I have lured you here under false pretenses, because guess what? You can’t keep your boss from getting mad when you quit!

You can never control another person’s feelings. But you can quit your job with integrity and deal with your fear over your boss getting mad. So let’s do that.

I’m gonna give you some tough love on this one, because I can’t bear to hear another person deferring their future, health, and happiness because they are worried about their boss’ feelings. Because:

1 | They are feelings. We all have them. Your boss is entitled to them.

2 | You are strong enough to withstand someone else’s feelings.

3 | You don’t want to work there, anyway!

4 | Your boss’ feelings belong to her and her alone. They are not a reflection of you.

So here are some swift kicks, organized by your objections to quitting.

I want to quit, but…

My boss will make mad faces at me. 

You can tolerate this. You are strong enough.

My boss will yell at me. 

This is probably one of the reasons you’re leaving.

My boss will be in the lurch; I am the only person in my department. 

Then your boss should have worked harder to keep you and distribute your workload better. Give adequate notice, and the rest is not your responsibility.

My boss will want to know why I’m leaving, and I don’t want to talk about it. 

All you have to say is that you have another opportunity, or that it’s time for something new.

My boss will counter-offer, and I don’t want to stay. 

If she’s smart she will try to keep you. You can thank her for her offer and let her know that your mind is made up.

I’m just really, really nervous. 

Quitting will be scary no matter what, but preparing will make it better.

Before you talk to your boss, go to the bathroom or somewhere private, and tense every muscle and hold your breath for as long as you can. Do that about 3 times. This will help discharge nervous energy and keep you calm. (Thanks to my acting professor, Richard Brestoff, for teaching me that one.)

When the time comes, focus on your breathing. Take deep, slow breaths. Your breath is your lifeline. If your boss gets angry or tries to be manipulative, put the focus on your breath. Do not participate in any drama. If she yells, is mean, etc, you just breathe. If she tries to talk you into staying, your line is: “My decision is final.” You say it as many times as you have to. If she is verbally abusive, you can just calmly walk out of the room. Breathe, breathe, breathe. You can do this!

Can you keep your boss from getting mad when you quit?

Not really. But you can quit with integrity and take care of yourself in the process. Don’t take on responsibility for anything that is not yours to be responsible for.

Laura Simms is an expert in meaningful work who challenges conventional wisdom by asking people to ditch their passions and start with purpose.

If you have too many passions, zero passions, or can't seem to combine your passions, try her purpose-first approach to find a career you love.  


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