Lessons Learned by Rage Quitting a Great Job

A story by someone who ruined a positive collection of relationships by quitting one job in a fit of rage.

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Rage quitting a job
Quitting in a fit of rage

When You’re Ready to Quit…

There are some lessons in life we have to learn the hard way. I place no blame on anyone for my mistakes, but I certainly wish someone had told me about the dangers of “rage quitting” a job when I was younger.

The rational way to end a business relationship with a company is with a professional “Thank you for everything!” And if you mean it throw in a sincere, “I hope we cross paths again in the future!”

In your heart, you may hope to never cross paths again. You may hope the company realizes how important you were and will now fail miserably with out you. But it is best to leave that part out.

After all, the face is comprised of more than 20 facial muscles and if one of those muscles indicates anger, it will be very easy to see.

What Rage Quitting Looks Like…

Rage quitting takes on many forms depending on the job and industry. I have certainly seen my share of people do it in a few industries.

For example:

  • A waiter throwing food at the head chef and storming out
  • A programmer uploading a virus and hacking accounts
  • A bartender smashing drinks and storming out
  • An insurance adjuster lets a claim go into default status
  • An employee stops showing up to work and disappears

All of the people behind these behaviors have one thing in common: They ruined relationships built and made their experience on a resume a risky move to mention.

Destroyed relationships, no references and fear of putting your experience on a resume is no way to build a career path.

How I Learned My Lesson the Hard Way…

Sadly, I have to admit I have rage quit in the past. I hope my mistakes will show others why they should never end business relationships with anger, drama or emotional outburst. We always end up regretting it. Here is my story of rage quitting, which I still regret to this day:

I was working with a company for about 5 years, which was based out of Bogota, Colombia. The staff, CEO, and many others became very good friends of mine. I absolutely loved the position I had as a Community Manager.

Some time around early 2013, the CEO started a new company that was competing with the very company I was hired to work with. It was something that did not make me happy.

One day, I heard a rumor or two that the company I worked with was going to be shutdown. And I rage quit on a Sunday morning by announcing I was quitting on a company blog. I did not tell anyone I was doing it and really left the company in a bad place by doing so.

It Felt Good for 12 Hours…

Then, reality set in that I was not going to be able to sustain my relationships with former colleagues and others in Colombia.

I can take the approach, “So what?”. But as time passes by and the new job search begins I have to face the job interview question:

  • “Why did you leave your last job?”

And the truth will not paint a positive picture of me, there will be no references at my last job after 5 years of work and now I have to lie to people in job interviews to get jobs because companies do not hire rage quitters.

All you can do is what you know until you know better…

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

– Maya Angelou

Thankfully, I have never rage quit since that position. Even better I discovered the power of ending relationships on a positive note and the rewarding acknowledgment of leaving a job with one’s head held high. 

I had a job in 2016 that I loved! I was sad to see it end so soon, but I was laid off. The day I received the email from a manager, “We need to talk”, and it was the end of the month, I knew it was time to accept my fate.

This time I tried something new.  The manager tasked with telling me the bad news had never let anyone go before. He explained the bad news to me, and I simply said, “I want to thank you for everything. I completely understand the decision. I hope we get to work again some day in the future because it was a pleasure.”

The manager then thanked me. He explained to me how he he had never let anyone go before and he felt sick having to do it. He thanked me because I made the process easier for him. To this day, we still stay in touch.  

Take Inventory of Myself

“Rage quitting when I was 100% wrong and losing valuable business and friendships because of it” is perhaps the biggest blunder of my career. And I paid for it in 2016 when I remained unemployed for nearly 14 months.

After years of reflection, and gaining new business experience, I came to realize something important: In 2013, I simply did not have the business experience to understand the changes the CEO was making before me.

And worst of all, I had a vision for what the company should do and it did not match the CEO’s vision. It was time for me to go, but I should not have left the company in such a negative manner.

The Irony of Business Relationships

If you have ever been in any relationship (business or romantic) with a foundational disagreement, you have been through the dilemma of “only making things worse by trying to save a relationship.”

At the time I rage quit, I maybe should have taken inventory of my relationship with the company and rolled with the changes. I should have humbly stated, “I am onboard with the idea, if that is what you want, even though I am not sure what it is, yet.” 

If I then failed miserably, hated the new business idea or the person removed me from the company for not succeeding, at least I could walk away from the company with all relationships intact and references eager to help me.

The mistake I made at the time was taking a business decision personally. I took the CEO’s business decision as a personal attack and jab at the hard work I had put in for the previous 5 years. This was simply the reaction of a person who lacked business experience. This mistake weighed on my soul for many years and severely impacted my ability to succeed in new positions for the next 6 years.

Final note: Hold Yourself Accountable

Remember this one thing about rage quitting a job: Each and everything that happens to us is the sum total of all choices we make. If you are not happy with the way things are going, evaluate your own decisions. 

We choose and choose all throughout our lives. And then we become what we choose, like it or not.

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