Don't pull a Vontae Davis: How to leave a job you hate



Myles Ma

Myles Ma

Senior Reporter

Myles Ma is a senior reporter at Policygenius, where he covers personal finance and insurance and writes the Easy Money newsletter. His expertise has been featured in The Washington Post, PBS, CNBC, CBS News, USA Today, HuffPost, Salon, Inc. Magazine, MarketWatch, and elsewhere.

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Sometimes you just can't take it anymore. That's what happened on Sunday to Vontae Davis. The Buffalo Bills cornerback went home instead of taking the field for the second half of an eventual loss to the San Diego Chargers.

"Today on the field, reality hit me hard and fast," Davis said in a statement.

It wasn't the first case of someone hitting their breaking point at work, even for a job like playing football, and it won't be the last. But most of us don't have the luxury of just walking away, satisfying though it may be. So if you're really fed up with your job, what's the right way to leave?

Don't pull a Vontae

"I would not quit in the middle of something," said Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster, an employment website.

No matter how badly you want to give your boss an earful and slam the door on the way out, it's better to leave on a good note. Plan out your resignation.

It's ideal to give two weeks notice, not only so your company can plan for your departure, but so that you have time to situate yourself, Salemi said. You can take this time to update your resume, apply for new jobs and figure out how far your finances can take you. You could put yourself in a worse situation without a plan.

The downside of walking out

It might feel good to screw over your company by walking out, but it doesn't help you much either. Sticking around for two weeks lets you collect contact information for any clients or colleagues you want to work with in the future, Salemi said. You can also make sure to wipe any personal information from company equipment you've used.

Leaving without another job lined up could not only leave you without a paycheck, but also benefits like health insurance. Federal law allows you to extend your employer-sponsored health insurance, but it'll cost you. You'll have to plan for those extra costs before you leave.

If you rely on employer-provided life insurance, you'll no longer be covered either. And if you leave without talking to human resources, you might have trouble getting access to your retirement plan or other benefits.

"You basically want to cover all your bases so you don't feel like you're at a disadvantage for leaving," Salemi said.

Creating an exit strategy

In the time leading up to your departure, make job searching a habit. Set up alerts on Monster and other job sites. If you're really down at work, starting a job hunt might give you a morale boost, Salemi said.

Think about what you like and dislike about your job and start tailoring your resume and your search toward those preferences. These are good habits even if you haven't hit your breaking point.

"Always be looking for a job," Salemi said. "Usually miserable situations don't happen overnight."

Image: Sean Locke

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