Is it better to quit or be fired? It’s a question no one wants to face. Deciding between the two options is difficult and no matter what you decide, it marks a big life change. However, it’s important to take into consideration your individual circumstances and make a decision proactively. This will provide you with a sense of control over the situation and let you steer the outcome.
Of course, before you make any decision, check the legal and financial ramifications — for example, if you quit without a good cause, you might not be eligible for unemployment benefits or a severance package from your employer.
If you’re in an emotionally escalated situation, it might also be helpful to ask your co-workers for an outside perspective so you could fix your work situation before it becomes irreparable. For instance, if you have a boss that makes you feel incompetent, see if you can be moved to another group before you consider quitting altogether.
From considerations for your mental and physical well-being to opportunities for reflection and adjustment, here are how our five career experts answered the question, “is it better to quit or be fired?”
Is It Better to Quit or be Fired?
Quitting is Better for Your Mental and Physical Well-Being
I believe quitting is better than being fired for several reasons, the most important of which is mental and physical well-being.
Consciously and voluntarily resigning from a job is less stressful and mentally burdensome for us. Unlike being fired, it does not indicate our ‘failure’. Thus, we have no reason to blame ourselves, and we do not resent ourselves or the employer for his decisions. This prevents us from feeling upset or sad.
Quitting is also a good option because it gives you more control over the situation. When you quit, you can choose the timing and the reasons behind your decision to leave. This can help you leave on a positive note and maintain your professional reputation.
The “Better” Situation Always Depends on The Circumstance
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for whether it’s better to quit or be fired. Both of these scenarios are circumstantial and should depend on a number of different factors.
For example, do you feel like you’re being treated unfairly by your current company and that your expertise would be better utilized and appreciated elsewhere? Or, are operational shifts happening within your organization that is leading to a merging of your job function elsewhere?
The “better” situation always depends on the circumstances.
Quitting Gives You a Head Start In Job Searching
Generally speaking, it’s usually better to quit rather than be fired. Because if you quit, you can maintain control over how you leave your job and how you are perceived by your employer and coworkers. For example, if you quit on good terms, it may be easier to get a good reference from your employer and you can leave with your head held high. Additionally, if you quit, you can start looking for a new job right away and not have to wait until after being fired.
On the flip side, being fired can have serious repercussions on your career in the long term. It can be harder to get a job with a firing on your record and it can cause negative feelings between you and your former employer. Additionally, it can be difficult to explain in job interviews why you were fired.
So it’s important to assess the situation and decide what is best for you. If the job isn’t working out and there’s no chance of improvement, quitting may be the best option.
If You Quit, You Control the Narrative
If you quit, you are in control of the message to new employers. Quitting also shows that you can make measured decisions and recognize when a current job is no longer the right fit. Usually, it affords you the opportunity to leave on good terms, which can be beneficial if you need to use the company as a reference in the future.
Being Fired Gives You The Opportunity To Reflect and Adjust
Being let go is often the better option because it gives you the opportunity to reflect on your actions, and perhaps get the help you need to improve your performance. Quitting often comes from being frustrated with your job due to a toxic culture, lack of opportunity, or poor leadership. It’s then easy to draw the conclusion that the job itself is the problem, and you need to find a new one-but that’s not always the case.
Sometimes your skills, mindset, or approach to work need to be adjusted in order for you to succeed in your role. Quitting without reflecting on what you need to do to improve is a missed opportunity, and could result in repeating the same pattern in your next opportunity.