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Quit before getting fired?

In a very stressful situation where a person in leadership position strongly suspects that s/he will be terminated, should this person resign, or stick to the end (get fired), if the next job is not lined up yet (and it is not probable that the next job will be lined up before one gets terminated)?


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

The call is health vs money.

Obviously salary will be more than unemployment benefits.

But with so much stress comes potential medical issues (heart attack, stroke, ulcers to name a few).

That, IMHO is the "deal" breaker.

Topic Expert
Henry Schumann
Title: Manager FP&A
Company: Allscripts
(Manager FP&A, Allscripts) |

Question: why does the employee suspect they are going to be terminated? If it is because they are not performing well, then the employee should find a way to do a better job. If it is because the company is not doing well and a lay off appears eminent, then by all means begin the full court press on networking to find their next job while still maintaining good relationships with the current employer to maximize the potential for any severance if laid off.

Topic Expert
Cindy Kraft
Title: CFO Coach
Company: Executive Essentials
(CFO Coach, Executive Essentials) |

I'm not sure being unemployed would be any less stressful, particularly if one doesn't have unlimited funds to live on while searching for a new position.

Topic Expert
Samuel Dergel
Title: Director - Executive Search
Company: Stanton Chase International
LinkedIn Profile
(Director - Executive Search, Stanton Chase International) |

This person is stuck in the between the proverbial "rock and a hard place."

It really comes down to doing the right thing. Only the person in this situation can really understand what the right thing to do is.

I would only know what I would do if I was fully aware of the situation. If you are the individual in this difficult situation and would like to have a confidential discussion, feel free to reach out to me.

Topic Expert
Moshe Kravitz
Title: Director of Finance
Company: IDT Telecom
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, IDT Telecom) |

Some advantages of "sticking it out" are: 1) not sacrificing termination benefits 2) it's easier to get interviews when you're still employed 3) the axe may not land and the situation may resolve.

Conducting a very active job search can help to mitigate the stress of not knowing what will be with the current position. Exercise and sleep, always important in reducing stress, are all the more important in situations of prolonged stress.

Even if there is not enough time to land the next job, every additional day provides time to further develop your search - identify appropriate targets, refine your resume, build your network, etc - and get that much closer to the next gig.

(Senior Payroll Clerk) |

I have been in that exact position for the past 6 months. My health has suffered substantially. We were at an impass at work where they openly discriminated against me but wouldn't fire me. I tried escalating and negotiating to no avail. In the end I resigned and started applying for new positions daily. The relief of leaving an extremely toxic environment far outweighs the benefits of working. I always make sure I have a financial cushion to ease the blow of my freedom. I will always choose health and freedom over toxicity and unfair punishment.

I have a few days left at my position and have no regrets. My persistence will pay off in the form of another job, but I will apply my lessons learned to my next position - always maintain financial independence and my mental and physical health will follow. William Wallace knew what freedom was all about and so should we.

(AVP Infrastructure Financial Management) |
Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

"William Wallace knew what freedom was all about and so should we."

Yes but, he was hung, drawn and quartered a young age! That's a pretty extreme commitment in the pursuit of gainful employment.

I'll take stress and uncertainty any day. :-)

Parveen Bansal
Title: Owner
Company: Manage-My-Business
(Owner, Manage-My-Business) |

My experience is that once employer decides to terminate, nothing can be done by employee to save the job. Employee gets breathing time until suitable alternative arrangement is in place.

Employee should accept that this is reality situation. Its self interest gets protected in locating new employer and NOT giving service to present employer. Change priorities and work for new employment.

Do not play rubbish with current employer. It will not help employee ever. Unfortunately, employer believes employer. Employee should leave with good note.

scott graves
Title: CFO
Company: Armstrong Teasdale LLC
(CFO, Armstrong Teasdale LLC) |

Moshe Kravitz makes the points that I was thinking of when first reading this posting. Unless the work environment is so toxic that you cannot stick it out, remaining with the company has a lot of benefits including (i) you continue to make money that you can save for when/if you are unemployed, (ii) you retain your health benefits (COBRA is expensive), (iii) it seems to be easier to get another job while you're employed v. being unemployed, and (iv) things at work may change...if things are that bad, changes may be coming quickly, which may remove the negative things the exist. However, I would recommend that you get your resume updated and start networking ASAP.

