, it won't matter all that much to anyone else.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:06 PM on May 20 [9 favorites]

Did you previously work in another state (within the past 18mo?) Unemployment may allow you to claim time worked in another state as part of your recent employment. Here’s a FAQ document that points you to more details.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:06 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]

You say in another question that you had a "real job" from 2020 to the present (which was April 2023). What state was that in? This page from NY says you can apply for unemployment in the state where you have worked in the last 18 months. It also says that you qualify for unemployment if your job fires for not meeting their qualifications or production standards. That part is true in most states. Being fired "for cause" is like not showing up at all or stealing. Let the state decide if you qualify or not.

Unemployment checks will stop you from being so desperate that you have to accept these horrible jobs.
posted by soelo at 12:08 PM on May 20 [9 favorites]

You need the money; don't quit. It's 2 or 3 more weeks, maybe a month; you can deal. You've already proven stronger than any previous hires.

Call in your friends, tell them you need them. Some won't want to be in it. Some can't deal with being in it. Some will be gleeful to hear the latest tale from this idiot, and help you find a way to laugh.

Everybody has at least one friend than can help find the comedy, and not only are they saving your life but they know it, and they get to laugh, too. I am that person for some friends, they call and I can hear it, they're uptight and frowny and gaseous; mostly we find the way to laughter, and there lies some freedom.

Get any of your belongings out, no cardboard box drama at the end, just smile and walk when the time comes, smile and walk and laugh.

For your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably one really effective weapon--Laughter. Power, Money, Persuasion, Supplication, Persecution--these can lift at a colossal humbug,--push it a little-- crowd it a little--weaken it a little, century by century: but only Laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast.
Samuel Clemons
aka Mark Twain
Letters From The Earth
posted by dancestoblue at 12:09 PM on May 20 [8 favorites]

I meant to say also: don't be shocked if you DON'T get fired. Usually people who will actually threaten out loud to fire people like that just get off on the threatening. He may well think he's found the perfect punching bag in you, since you haven't bailed yet. The whole point of this job may be to have someone around to abuse; do not internalize any of the criticism as legitimate.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:22 PM on May 20 [39 favorites]

A reminder about sick systems.
posted by oceano at 1:11 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]

You’ve been on the job for a month? Quit with zero conscience and leave it off your resume. Go do gigs on Craigslist while you’re applying.
posted by toodleydoodley at 2:13 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]

As mentioned above, there is no Permanent Record. The only reason a future employer would hear about this situation at all is if you told them.

Quit or be fired as is convenient for you.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:31 PM on May 20 [2 favorites]

You don't have to put anything on your resume or on LinkedIn or any other job site - they're not legal documents and the goal there is to show your experience and skills.

Quit as soon as you can.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 5:17 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

You never mentioned if this is a large company or small. If its a large company, keep track of any wierd interactions, and deliver them to the HR. HR will never help you, but they may chose to hammer the boss.

If its a small company, you might to speak with the owner. They can't be happy with the department's turnover.
posted by Marky at 11:38 PM on May 20

And following on Lyn Never, if you don't get fired, do make sure to quit! This job is terrible and staying in it longer is no prize.
posted by away for regrooving at 12:40 AM on May 21

Once you’ve decided the job is not for you, it’s better to quit for the following reasons:
1. You control the process. If everything else is going to hell with the job, that’s important for your well-being. Remember that threatening to fire somebody is much easier for a shitty boss than actually going ahead with it - so you could be waiting for that for some time.
2. It obliges you to articulate reasons for why you are going. That is important for you in your own personal record of your career- even if never share it in a future interview.
3. A nightmare job is tremendously sapping of energy. But looking for a new one is much better if you can concentrate all your attention on it.
posted by rongorongo at 2:21 AM on May 21

Response by poster: People are saying unemployment... but I thought that you had to be employed at a company for 6 months to collect unemployment and I've only been here for a month.
posted by fantasticness at 6:23 AM on May 21

Fantasticness, it looks like it’s more complex. You have to be employed somewhere for a percentage of the previous year, but it doesn’t necessarily matter whether that’s your current or a previous job. I don’t know the exact details in NY, but in Ohio I was allowed to include out of state employment in that sum.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:34 AM on May 21

To the extent that a potential future employer asks you ... at this short a tenure, it is indeed better to fire than to quit.

Quitting makes you look very flighty. No job is exactly as described, and you want to be seen as someone who is flexible and resilient.

Being fired can be more sympathetically rendered: "there was some failure of communication in the recruiting process; when I arrived it quickly became clear they had been looking someone with a different background from mind, and decided they didn't want to spend that time to get me into that mold."
posted by MattD at 8:13 AM on May 21 [2 favorites]

Unemployment looks at more than just your last job. If you end up leaving this job for any reason, you should apply for it. This is another reason you don't want to take under the table work, because that either doesn't count for unemployment or is a lot harder to prove when they are looking at your income over a period of time.
posted by soelo at 6:46 PM on May 21

When I was in a not quite so awful but similar situation, I gave myself permission to just resign if it got too bad. I told myself that if my mental health was really at risk and I couldn’t take any more, then I go. It helped me feel less like I was a prisoner and more like it was my choice to go there every day for the money until I found something less dreadful. Just mind games I know but it did help.

All the best in finding something else - you found this one, you can find another one. And you’ve survived this longer than your predecessors so you must be made of pretty strong stuff!
posted by ElasticParrot at 5:56 AM on May 22

People are saying unemployment... but I thought

In all legal/benefits matters, do not think. Find out. Never fuck yourself out of benefits because of assumptions or low self-esteem. Assume you have rights, go clarify what they are.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:59 AM on May 22 [3 favorites]

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