Ask Michelle: Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Dear Michelle,

Things are really bad at work and I think I’m about to be fired. Should I resign and put my energy into finding another job? Or should I hang on — even though I’m miserable — and look for another job while I wait for them to fire me?

 

Dear Miserable,

First, let me say I’m so sorry this is happening, sweetie. It’s an awful position to be in, for sure. I have some suggestions, though, on how to turn this bad situation into a a chance at new, and better, opportunities.

In deciding to stay or go at this point? It really boils down to whether or not you need the regular paycheck.

If you don’t require the steady income, it’s definitely easier to devote full time efforts to your job search without being tied to a job that’s draining you. Cut your losses and go find your dream job. Need help figuring that out? That’s why Merrfeld is here!

Unfortunately, very few of us are in the kind of financial situation where we can just quit. If you are counting on your paycheck, you need to stay (difficult as that may be) until you find something else. Or until they fire you. If you think the bad news is coming soon, here are some ways to prepare:

  • collect contacts, clean out your email, and remove personal information from your computer, laptop, and phone now (they will likely be confiscated immediately if you are terminated)
  • think through logistics and your questions ahead of time — is there a severance package? how long will health coverage last? etc.
  • get your personal finances in order now, before the last paycheck comes — stop unnecessary spending and start saving
  • learn how unemployment compensation works and how to apply
  • take care of any health care appointments now while you are fully covered by insurance

I also suggest you read my “You Just Got Notice. Now What?” article for advice on what to do after being fired. One of the most important things to remember is: don’t be bullied into signing anything right away — you have the right to review everything first, ask questions, and receive sufficient answers.

Lastly, it’s not a bad idea to imagine being told “we’re letting you go”, before that moment actually occurs. Mentally preparing for hearing the news and practicing how you will respond will help you react less emotionally and more intellectually. This goes without saying, but remember to stay your classy, professional self at all times.

Your colleagues, your boss, and/or the person who fires you, may someday soon be in a position to hire you or help you further your career in other ways. Don’t burn your bridges.

As difficult as this time is, try to keep in mind that being fired can be the catalyst to new and unexpected opportunities. Merrfeld Resumes and Coaching is here to help you figure out your options and put your career on the fast track to greater success and more personal fulfillment.

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