Parveen Bansal
Title: Owner
Company: Manage-My-Business
(Owner, Manage-My-Business) |

My experience is that once employer decides to terminate, nothing can be done by employee to save the job. Employee gets breathing time until suitable alternative arrangement is in place.

Employee should accept that this is reality situation. Its self interest gets protected in locating new employer and NOT giving service to present employer. Change priorities and work for new employment.

Do not play rubbish with current employer. It will not help employee ever. Unfortunately, employer believes employer. Employee should leave with good note.

(Business Consultant ) |

Having been in this situation myself I can tell you that resigning gives immediate relief but very quickly tha dissipates when you are faced with the reality of being unemployed. This happens whether you are financially secure or not. The key issue is what Henry said - why do you suspect there will be a termination? The reality is most senior positions are stressful - it goes with the territory. Is there something specific happening that is creating this stress - again - look to Henry's comments. Is it your performance or is it an external issue. If it is something you can control then you can do something about it. If it isn't then make the best of it for as long as you can and start the process of looking for something else. If there are ethically issues you are facing and that has occurred to me over my career than you might have to make a different decsion and leave before you have something in place rather than do something you can live with.

Ben Murray
Title: Vice President and CFO
Company: Cartegraph
(Vice President and CFO, Cartegraph) |

I wish you the best of luck. That is a tough position to be in. Your comment about financial independence and health remind of a book I just read. "Choose Yourself" by James Altucher. I think that book will hit home for you. Again, best wishes.

(Associate) |

These are all excellent responses. Where was this website when I was going through this myself?
I may have something more to add. What if the person stayed while looking elsewhere and worked on projects that would not only benefit the company, but would look great on a resume? To add another layer to this plan, involve other managers in the projects to show a sense of teamwork, dedication, and value. It couldn't hurt to have more people on one's side and create connections also. Don't tell these people about the possible termination though. That could create a wedge that would never be fixed.

(CPA) |

I too have been in the same situation. There was a change at the top and the new person was looking for someone to let go. As we all had very high job performance he made some personal criteria work. That DID mean it had to be a layoff if pulling projects away and making things miserable didn't work. I had a heads up from the outgoing person and started beefing up my networking immediately. By the time of my "layoff" I was out of work for only 2 months. Make it work for you. If you don't have a strong network start one immediately and don't stop once you have found a new position. Networking is rewarding and you never know what will come of it.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

I would hang on. Easier to get a job when you have one and, I assume, there is health insurance the company is subsidizing. Spend every spare moment networking.

(Chief Financial Officer ) |

Very sad to see so many that have been in this situation - including myself.
Some important points from this post:
1. In all likelihood it would take a miracle for things to change & it is naïve to hope they would. Embrace the inevitable, update you resume, get your network in shape & start looking. The sooner the better. Do not resign. Being fired/laid off is usually your only chance of getting severance in exchange for not suing.
2. Being in transitions sucks! If there is no financial cushion for at least 6 months it is much more stressful than working in a hostile environment. Also consider the unplanned use of hard-earned savings that will be used to pay the bills.
3. Always be looking even when things are going well. You never know what other opportunities are out there. It's easy to get used to the comfort & routine of a steady gig. However, when things turn bad the employee is much more vulnerable than the employer so the only way to mitigate the risk of loosing a job is to always maintain some presence in the market place & grow your network.

Robert Ewalt
Title: Exam Development Manager
Company: Institute of Certified Management Accoun..
(Exam Development Manager, Institute of Certified Management Accountants) |

1. Be sure the suspicion of termination is based on facts. It often happens that we overhear part of something, or mis-interpret something, leading to a completely incorrect conclusion.

Maybe this means asking your boss for a few minutes to discuss your future with the company. A gutsy move, of course. Maybe the boss will say your work is not up the required levels, maybe the boss is under pressure to cut staff. But maybe the boss will tell you your work is excellent, your future looks bright. If true, that should ease your stress! Even if not true, it is going to be a whole lot harder for your boss to fire you a few months after telling you your work is excellent. Especially if you document the conversation.

