4 Ways to Rage Quit a Toxic Job (Without Ruining Your Reputation)

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 19, 2024 at 5:15AM UTC

Have you ever thought about just throwing in the towel, screaming that you’re quitting and leaving in a blaze of glory? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are fed up with their jobs and dream of rage quitting.

Most people, however, dutifully go through the proper channels, submitting their two-week notice, writing a polite letter to HR and getting everything in order before they say their goodbyes. 

But in the midst of the Great Resignation, grievances are more likely to come to light. Toxic management, insufficient employee protection and all-around improper workplace standards have led employees around the world to leave their jobs in droves — sometimes voicing their frustration and concerns before they do.

Is it ever okay to rage quit? Not exactly. But here are some steps you can take to show management what you really think — without burning your bridges.

1. Turn your rage into something productive.

Feel like you’re not being respected? Instead of giving your manager a reason to disparage you and your work, channel your anger into productivity. Start working on a side hustle, perhaps, or put your effort into applying to tons and tons of jobs or sending cold letters.

You should also find outlets to help you cope with your work situation, such as finding hobbies you love outside of work. This will give you something to look forward to so you’re not spending every second dreading going into the office and being angry about your environment. 

2. Stay even-tempered.

It’s hard to keep your cool when you’re dealing with a difficult, frustrating situation. However, it’s in your best interest to stay as even-tempered as possible. This is especially true if you’re offering constructive feedback on how you believe the business can improve its operations. Your employer is much more likely to listen to you and respect what you have to say if you come across as level-headed. Nobody’s going to give your words any credence if you’re yelling or crying.

This means you should wait a beat after a particularly stressful situation. Take a moment to collect yourself.

3. Put it in writing.

Resignation letters are par for the course when you’re leaving any job. But if you really want your employer to know what went wrong, you could go beyond the standard “my last day will be such and such” and detail the reasoning behind your decision. When you do it in writing, you’re more likely to keep your anger in check. Do your best to stick to facts and prevent your emotions from creeping in — by staying level-headed and even-tempered, your words are more likely to land and be heard.

4. Get everything in order.

Ideally, you’ll have a backup job before you submit your resignation. But there are certainly times when you’ll feel like you need to quit without landing another role first. Still, it’s critical to get everything in order so you can make a “quick getaway” so to speak. For example, you should back up and clean out any personal files from your work computer and other devices, like tablets and mobile phones, if they’re company property. 

You should also clear out your physical space of any personal effects. If you’re worried about your boss noticing before you’ve taken the plunge, then do it slowly — but certainly, have everything gone before you actually quit.

There are, of course, some circumstances where you simply have no choice but to quit without taking these steps. If, for instance, you’re facing harassment, retaliation or discrimination or are concerned about becoming privy to illegal activity, then you may not have the time or will to maintain your composure or take productive steps. When it’s a matter of your personal boundaries and safety, you have to protect yourself first.

About the Career Expert:

 Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.

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