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I’ve been at my job as a junior copywriter for nearly two years. The standards where I work are very high and I’ve been struggling to keep up. They are concerned about my lack of progress (despite my efforts to improve up to this point) and have said they may need to lay me off in a few months if they don’t see a noticeable improvement.

They would like to see me reach a middleweight position based on the advice & suggestions that they’ve given me, but I myself know that I’m just not capable of working at the level that they require.

I am therefore thinking it may be best that I just leave so that I don’t have a firing on my employment history. If I were to stay and attempt to reach a middleweight role in the ways that they’ve suggested, I could see it being very stressful and would make my performance even worse as a result.

I am considering doing what I’ve always wanted and pursuing a more artistic / self-employed endeavour whilst having a part-time job to help with my cashflow. I'm also considering looking for another copywriter role at a different agency (one that isn't so high-profile).

Would it be unreasonable to say to my boss that I think it’s for the best if I just hand in my notice? I think both me and him know that I’m not good enough to be working there, and any attempts for me to improve would only result in a lot of stress and disappointment.

However it would be a lot easier on my finances if I stayed for another 2-3 months. I’m considering suggesting to my boss that I’d be happy to carry on working there for this period, and for me to just continue working the really basic kinds of projects that I’ve been given over the last few months (the kind where it’s a waste for them to be passed to the senior writers).

I would even be happy to work there part-time if that suits them.

I feel something like this would benefit both me and them, but would it seem rude / unprofessional like I was trying to bargain with them instead of trying to improve as they’ve suggested?

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This really needs a country tag! But anyway, here is another angle you could take: You can offer to leave voluntarily. In many countries and Legislation this makes it A LOT easier for your employer and can be a good bargaining chip.

Then you offer to keep going as a freelancer for the type of work that shows up occasionally and that would be a "waste of time for the senior writers".

This could be a win-win: the company doesn't have to fire you, you are off their payroll and they have a convenient way to get grunt work done "as needed" without permanent staff and infrastructure by someone who already knows his way around the company.

It's good for you too: you have a freelance gig lined up, you are already familiar with their style and processes, you get the work arrangement that you want and this setup looks good on the resume and is easily explained to a future employer (if needed).

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    Thanks, this was another thing I was considering. I am already registered as self employed afterall, and was freelance before I started this job. So I could potentially do some freelancing (hopefully for my current employer too) while I look for a new job – RR88 Oct 12 at 12:32
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However it would be a lot easier on my finances if I stayed for another 2-3 months. I’m considering suggesting to my boss that I’d be happy to carry on working there for this period, and for me to just continue working the really basic kinds of projects that I’ve been given over the last few months (the kind where it’s a waste for them to be passed to the senior writers).

Only you know your boss well enough to guess how well received such a suggestion would be.

However, given that your performance so far has been inadequate, that they have already indicated they would get rid of you if you don't improve, and that you are proposing to just cruise along with the easy work for a few months - I can't see why they would agree. I suspect they would just terminate you after the required notice period.

I think you would be far better served to decide what you want to do after this job, get everything in order, give the normal or required notice, then leave.

If that means working hard and dealing with the stress for 2-3 months, then that's what it takes.

I would even be happy to work there part-time if that suits them.

Unless you are talking about working part-time in a different role, it's not clear why this would suit them. You have already decided you aren't capable of working to the level they want. Going part-time wouldn't seem to change that.

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I would suggest that you have an open discussion with your boss: Explain your concerns, together try to find a solution that works for both of you (this depends on what you want and what the company wants).

Even if this discussion does not yield a good result, it's still better than just quitting, because if that is the alternative, you do not have much to lose. And it is a professional thing to do, as it gives the company and you the chance to find a solution that may work for both.

However, do not underestimate your ability to learn. Sometimes things seem impossible but after some training and routine it is possible. So a bit stress in order to improve your skills may well pay off in the long run. It is always useful to improve your skill set.

If you decide to quit, then try to sign at a new job first.

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In the UK, with almost two years, your first goal is to finish the two years for the right to redundancy pay. After that, I see no reason why you would be fired. Being laid off and being fired is not the same thing. Let someone look at the financial impact of quitting vs. being laid off; quitting can cost you thousands. Obviously look if there are other opportunities all the time.

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