Some of you may be old enough to remember the 1970′s country song, Take This Job and Sh- – - It, popularized by Johnny Paycheck. For some, it became something of anthem, and who hasn’t felt that way about their job at one time or another?
It isn’t hard to feel that way when your employer is reprimanding you, dumping more work on you, passing you over for a promotion or not giving you a raise. It’s all so easy to begin contemplating quitting — and not just quitting but doing it in a way that lets your boss, his boss and everyone else in the company know that they’ve pushed you too far.
Tempting, isn’t it? On some emotional level, it can feel as if you’re getting even. But if you’re thinking about doing something like that, don’t! For at least a half a dozen reasons, quitting your job on good terms will be in your best interests, especially over the long run.
1. It’s not the Christian thing to do.
If you’re a Christian, it’s always important to remember that our first, best witness are our actions, not our words. How we deal with people — especially those who mistreat us — speaks volumes about who we serve: God. It’s easy to be good and kind to people who are good and kind to us. But being good and kind to those who aren’t takes some real spiritual discipline.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructs us to be “reconciled” with those around us:
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. — Matthew 5:23-24 NIV
If you quit your job on bad terms, you’re leaving an un-reconciled relationship in your wake. If it’s your employer who creates the conflict, there’s probably not much you can do about it. But you should do what ever is possible to be sure that it isn’t your actions that are the main reason for the conflict. And even if your employer is at fault, you should still do what ever you can to diffuse it and leave on good terms.
There plenty of worldly reasons to quit your job on good terms too . . . .
2. You’ll probably need a job reference.
People change jobs more frequently than they did in the past. That means we’re more likely to be in the job hunt, and more likely to need references who will speak well of us. Previous employers are the most relevant references we can get.
If you quit your job on bad terms, you can just about forget about getting a good reference. And even if you decide to leave names out of the picture — telling a prospective employer, for example, that your previous boss no longer works there — most employers know how to get references from somewhere else in the company. This is especially true if they use the services of an employment agency.
3. Your old boss could be your new boss one day.
Picture this . . . you’re six months on your new job — happy as a clam — but your company calls a meeting to announce that they’ve hired a replacement for your manager. Your new boss is . . . your old boss!
Not only do people change jobs more frequently today, but so do previous bosses! Never discount the possibility that the boss you worked for in the past could become your new boss in the future. It does happen from time to time!
4. You might want or need to come back one day.
You’ve doubtlessly heard the saying “don’t burn your bridges.” Well, don’t. A layoff at your new job could send you scurrying back to your old employer. You may not be welcome if you left that job in a blaze of your own glory.
5. Former employers are potential contract or freelance opportunities.
A lot of people who lose their jobs turn to freelance or contract work, and this is especially true if you’re over 40 years old. The best prospects for freelance and contract work are often previous employers. Even if you were let go in a layoff, they may be able to afford your services as a part time or temporary contractor.
If you turn to contract or freelance work after losing your job, you’ll need to find work quickly, and that will mean finding clients who are familiar with your work. Previous employers will be most familiar — they’re like a ready-made client base waiting to be tapped. But you’ll only be able to do that if you left those jobs on good terms.
6. You never know who knows who.
Any time you’re in the running for a new job, the prospective employer will put out feelers looking for people who know you and your work. Even if you don’t list one or more previous employers as references, chances are the new employer will come across some during the search. All you need is one or two influential people from your past to give a poor reference and your candidacy for a new job could be finished.
The Apostle Paul tells us:
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – Romans 12:18 NIV
It’s an outstanding witness to others, and it makes good business sense. No matter how much you want to get even with an employer, do your best to contain your emotions and remember the God you serve. In the end, it will go better for you if you do.
Have you ever had a job that you wanted to quit and let them know that they did you wrong? How did you handle it? Leave a comment below!