Quitting a job in a moment of passion feels great. You get to tell the boss off or just free yourself from a situation that no longer works for you. It's a powerful catharsis that liberates you from a bad situation.
The problem is that the moment fades and so does the good feeling. Quitting a job due to emotion or because of one incident is generally a terrible idea.
Instead, no matter how strong the temptation, you must have the self-preservation instinct required to know that feeling good in the moment is not worth the resulting headache. There are good ways and acceptable reasons to quit a job. The ones below, sadly, are not them.
You're unhappy -- and have no plan
Selena Maranjian: OK, so you really hate going to work. You don't love the work that you have to do, you don't like your boss, and perhaps you're in a toxic work environment that reeks of favoritism, unprofessionalism, micromanagement, or poor communication.
That's bad. One solution is to make a hasty exit, and that can be the best move in some circumstances, but ideally, you shouldn't be too impulsive. For one thing, leaving suddenly in a huff will reflect poorly on you, which can hurt you later if prospective employers check references.
It's best to take some deep breaths and think about your situation. Do you mainly just need a break? Do you have vacation time you can use to recharge? Consider that option. If leaving the job entirely is what you most want to do, though, consider the big picture and approach it strategically.
For starters, if you don't have another job to jump into, try to stay put while seeking your next job. It can be easier to move from one position to another than to get hired while unemployed.
Simply working on a job search while toiling at an unpleasant job can boost your spirits somewhat, as you'll know you're working on your exit instead of just dreaming about it.
Remember your financial situation, too, because you may not be able to afford being unemployed for long. Don't just assume that you'll be in a new job with an ample salary in short order, because things don't always work out that way, and you can deplete your savings and even go into debt while trying to land your next job.
You have a bad boss
Maurie Backman: It's an oft-bemoaned fact that a bad boss can turn an otherwise great job into a terrible one. But before you rush to quit so you'll never have to answer to that monster again, think about what you could be giving up in the process.
If you're in a role with lots of growth potential, there's a chance that come this time next year, you'll no longer be reporting to that same boss anyway, thus eliminating your key sticking point with the job. On the other hand, if you let your frustration get the better of you, you might leave before getting a chance to grow your career.
If your boss is the sole reason you're looking to quit, try working on that relationship before acting prematurely. For starters, sit down with your boss and address the problem head-on.
Explain that you're looking to improve your relationship and that you're willing to take steps to make things better for both of you. With any luck, that'll soothe the situation and get him to ease up.
If that doesn't work, there are other avenues you might pursue, whether it's getting HR involved or asking to switch to a different team. But no matter what you do, don't pull the plug on a fantastic job before exploring alternatives.
You didn't get the promotion
Daniel B. Kline: Sometimes a setback at work can seem unfair, making you want to immediately turn in your resignation. Being passed over for a promotion may feel like the right time to quit, but that's not always the case.
Before you storm off in a rage or quit, it's best to do an honest assessment. Request a meeting with the person who made the decision and ask what you could do differently next time. When that meeting happens, you may hear some constructive criticism and realize that you're not getting the position was actually fair.
Of course, you may be told things that you don't want to hear and those are important, too. In many cases, who gets a promotion has a logic behind it. Sometimes that logic is simply seniority and that may be a tough answer to swallow. In other cases, you will learn what you need to do in order to not be on the outside looking in next time.
Every failure is a lesson, and sometimes it's not failure at all. You may learn your boss has other plans for you or that you're next in line. You could also realize that you have no future at your company.
That's a good lesson as well. It can allow you to fully understand your situation and make rational plans for the future.
The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.