How and When to Quit Your Job


We recently received the following question/request from a reader:

How do you approach your manager? I was offered a better position at my company and also had another interview elsewhere. I took the job at my company, because I hadn’t heard from the other company. I just got a call from the other company and I told them I already accepted another position with my company. The other company proceeded to offer me $3/hour more. I don’t want to quit my job but that’s a good pay difference. Please help.


Hi Sam,

Thank you for sending us your question and predicament. The overriding answer to this depends in part on your short and long-term goals, and in part on how well you are being treated at your current place of work.

My first goal is always: FMF. Feed My Family. So long as I’m able to do that in either position, then I can start to weigh my options. (For example, no matter how much I hated a job, I would never quit if it meant I would struggle to feed my family.)

Since both jobs allow you to feed your family, then I would want to weigh the following if I were you. Ask yourself:

  • Which position brings me closer to my short-term goals?
  • Which position brings me closer to my long-term goals?

If the answer to both of these is your current position, then there is no need to think further. However, if you answered the other job for either of these, then you need to look a little deeper:

  • Do I genuinely like the people with whom I work?
  • Do I genuinely like my boss?
  • Do I genuinely like my job?

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, then (for me) the decision comes down to this: Will an additional $3 per hour make up for a job I may not like, working with people I might not enjoy, and for a boss I could hate?

Only you can answer that; as people are generally split on this question.

It’s important to know that most people don’t quit jobs over money; they quit over crappy managers. Also, it takes almost no time for workers to change their lifestyle just enough after a raise that the raise no longer matters. I once heard a comedian say that no matter how much money he made, he always needed another $100 per week (I think it was the late, great David Brenner, but I can’t recall exactly). In other words, if you’ve always been living paycheck to paycheck, then a raise is unlikely to change that behavior.

While it is true that for the first few weeks after receiving the higher pay you will feel like you’re making more money, over the medium term most everyone begins spending exactly what they make. The key (off the topic, I know) is to become a saver. Only those who religiously save some portion of their paycheck each week truly benefit from raises over the longer term. Saving also provides a freedom that those living paycheck to paycheck simply cannot envision. It’s no secret that most self-made millionaires are savers, not spenders. In fact, they save more than 20% of their income.

Okay, enough digression, back to your situation…

Your real question was how do you tell your current boss that you’re leaving, right?

Since I don’t know your relationship, I’m not sure how he/she will take it, but I don’t care. And ultimately neither should you.

While I do not advocate burning bridges, I do want you to be selfish. Selfish in that you need to do what is best for Sam and Sam’s family – always. If your employment is “at will,” then companies owe you nothing and you owe them nothing.

Be courteous, respectful and truthful. Don’t resign in writing unless it’s an executive position; just tell your boss that you have a better offer that you simply cannot pass up. Thank him/her for all the trust they’ve put in you, and tell him/her that if they ever need anything from you, you’ll gladly help them.

If he/she gets angry about this, that’s his/her problem. If your boss does become upset with you for giving notice, then you’ll know you made the right decision. A truly great leader would shake your hand and wish you all the best.

People leave. It happens. Great leaders and great companies understand this.