Careers

Middle manager who retired with a Reply All email tirade shows how not to quit a job

After 35 years working for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 58-year-old Michael Stuban ended his career with a bang.

According to a recent article by The Washington Post, he emailed a "brutally honest" exit questionnaire that ripped his colleagues and bosses to not only the HR department, but also to the 2,000-plus other employees at the Turnpike Commission.

"When they asked for an honest exit interview, I gave them one," Stuban told Philly.com. He retired on Thanksgiving Day and now plans to travel and volunteer at his church.

While it might be tempting, and seemingly hilarious, to go out in a blaze of glory like Stuban or Joanna in "Office Space," you're better off holding your tongue.

Here are a few tips to help you master the art of quitting.

Zip it.

As much as you may want to tell co-workers that you're looking for another job, don't do it.

"Your manager may view your desire to depart as a betrayal, so it's best to keep quiet," says Marie McIntyre, a career coach and author of "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics."

"As soon as your boss knows you're looking, you will be viewed as a short-timer and may lose out on valuable opportunities, like promotions, raises, assignments, or training."

Do your homework.

Before you start preparing your "Take this job and shove it" speech, or you even breathe a word of your resignation to a co-worker, do your homework on potential next jobs.

You might find out that to go to a competitor, you have to take a pay cut. You might want to figure out a way to stay or consider a career change to maintain your current pay and lifestyle.

Check sites like GetRaised.com or Salary.com so you won't end up a victim of fuzzy math.

Interview on your own time.

Schedule interviews before or after work, or during lunch. If that's not possible, use vacation time, McIntyre suggests. You wouldn't want the reference from your old employer to say, "Well, he kind of lost interest there at the end …."

Plus, McIntyre points out, the interviewer will likely appreciate the respect you're showing to your current employer.

Finish strong.

In fact, the best way to quit is to rally at the end. Do even more at your current job and do it better. That will impress the interviewer and make for a solid reference from your current employer for years to come.

Imagine your old bosses saying, "Yeah, we really took a hit when that guy left …," instead of, "Good riddance. He didn't do much here anyway!"

Don't aim to go out in a blaze of glory.

If you burn a bridge these days, you will very often regret it.

Consider this: You land a job at a competitor and tell your bosses exactly what you think of them. Next thing you know, the two companies merge and you're now eye to eye with the guy you just insulted. Whose name do you think will be at the top of the list for the next round of layoffs?

Don't talk trash on an interview or at your new job.

As with dating, it's tempting to be dismissive of the person you just left. Bite your tongue. You don't know these people yet and you never know when someone knows or is married to someone at your old company. Plus, you don't want your new coworkers to think you're indiscreet or a generally negative type.

"It's been said that you can judge the true character of a person by the way they leave a job. Even if you are deliriously happy to get out of there, leave your work in good shape for the next person and bid everyone farewell in a pleasant, friendly manner," McIntyre says.

Quick recap: Zip it. Do your homework. And as much fun as it is to rant, keep any stories you tell about your old office positive.