My workplace, where I've been working for 6 years now, has become more and more toxic the past few years and I've been considering to quit. Specifically I've been thinking to notify them months in advance that I will quit, so that we can find someone else to replace me because I fear that the very small company may fall behind in its responsibilities if it loses me or any other employee right now and possibly go bankrupt.

Today, in a team call, my boss started shouting to us and basically blamed me for not working some non-pre-agreed extra time for no compensation during the last weekend. No need to go into more details but the call became VERY heated and has really pushed me to quit. I don't want though to make this decision before I calm down, I'd like to let this week finish and decide to send an email saying that I'd like to quit before June and that they should start looking for a replacement. I don't except to be fired because as I said without a replacement this would put the company (of 5 people) in great risk, but I wouldn't put it past my boss to fire me either way just out of misguided pride (because of this heated call when I asked him to not shout at me).

So my question is: Should I make the decision to quit right now so that I don't risk getting fired? Or is being fired not that bad given that I've been working there for 6 years, so it was unlikely that I was doing a bad job? I'm afraid of what he could say to my future employers.

Thank you very much for your help

  • 11
    What's your location? Advice here will rely on where you are and what the labour laws are like in your area.
    – Erik
    Jan 21, 2019 at 13:50
  • 5
    FWIW Your concern has a well known name Bus factor.
    – Peter M
    Jan 21, 2019 at 14:10
  • 9
    Quitting without another job lined up is not a good idea: you usually aren't eligible for unemployment benefits. Jan 21, 2019 at 16:39
  • 8
    Your goodwill ended when your boss was abusive. I would look for work immediately and give the standard two week notice. Beyond that, it's not your problem. You should never accommodate companies that abuse employees. Full stop. If they crash and burn, not your problem. Jan 21, 2019 at 17:21
  • 1
    For next position any employment status change can be explained by "Company took a different route, not aligned with my carrier goals" :) It may mean anything from downsizing to change of industry focus
    – Strader
    Jan 21, 2019 at 20:23

6 Answers 6


Update your resume, send it out, and be prepared to move on.

It is always easier to find a job if you have a job, and if you think you are about to be terminated, leave.

"Cooperate with the inevitable" means "roll with the punch", it does not mean "wait for the blow". If you leave on your own, then there are no questions to answer about your termination. We have literally gotten dozens of questions here about "How do I explain my termination". You don't want to be in that position.

As an interviewer, I'm going to be more likely to take a candidate who is working because there is nothing indicating that they were fired for cause because they are still working.

Now, if you're not working and you don't have a reason like "I was caring for my mom while she was terminal", there is always that doubt in an interviewers mind. Since in most legal jurisdictions, there are laws preventing a previous employer from saying anything derogatory, there is no way of verifying that you were NOT fired for cause. So, someone currently employed is less of a risk.


If you think you're head is on the chopping block, leave before the axe comes down.


I fear that the very small company may fall behind in its responsibilities if it loses me or any other employee right now and possibly go bankrupt.

It's not your problem. If they don't have this covered, it's on them. Even if it were your problem, it doesn't sound like the respect is mutual.

Depending on where you're working and for how long you've worked, a standard notice period is somewhere between 1-6 months, probably closer to the 3 month period. This should be more than enough to get a new employee somewhat up to speed with what you're doing. If it's not, then again it's not your problem.

Being fired is not really that big if a deal (but of course not good), especially after working for so long for the same company. But it sounds like you're not too happy and you might indeed want to decide that you want to leave on your own terms. It's also much easier to find a job when you're not desperate. You also don't need your current company's reference if you're already employed by them. The company interviewing you understands that they can't ask your current employer how you are.

I'd like to let this week finish and decide to send an email saying that I'd like to quit before June and that they should start looking for a replacement.

Feel free to quit if you're unsure about the future of your position, but have a signed work offer from someone else before you even mention your possible leave. You don't want to quit and then possibly end up being unemployed for a few months, unless you can absolutely afford it and don't mind it.


As a general rule, given the choices availability, do not stay at toxic workplace, the toll is too high and long lasting

I would not worry about reference from current workplace, build your portfolio and achievements list prior to moving on. Update your resume and start looking around.

Not knowing your location, this section can be non-applicable to you:

In most places when you get terminated, you are entitled to some sort of unemployment insurance and some separation money, that you are not entitled to if quitting on your own accord.

Perhaps, getting you to quit instead of being terminated, is one of the reasons to bosses behavior.

