3 Ways to Quit a Job for Political Reasons Without Burning All the Bridges
There’s always a little awkwardness when you hand in your two weeks’ notice. Usually your boss has lots of questions: Why are you leaving? Was she doing something wrong? Is the company at fault?
If your resignation is clearly for career-growth purposes, that’s one thing. But what if you’re leaving for political reasons—because it’s obvious that your company’s values and beliefs are in direct opposition to your own? You know, to the point that you can no longer stomach working there?
A Quora user had this same question, and other members had loads of insight to give.
In short? The best response is to keep things classy.
1. Don’t Bring Up Politics (Literally)
If you’re good at what you do, make that your lasting impression there and not your personal views or feelings. You can let management know that you have an opportunity you cannot refuse without divulging more information (e.g., a chance to be yourself for work with a company with your values). You are not obligated to discuss your next moves or your true intentions.
It’s tempting to march into your manager’s office, declare your political views, snap your fingers in a Z-formation, and vanish in a poof of fairy dust. However, that’s (unfortunately) not a great idea in the real world.
Since your employer might be contacted in the future as a reference, it’s important to leave on good terms—no matter how strongly you disagree with what the company’s doing. Remember: People are more than the companies they work for, and there’s a good chance your team members will be employed elsewhere at some point, too. There’s no need to burn bridges to make a political statement.
2. Keep Your Emotions Out of It
Be aware that the reason you feel you ‘‘need to tell’’ [what your problems are] is because you are emotional[ly] invested. Yet the organization’s aims are not aligned to your values. This is a more fundamental conflict inside you; resolve this attachment and the problem goes away.
As much as you may love or hate your job, you have to remember that it doesn’t define you or owe you anything. So there’s no need to make a bold statement to let people know that you don’t agree with its current policies. This isn’t a romantic breakup. Instead, be at peace with your decision to leave and know that you made the right move for your career (and your ability to sleep at night).
3. Paint it as a Growth Experience
Incorporate your personal growth into your story. Don’t hide it and don’t denounce it unnecessarily. Remember the elements of that work that had merit. Surely there are some.
Use the opportunity to describe the experience as one that led to personal growth. It’s like any other job that you leave because it’s no longer a good fit: You’re grateful for the opportunity and you’ve learned so much, but you felt like your skill set’s better suited for another company right now. No one can really argue with that.
When it comes to parting ways from a company for political reasons, you have to be really careful with what you say and how you say it. There’s absolutely no reason to offend anyone if you don’t have to. So keep your true feelings to yourself (or your pals at happy hour) and move on with grace.
Photo of exit sign courtesy of Shutterstock.
Lily is a writer, editor, and social media manager, as well as co-founder of The Prospect, the world’s largest student-run college access organization. In addition to her writing with The Muse, she also serves as an editor at HelloFlo and Her Campus. Recently, she was named one of Glamour’s Top 10 College Women for her work helping underserved youth get into college. You can follow Lily on Twitter.More from this Author