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Can I Quit My New Job?

Can I Quit My New Job?

You took a new job that you thought was going to work out. Just a few days, weeks, or months in, and you know it’s not the place for you. You want to bail—bad—but is it ok to quit a new job?


Here’s what you keep telling yourself:

1 | You don’t want to look like a quitter to your current employer.

2 | You don’t want to look like a flake to your family and friends.

3 | You’re not sure how to explain such a quick turn-around on your resume.

4 | You feel guilty about leaving your company or co-workers in the lurch.

5 | You’re not sure if you’ve given the job a fair chance.


But, you have compelling reasons to get outta there. Maybe…

1 | The job you do is not the same as the job they told you you’d be doing.

2 | You are being emotionally or verbally abused.

3 | The people suck.

4 | In order to do your job, you have to go against your values or integrity.

5 | It just feels wrong.


Every time I’ve taken a new job that was not a good fit (and there have been many), I’ve known pretty quickly that things were not going to go well. I bet the same is true for you. You should expect an adjustment period in a new job; it will take some time for you to get to know the ropes and feel comfortable with new people, systems, and tasks, but you can trust your intuition. When you know, you know.

And once you know, it’s best to move on. It will make things easier for you and your company, because the less training and investment they’ve put into you, the easier you are to replace.

But let’s go back and look at some of those reasons (fears) that are holding you back.


Here are some of the things that you’re nervous about:

1 | You don’t want to look like a quitter to your current employer.

You can’t control what other people think. I care what you think about yourself. You are entitled to make mistakes, have false starts, and fix it. Don’t let the opinion of someone you don’t even want to work for keep you put.

2 | You don’t want to look like a flake to your family and friends.

Your true friends will have your back and understand when you tell them your reasons for leaving. If your family is upset, they’re probably more anxious for you than anything else. Keep them on a need-to-know basis, but be open with your partner.

3 | You’re not sure how to explain such a quick turn-around on your resume.

If it’s a super quick turn-around, you don’t have to explain it at all; just leave it off your resume!

If you do have to explain yourself, pretend like you’re CJ on The West Wing and get ahead of the story. You control the narrative. One version of the story is that you’re an irresponsible loose cannon and a risk to hire. That version was probably written by your inner critic, and we hates it. A more accurate narrative would look something like:

“I was really excited to try something new. It turned out to not be the fit I was looking for, so I made a quick change. I felt it was better for me and more courteous to the company not to drag things out.”

4 | You feel guilty about leaving your company or co-workers in the lurch.

If you’re really concerned about this, you can offer to stay until they’ve found a replacement. But that’s the thing: you’re replaceable. Once you’re out the door, they will move on. The company will not crumble. They will be fine.

5 | You’re not sure if you’ve given the job a fair chance.

Refer to above re: trusting your gut. But if you’re doing this a lot, there might be something else going on.


It’s no big deal to try out a job or two and discover that they aren’t a good fit. But if you’re fleeing from job to job to job and none of them are satisfying you? You, frequent flyer, have some work to do. The pattern here is you, and the problem is that you don’t know what you’re looking for. Your big job right now is to get very clear on what you want so you can stop bouncing.


I once quit a job on the first day. After a day of red flags, the manager walked me to the parking garage and said, “Make sure you always walk to your car with a friend. We’ve had some attacks happen in here over the last few months.”

I went home in tears. I wanted to quit, but I had only been there one day! I felt guilty. This really smart and handsome guy that was hanging out in my apartment (oh wait, that was my husband) told me that it was ok to quit. The whole position sounded like rubbish, but my safety was non-negotiable. So I made the phone call right then, quit, and felt instant relief.

If the parking garage hadn’t been an issue, I think I would have stayed…for a couple weeks. I knew that it was not the place for me. You’ll know, too. Trust it, be brave, and take care of yourself.

  1. kmj_inc@yahoo.ca

    November 5th, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Laura,Are you reading my mind?
    I am in a new job – it is a “temporary growth opportunity” which means that my old job is being held for me while I try out this new role for a year.

    I am not crazy about this new role at all, (I really don’t like it). Although I want to quit on most days, the temporary nature of the job along with the skill development opportunities and great people compel me to stay. Seeing as I only have 1 of the 5 reasons to go (the job just feels wrong), this is where I shall be until my contract is over next year.

  2. laura@yourcareerhomecoming.com

    November 6th, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Morgan, I try to! You don’t need all 5 reasons to go; one is enough. Trust your gut. Good luck with your contract and whatever comes next.

  3. erika.smith.11@cnu.edu

    January 30th, 2017 at 3:11 am


    I took a job in finance to make money to go back to school. My best friend who works at the company got me the job. On day one, I knew the position wasn’t for me. Two weeks later, on Sunday nights I feel sick to my stomach about having to return the following morning, and I fantasize about quitting. To be honest, I feel that accepting this job was a mistake, but I don’t want to damage my best friend’s reputation in the company. What would you advise?

  4. laura@laurasimms.net

    January 30th, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Erika,

    That’s a sticky situation, and you’re thoughtful to consider your friend. My advice:

    1. Decide what you’re going to do. If you’re going to quit, make up your mind for sure and decide when you’re going to do it.
    2. Shortly before you do it, let your friend know. Thank her, share your concerns about her being disappointed or how it will reflect on her. Let her know your plan for quitting which is to:
    3. Quit, leading in with the statement that your friend was gracious in helping to bring you in and your decision is not a reflection of her. Express gratitude for your time there. And then give your notice.

    You can use that free script above if you need more guidance on exactly what to say.

    You’ve got this!



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