Many of us do not always have the choice to leave a job. But when you see the writing on your business wall, you have the opportunity to consider your options.
Maybe you see finances in the red, hear grim updates at town hall meetings, or know a layoff is imminent. Maybe you’re reaching a breaking point with your boss and you’re more than ready to work somewhere else.
This is the crossroads you face: do you leave on your own terms or do you wait to see if your employer fires or fires you?
Both options have major consequences. How you leave a job or are terminated can affect your professional reputation and future financial benefits.
Here’s what to weigh when deciding whether to go out on your own or wait to be introduced:
PROS: Resigning avoids the inconvenience of losing your job suddenly.
One of the big advantages of resigning is that you control the story of your departure, rather than deciding for yourself. Victorio Milian, human resources consultant at Humareso, said that in more than 15 years of experience, being fired is more emotionally charged for people than quitting.
“Even when they have an adversarial relationship with the employer, even when they know, ‘OK, there’s all this progressive discipline against me, they’ve made it clear that any further missteps will result in dismissal’, when you’re administering it to that person, it’s still an emotional punch for that person,” he said. “So to me, you can avoid that by taking the reins yourself and choosing how you are going to leave the workplace.”
Particularly if you’re at a job you hate, quitting can also come with some much-needed peace of mind that you’re finally leaving unreasonable bosses and co-workers behind, and not just suffering until an end date. uncertain.
PROS: If you quit, you don’t have to face the reputational risk that comes with being fired.
Prospective employers are generally understanding when someone loses their job due to layoff, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. But getting fired for performance can be a reputational blow that you may have to explain to unsympathetic interviewers.
“There’s an inherent bias on the part of most hiring managers and recruiters when they come across a candidate who was fired from a previous position,” Milian said. He noted that depending on the role and status, future employers might be told about your termination during a reference check. where they ask your former employer questions like, “Was he an employee in good standing?” Have there been any disciplinary actions in the past 12 months? »
Of course, getting fired doesn’t always mean your employers have a chance to put you down. California-based labor and employment attorney Ryan Stygar said It may be possible to negotiate neutral reference checks in termination agreements or in settlement agreements for wrongful termination claims, ensuring that your employer cannot speak negatively of you.
CON: Quitting smoking can make it harder to get unemployment benefits and severance pay.
Getting unemployment benefits will generally be much more difficult if you quit on your own, rather than being deported.
“If you are unemployed because you chose to leave work, you are already fighting upstream. So it’s a downside to quitting smoking, [that] unemployment will be harder,” Stygar said, though he noted that there are instances where it is possible to access benefits after quitting, such as when someone would otherwise be forced to undergo “conditions extremely dangerous” at work. “Just know that it’s harder,” he said.
Each state determines what constitutes “good cause” reasons that would allow you to quit and continue to receive unemployment benefits. Some states include compelling personal reasons, such as the need to care for a sick family member or escape domestic violence, or if your employer makes unreasonable work demands, such as not paying you on time .
A caveat: before you wait to lose your job, you might want to calculate how much you’ll receive in both severance pay and unemployment benefits, and whether going through a layoff instead of Quitting is definitely worth it.
Unless your employment contract requires it, severance pay is generally not guaranteed. In a 2019 survey of more than 1,500 HR professionals in the U.S. and abroad, 44% said all employees received severance after involuntary separation, but most said the amount depended on the employee’s seniority and salary.
And some professions rarely see severance pay. Milian works with people in teaching and therapy, and pointed out that it’s very rare for professionals in these fields to receive severance pay. “There is no financial benefit for them to be fired” rather than resign, he said.
CON: Quitting smoking can make it harder to pursue legal action later.
If you want to pursue a wrongful termination or retaliation claim against your employer, it will be much more difficult to do so if you resign voluntarily, Stygar noted.
“If you leave voluntarily, in many cases you give up those claims. You can’t sue for dismissal if there was never a dismissal,” he said.
Most states recognize that people can be forced to quit because of intolerable working conditions, such as harassment and discrimination, in what is legally called constructive dismissal. The implied release potentially allows you to file a claim for wrongful termination, discrimination, or harassment, but that’s “very hard to prove,” Stygar noted.
“If you can endure and ask for help when you need it and just get fired, your wrongful dismissal claim will be much more readily available.”
In the end, it’s up to you to decide what’s best.
How you choose to leave a job should ideally be a decision you weigh carefully, whichever path you instinctively prefer.
“If given a choice between resigning and being terminated, employees need to pause and think seriously about the benefits of termination that don’t exist with a resignation,” said Stygar, who recommends consulting an attorney who specializes in labor law if you have questions about severance pay and unemployment. benefits.
“Definitely not knee-jerk and quitting just to save face. Think about what you’re doing. It’s a business decision,” Stygar said.
Generally speaking, Milian has a different perspective. He said that if you have a choice, he thinks it’s best to leave under your own free will so you can define your career story. But he advised that “whatever the scenario, be proactive, not reactive”.
“If you’re weighing the options of being fired or quitting on your own, you need to do research to weigh the pros and cons of each in the context of your situation,” he said. “And that will ideally determine the best course of action.”
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