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Is it better to quit before being fired?

Many of us don’t always choose how we leave a job. But when you see writing on the wall in your company, you have an opportunity to consider your options.

Maybe you see that finances are in the red, hear serious updates at all-hands meetings, or otherwise know that a layoff may be imminent. Maybe you’re reaching a breaking point with your boss and are ready to work elsewhere.

This is the crossroads you face: Do you leave a job on your own terms, or wait to see if your employer fires you or fires you?

Both options come with big consequences. How you leave a job, or how you end it, can have ripple effects for your professional reputation and future financial benefits.

Here’s what you should weigh when deciding whether to exit yourself or wait to exit:

Pro: Quitting a job can avoid the unpleasant situation of suddenly losing your job.

One of the great benefits of quitting a job is that you are in control of the story of leaving the job, rather than having to decide. Victorio Milian, human resources consultant at Humareso, said that in his more than 15 years of experience, being terminated is more emotionally draining for people than being fired.

“Even when they have an unfavorable relationship with an employer, when they know, ‘Well, this is all progressive discipline against me,’ they’ve made it very clear that no further wrongdoing will happen. The result is going to be termination, “When you actually administer it to that person, it’s still always an emotional gut punch for that person,” he said. “So for me, you yourself take the reins and get out of the workplace.” You can avoid it by choosing the path of

Particularly if you’re in a job you hate, quitting can also provide much-needed peace of mind that you’re ultimately leaving unreasonable bosses and coworkers behind, not just suffering by an indefinite expiration date.

Pro: If you quit, you don’t have to deal with the reputational risk that comes with being fired.

Future employers are generally understanding when someone loses a job due to layoffs, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. But getting fired for performance can be a blow to your reputation that you may have to explain to inconsistent interviewers.

“There is an inherent bias on the part of most hiring managers and recruiters when they meet a candidate who was fired from a previous role,” Milian said. He said that depending on the role and state, future employers may find out about your dismissal during a reference check. Where they ask your previous employer the question, “Was this an employee in good standing? Has there been any disciplinary action in the last 12 months?”

Of course, being fired doesn’t always mean that your employers have the opportunity to defame you. California-based labor and employment attorney Ryan Steiger said: It may be possible to negotiate a neutral reference check in severance agreements or settlement agreements for wrongful termination claims, ensuring that your employer cannot speak negatively about you.

CON: Quitting can make it harder to get unemployment benefits and severance pay.

It’s generally going to be much harder to get unemployment benefits if you leave on your own, rather than get out of your own accord.

“If you’re unemployed because you chose to quit, you’re already struggling hard. So it’s a con to quit, [that] Unemployment will be tough,” Steiger said, although he added that there are instances when it is possible to receive benefits after quitting, such as when someone would be forced to endure “extremely unsafe conditions” on the job. “Just know it’s tough,” he said.

Each state determines what “good reason” reasons are that would allow you to leave your job and still receive unemployment benefits. Some states include mandatory personal reasons, such as the need to care for a sick family member or avoid domestic violence, or if your employer demands unfair work, such as not paying you on time.

One caveat: Before you wait to lose your job, you’ll want to calculate how much you’ll receive from both severance and unemployment benefits, and whether it’s really worth it to go through termination rather than quit.

Unless your employee contract requires it, severance is usually not guaranteed. In a 2019 survey of more than 1,500 HR professionals in the US and abroad, 44% reported that all employees received severance pay after an involuntary separation, but most said the amount depends on an employee’s tenure and salary.

And some professions rarely see severance packages. Million works with people in teaching and medicine, and pointed out that it is very rare for professionals in those fields to receive severance pay. “There is no financial gain for them” instead of leaving, he said.

CON: Quitting can make it harder to take legal action later.

If you want to file a wrongful termination or retaliation claim against your employer, it will be much harder to do so if you leave voluntarily, Steiger said.

“If you leave intentionally, in many cases, you lose those claims. You can’t sue for dismissal if the termination never happened.”

Most states recognize that people can be forced to resign because of intolerable working conditions, such as harassment and discrimination, which is legally known as constructive discharge. Constructive discharge potentially allows you to file a lawsuit of wrongful termination, discrimination or harassment, but it’s “very hard to prove,” Steiger said.

“If you can tough it out and ask for help when you need it and just get fired, your wrongful termination claim is going to be more readily available.”

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s best.

How you choose to leave the job should ideally be a decision that you weigh carefully, no matter which course you instinctively prefer.

“If given the choice between resigning and being fired, employees should and should seriously consider the benefits of a termination, which does not exist with resignations,” Steiger said. the gain.

“Definitely don’t kneel down and resign just to save face. Think about what you are doing. It’s a business decision,” Steiger said.

Broadly speaking, Million has a different view. He said that if you have a choice, he believes it is best to leave it to your will so that you can define the story of your career. But he advised “whatever the scenario, be proactive, not reactive.”

“If you’re weighing options for ending or quitting on your own, you’ll need to do research to weigh the pros and cons of each in the context of your situation,” he said. “And that would ideally determine the best course of action.”

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