“Is it better to quit or be fired” is a question that boggles the mind of dissatisfied, mismanaged, and frustrated employees. But it’s also a question for those seeking a higher salary. What exacerbates the need to switch jobs, in one way or another, is the necessity of better career prospects, opportunities, and higher living standards. Through the years of Covid, hundreds of thousands of employees traded their current jobs for higher-paying ones. But how did they do it? Did they quit, or were they fired? To answer the question, we must examine the pros and cons of quitting and getting fired to determine which option best suits you.
What Does Quitting Mean?
Quitting, in relation to employment, means voluntarily ending your employment with your employer. Quitting is done by notifying your employer that you will no longer work for them. In many cases, companies have policies that state employees must hand in their notice one or several months in advance – it is rarely possible to quit on the spot. Still, it generally depends on the industry and status within the company.
Common reasons for quitting include personal reasons, the need to take a break, dissatisfaction, and others.
Advantages of Quitting
While quitting your job might come off as negative, you get the added benefit of departing in a positive way for future employers. Quitting isn’t the same as getting fired; your resume will show that. Furthermore, quitting might still leave you on good terms with your current employer, which might give you the benefit of putting a good recommendation and the possibility to negotiate severance pay.
Disadvantages of Quitting
With that said, quitting does have negative consequences. Most of these disadvantages come in the area of unemployment benefits. While it is possible to negotiate severance pay, that is rarely the case. Employees who quit also will not be able to collect unemployment, nor are they eligible for similar compensations. Therefore, it’s best to have a job lined up before quitting.
What Does Getting Fired Mean?
Getting fired means the employer terminates your contract due to various reasons. Common reasons for getting fired are poor job performance, violation of contract or company policies, misconduct, budget cuts, and others. Similarly to quitting, there is a degree of notice when getting fired, usually between a few weeks and a month. If you’re still under contract and your employer decides to fire you, they must outline why.
Advantages of Getting Fired
It’s safe to assume that getting fired from your job can be a harmful experience that can negatively affect your mental state. Judging by this, one would think there aren’t many advantages to getting fired. However, as one door closes, a new one opens, and getting fired leaves you eligible for unemployment benefits unless the cause for the firing is related to unethical or illegal activities.
Another inherent advantage of getting fired is the chance of a fresh start. Getting fired means you have the time to pursue new job opportunities that reflect your interests, values, and skills.
Finally, there is one last advantage of getting fired. Namely, if you were forcefully fired without cause, you can sue for wrongful termination. However, this is often a double-edged sword, as the case could take years to settle and endless resources which you might not have compared to the company.
Disadvantages of Getting Fired
The inherent disadvantage of getting fired is the inevitable negative experience, which can have short- and long-term repercussions. An obvious disadvantage is a financial instability that comes with a loss of employment. While your unemployment benefits might satisfy you in the short term, getting fired means, you must actively look for new employment to prevent further financial disarray.
Other disadvantages of getting fired would include potential legal or ethical consequences if the reason for the firing was violating company policies and misconduct, loss of benefits (healthcare insurance, retirement savings, etc.), and reputational damages.
So, Is It Better to Quit or Be Fired?
Now that we’ve examined both pros and cons of quitting versus getting fired let’s answer the question.
In general, quitting is better than being fired because quitting allows you to maintain some control over the circumstances of your departure and may help you preserve your professional reputation. However, in some situations, being fired may be preferable or unavoidable.
If you’re considering quitting your current job, it’s best to have a backup job lined up. Moreover, you must be financially prepared to sustain your current lifestyle and the challenges that might arise due to the lack of employment.
On the other hand, getting fired might negatively reflect on your resume and reputation. In addition, future employers might be discouraged from employing you if you are fired for behavior reasons or illegal activities.
Ultimately, whether it is better to quit or be fired depends on your unique situation concerning the circumstances surrounding your employment.
No, getting fired doesn’t necessarily mean it will ruin your career. On the contrary, there are many reasons why your contract might be terminated, including reasons unrelated to your professionalism or behavior. After all, the most common reasons for getting fired include budget cuts.
You should quit your job when you satisfy the following criteria:
You feel financially stable and ready to tackle future challenges that arise with a lack of finding new employment.
You already have a new job to take over.
You want to transition into an industry/company/role that offers growth.
You feel unmotivated, undervalued, or dissatisfied.
You notice a high turnover rate with your current employers.
When discussing past employment with potential new employers, you can say whatever you wish. However, this is the first question recruiters ask potential new recruits. While you can say, “I quit,” when, in fact, you were fired, the recruiters might get in contact with your past employers to double-check.