Fifty Ways to Leave Your Loser

By Robert Goldman

June 13, 2019 5 min read

Paul Simon came up with "50 ways to leave your lover." I wish I could say the same when it comes to leaving your loser of a job. Unfortunately, there are only seven ways to leave a job. If you don't like it, don't blame Paul Simon. Blame Harvard.

The distinguished Harvard Business Review — HBR to its friends — came up with the seven-ways concept, or so I learned from "Pick one of these 7 ways to quit your job," a recent Dominique Rodgers post on the Monster website.

Frankly, I wish the HBR would stick to what it does best — yes, I'm talking about the annual COO Swimsuit issue — because when the Ivy League eggheads at Harvard start messing with my professional life, I get a serious case of what they would call, at Harvard Medical School, the heebie-jeebies.

But maybe I'm being unfair. According to Rodgers' post, Gallup's State of the American Workplace survey reports that " 51% of American workers are actively looking for a different job or watching for openings right now."

If you are part of the disgruntled 51%, you are free choose any of the seven approved ways, but you must avoid the one way you most want to use. Hate to tell you, but according to the Monster experts, "going out in a blaze of swear words is never a good idea."

The "by-the-book quit" is certainly the most politic way to go. Telling your manager that you have accepted a new position and will be leaving in two weeks is "respectful, professional, and provides room for the company to make the best choices to prepare for your departure."

I suppose there is something worthwhile in giving the company time to burn your access card and fumigate your cubicle, but according to workplace expert Robby Slaughter, you should only take this approach to taking off "when relationships are generally positive and when you have respect for your job."

Since that's never going to happen, better move on to No. 2.

In the "grateful quit," you take extra time to explain how appreciative "you are for the opportunity to have worked at the company, and sometimes includes an offer to train a new person." The being grateful bit will probably not be possible, unless you've been hiding acting skills worthy of Meryl Streep. Besides, the last thing your employer will want is a clone of you. (Your training will be helpful to your replacement, who you can school on the best place to take a nap and which door to use when sneaking out at 3 p.m.)

The "in-the-loop quit" assumes you have previously told your manager that you are looking to leave. You are advised to skip this way if "you're leaving for a direct competitor or you're concerned about an early dismissal from your current job."

Since you've been concerned about an early dismissal since the day they hired you, better forget being "in the loop."

If you think your employer will attempt to interfere in your future job, the "perfunctory quit" lets you conceal the location of your new company. Since your employer has done nothing but interfere with your current job, leaving in a cloud of mystery makes a lot of sense. It could also make it difficult for the company to forward your final paycheck, so before you leave, take something of equal value. Three paper clips and a pencil should do it.

I especially like the "avoidant quit" because you leave your manager a note or send an email to human resources but never have a face-to-face meeting. Workplace guru Slaughter suggests that if you are concerned your employer will "behave inappropriately," ask for a third party to be present when you inform your manager.

I recommend Miley Cyrus.

If she is unavailable, just leave.

The "impulsive quit" and the "bridge-burning quit" are similar in that they are both only acceptable when your current employer is totally toxic to your "long-term career or personal brand." While ghosting your boss is acceptable in these situations, you are cautioned not to vent your frustrations before you vanish.

I agree. The time to vent your frustrations is not on your last day: It's on your first day. This will give you more time to look for your next job.

It will also give you valuable practice in the art of quitting.

Remember: The more often you quit, the better you'll be at it. With any luck, no one will ever hire you again.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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