Is it better to quit or be fired? (pros & cons of both)
If you sense or see signs that your days at work are numbered, you may find yourself wondering if it is better to get fired or quit.
It is better to quit a job on good terms rather than to be fired because getting fired can damage an employee's professional reputation. Finding a job after being fired due to compliance or work performance issues could be more challenging.
Still, let’s explore the two sides of the coin in greater detail.
And we’ll hopefully help you make the right decision, regarding the best way of parting with your job.
Table of Contents
The pros of quitting your job
Quitting your job is never easy. But if things have become unbearable at the workplace, you better save yourself the stress and resign.
There are several advantages of leaving your job position on your own accord.
1. Sense of relief and freedom
No one wants to be stuck in an unpleasant work environment. Whether you’ve been enduring toxic workplace culture, constant micromanagement, or task overload, the decision to resign would give you an immediate sense of liberation, that’s for sure.
2. Feeling in control of your own life
Resigning on your own terms by strategically choosing the right time is never to be underestimated.
Maybe, you’ve already lined up a couple of job interviews, or even better – you’ve got an attractive job offer. Then, what comes naturally is quitting your old job.
3. An opportunity to progress your career
Sometimes, quitting your job is better than putting up with a disrespectful boss, unfair pay, or overly long hours.
So, even if you’ve got nothing secured, as in another job, you’ll gain the extra free time and mental clarity to look for better employment options to grow and improve your career.
4. Unblemished employment history
Getting fired can affect your reputation and prospects of finding work sometimes. Rumors spread like fire, so it’s possible for potential recruiters to find out that you got fired from your last job.
The cons of quitting a job
The drawbacks of resigning your job should also be considered, however, especially if you haven’t got anything lined up for the future. Here are some examples.
1. Uncertainty for the future
The feeling of freedom, having all the time in the world (now that you don’t have to clock in and out of the dreaded workplace), can soon be overpowered by a glooming sense of uncertainty.
“What if I can’t get a job soon enough? How will I support myself?”
2. Loss of income
You’re no longer employed, which means you have no regular income to meet your financial needs. And there could be some time before you find a new job, of course.
So, it’s always best if you have some savings put aside for rainy days, right?
3. Losing the right to get unemployment
Quitting your job will make you ineligible for unemployment benefits. So, think about how you’ll live before making the decision to resign.
It’s a good idea to look for another job first and then, give your notice or outright quit your job.
4. A gap in your employment history
Leaving the organization you work for without a secured new job role can lead to a gap in your resume’s employment history.
A good tip is to fill the intermission in employment by enrolling in a free course or internship program, as well as by participating in short-term voluntary work.
The pros of getting fired
It may come to your surprise but there are actually a few pros to getting terminated by your employer instead of voluntarily leaving your job. So, what are the benefits of being fired?
1. Eligibility for unemployment
Getting fired will make you eligible for receiving unemployment insurance benefits in most cases. This financial aid will definitely give you a breather.
You’ll be able to look for a new and possibly better job, upgrade your skills via a training course, etc.
2. Possible severance pay
Many companies would offer severance pay to their employees once terminated, provided their employment contract did not end, due to bad behavior, misconduct, or violation of company policies.
Note that getting laid off does not always result in receiving severance pay.
3. Increased chances of successful litigation
Not everyone gets fired “with cause.” So, if you believe that getting terminated by your boss without a valid reason is in view, don’t rush to resign.
You will have a fighting chance of winning in court later on if you are willing to go that far. Conversely, you’ll be stripped of this opportunity immediately if you quit your job.
4. Accumulation of evidence against a potential unfair dismissal
In relation to the above, staying, while knowing that you’re about to get fired, will give you the upper hand in gathering evidence against your prospective unfair dismissal.
While still on the premises, you can access files, talk to colleagues, and so on, which can help you in a lawsuit.
Again, resigning will negate the possibility of collecting evidence, as your access to company records, accounts, and computers will be turned off, effective the date you quit.
The cons of getting fired
Although it’s not the end of the world or the time to fall apart if you get fired, you better learn about the negatives of losing your job in this way, too.
1. Adverse effects on your health
More sensitive people may fall into a deep depression and even experience physical symptoms if their employer fires them from their job.
Try to pick yourself up and stay positive by looking for other opportunities and see the whole thing as a blessing in disguise. Feeling sorry for yourself will get you nowhere.
2. Damaged reputation
Despite the fact that the reasons for your termination should be confidential, the news about how you lost your job can spread quickly among employers.
This can harm your reputation and your prospects of getting a better job position.
3. Diminished chances of employment
Long-term unemployment can be often the result of getting fired from your old job. Word-of-mouth has gone far and wide and now recruiters in the same sector are unwilling or reluctant to give you a chance.
4. Unsteady finances
Getting fired may lead to receiving unemployment. But if you’ve violated some company policies and lost your job due to that, then you may find yourself in a predicament of financial distress.
As mentioned above, securing regular income through new employment straight away may also prove hard.
Is it better to be fired or quit without notice?
It is better to get fired than leave without notice (providing you’re in an at-will employment job situation) if you’re hoping to get unemployment benefits.
You also need to consider the fact that future employers would be interested to find out why exactly you were fired.
However, presuming your life at work has become unbearable and you don’t want to stay a minute longer, then quitting without notice may be your only exit option but with all the repercussions that follow.
Is it better to quit or be fired to get unemployment?
To get unemployment, you need to be fired first or laid off. Quitting your job voluntarily will result in your ineligibility for unemployment benefits.
With that said, however, being fired ‘with a cause’, such as gross misconduct at work, stealing, or job abandonment, will most likely harm your eligibility for getting severance pay and/or unemployment support.
My advice when quitting your job
I understand that navigating the decision to quit or be fired is complex, and each situation is unique.
That's why it's essential to prioritize your long-term career goals and well-being.
If you're considering resignation, ensure you have a plan in place, whether it's another job offer or a financial safety net.
On the other hand, if you're facing potential termination, consider the implications for future employment opportunities and weigh the pros and cons I mentioned above, such as unemployment eligibility.
Ultimately, make an informed decision that will align with your professional aspirations and personal circumstances.
Frequently asked questions
How can I prepare for a potential job loss?
Begin by building an emergency fund, updating your resume, and expanding your professional network. Stay informed about industry trends and consider upskilling to remain competitive.
How should I address the topic of quitting or being fired in future job interviews?
Be honest but concise. Focus on the lessons learned, how you've grown since the experience, and your eagerness to contribute positively to a new role.
What steps should I take to ensure financial stability?
Review your finances and adjust your budget. Apply for unemployment benefits if eligible, and start your job search immediately. Consider temporary or freelance work to bridge the income gap.
What are the signs that it might be time to consider quitting before potentially being fired?
Consistent negative feedback, being excluded from key meetings, a significant decrease in responsibilities, or a gut feeling of misalignment with the company's culture or values.