2. While I agree with Moshe that some employers and headhunters would rather interview people who are currently employed, the job-hunting process is itself a full time job. How often is your current employer (especially if your job is shaky) going to give you time off to go on the interviews?

(Controller) |

I have been in the situation and chose to stick it out because I did not want to sacrifice the unemployment benefit. The situation was so acute that a potential business partner even commented to me after a meeting regarding the extreme disrespect the CEO had shown me. Two trusted Board members were aware of the situation and offered me advice, but they did not intervene directly and I was unable to turn the situation around. After my termination, the employer even appealed my unemployment claim and I had to win a hearing. The $10k sure helped during my job search, which ended one week before my benefits elapsed.

(Operations Director) |

I can relate to this kind of situation before. In a high position of leadership and trust, one can tell if you are doing well with the boss. If there are no specific metrics for the assessment, you would still know by observing the vibes you are getting from the boss or even other senior managers/executives.
Before you decide, assess yourself. Are your skills, professional credentials and past work accomplishments very marketable or still relevant? Do you have a healthy network available for job hunting? One test to boost your confidence is if you have a LinkedIn account for example, do you get job opportunity offers from headhunters/companies at least once a week per see?
Also, if you have the habit of saving for the 'rainy days' that would last you for at least six months, then I suggest you Resign. This would look better in your permanent files or when your next employer will do a background check on your previous employment.

Lyle Newkirk
Title: CFO
Company: Corrigo Incorporated
(CFO, Corrigo Incorporated) |

Unless you are being pressured to do something unethical, I would not quit for the following reasons:

1. It is easier to find another job when you already have one.
2. If you do get terminated you probably will get severance although this varies by company.
3. The longer you are with your current company, the longer they cover the bulk of your health insurance (again varies by company.

David Rau
Title: CFO
Company: Cornerstoner Building Alliance Lumber SW
(CFO, Cornerstoner Building Alliance Lumber SW) |

I agree with Lyle - stay with it until you can find another job with one condition which is your health.

Michael C
Title: Tax/Business Consultant
Company: Self
(Tax/Business Consultant, Self) |

Best of luck to you!

It really depends on the situation.
It's not our place to ask 'why?' as it differs for everyone.

If the work place is 'toxic' for whatever reason, that is a sign to consider another place of employment.

Health vs money.
Hard choice esp. for those who makes 6 digit compensation.
NO money is worth the impact of one's health deteriorating!

Better to get 'laid off' than quit so you can collect unemployment.
Best thing to do may be just to find another job elsewhere esp. if you have personal time saved up.

Forget what others may say "How do you know grass is greener on the other side? It may not be!"

Say "I know the grass IS greener on the other side!"

Take the opportunities that present themselves to you. You won't know if it'll work out if you Don't take them!

Good luck!

Rich Robins
Title: Accountant
Company: Tec
(Accountant, Tec) |

About the cliched "Easier to get a job when you have one". Not always true. It's stressful going between work and interviews. Also you will be more prepared for interviews when you don't have a job-Mentality is far more assertive when you're "hungry". But it always does come done to a persons financial situation. Do you have the cash to go 2-6 months to land your ideal job? Or even just a job?

(Chief Financial Officer) |

I had a CEO physically attack me because I refused to lie on our financial statements. THAT was stressful.

It's ALMOST ALWAYS easier to get a job when you have one so start networking now.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

That's criminal assault And grounds for one heck of a lawsuit if there is any way to corroborate your story.

Enough so, that I suspect corporate legal will be paying you off to go away rather than wasting time and money on a defense.

Niru Irukulla
Title: Sr. Financial Analyst
Company: Guidewire
(Sr. Financial Analyst, Guidewire) |

Tough situation, the decision really depends on your financial circumstances. If you can afford to quit and then look for work I say go for it and save your health.

Otherwise, start looking for a new opportunity. As several others have pointed out you have more leverage when you are currently employed and looking. The other option would be to look for temp gig if you want out sooner rather than later.

(Sr. Financial Analyst) |

Wish you all the best with your decision. I think you are in the best place to decide what works for your own situation.

If you have a well funded rainy day fund I say quit, then you can interview in peace.


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