Another point (in case you decide to quit):

It is not your job to worry about business feasibility of your employer,minimum advanced notice period is stated in your contract, in most cases, or if not, employment laws


Why do you care if a company that treats you like that crashes and burns? Just start looking for jobs and when you sign the contract provide the minimum notice specified in your contract.

However, it may be better to be fired as voluntarily leaving employment usually means you cannot collect unemployment benefits depending on what jurisdiction you're in. Here in Ireland it's 9 weeks after voluntarily quitting a job, whereas it becomes immediately available if you are fired.

  • If the OP is in the US, this is bad advice because if you are "Fired for cause", you are ineligible for any benefits. Your mileage may vary greatly depending on jurisdiction. Jan 21, 2019 at 16:15

First and most importantly: It is not your problem if the company fails due to bad management. Whether you give them 6 months notice that you want to leave, or 1 month, or 2 weeks, or just walk out and say "see ya later", if that causes the company to go bankrupt, it's not your problem (unless it is legally your problem, the boundaries of which you can find by reading your contract). If the company does not have safeguards in place to remain afloat after an employee has quit the company legally (according to the terms of the contract), that's their problem, not yours.

As for what you should do: In general, if your boss is being toxic towards you, you should look for a new job. You don't want to stay in a place where your boss is toxic; this could affect many things, including your mental and physical health, your happiness, and so on, not to mention things like promotions, raises, getting interesting projects to do, and so on. If you notice your boss start to get angry with you, update your resume and prepare to move on. This is especially true when your boss is angry at you for something that they are in the wrong for. Which is to say, in this case, you were asked after the fact to work unpaid overtime. Aside from being asked after the fact, being required to work unpaid overtime is just wrong, and I would leave this company solely for that reason if nothing else.

Do not tell the company you are leaving until you have another job lined up. Send out your resume, update it appropriately, go on interviews, and once you get an offer, give your company the required amount of notice as required by your contract, and that's all. The problem with saying "I might be quitting" is that you turn into a flight risk. This means the probability of you getting any sort of perk turns into basically zero, because you might get offered a perk, take it, and then immediately quit. This includes getting an interesting project to work on. Best case is you'll be asked to be a deskwarmer for the next N months until you finally hand in the paperwork. Worst case is they pull the old "you can't fire me, I quit!" in reverse, and you suddenly find yourself without a job at all.

Also, I'm not sure this affects you, but in some locales (such as Canada where I live), you will not qualify for Employment Insurance (or Unemployment Insurance as it's known in other places) if you quit; you only qualify if you were fired. You may waive your ability to claim EI if you quit, or some other employment-related benefits. Be careful about that sort of thing as well.


There are a fair number of issues going on here, so let's look at some possibilities.

When your boss is pressuring you to quit there are a few possibilities:

  1. Your boss dislikes you, and wants you to quit for his own reasons.
  2. Your boss just likes to shoot his mouth off. He doesn't really want you to quit, but either can't control his temper or has the bizarre idea that threatening you will make you work better. (He may have been watching too many Army boot camp movies where the sergeants are constantly yelling at the recruits to quit). Note that either of options 1 or 2 makes your boss a jerk.
  3. The company actually want you to quit for their own reasons.

To find out which of these applies you probably need to talk to someone who is not your boss, and in a non-yelling environment. HR (if you have one) or your boss's boss are good bets. Go and have a calm conversation with them, tell them what happened, and ask whether the company really wants you to quit.

If the company doesn't really want you to quit, it's likely they are going to reign your boss in (that doesn't mean your problems are over, but they are no longer an immediate problem). You should probably still look around for a new job, unless your boss gets fired.)

If the company does want you to quit, then you have an opportunity to find out why. They may give you some specific reasons, in which case you have a chance to address them. Or they may not, or give you vague or manufactured reasons. This is an indication that they will find a way to get rid of you. But if they want to make you quit, that means they have a reason not to fire you right now, and that give you a little leverage.

Some options you have are:

  1. Use the information you get about your performance to prolong your employment there (by doing everything they ask of you) until you can find a better job. It is definitely easier to get a job if you already have one, and you run less risk of being without a job for an extended period.
  2. Negotiate a deal, where you agree to quit in return for some consideration. Usually this would be some number of weeks pay, and a promise of a good reference. Also a deal like this means you haven't been fired, so you don't have to explain anything to an interviewer. This is a good approach if the environment is so toxic that you can't stand to stay there.

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