What is the better choice, wait to get fired from your job or quit before getting fired? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Erin Berkery Rovner, Career Advisor, Former Recruiter, Freelance Writer, on Quora:

What is the better choice, wait to get fired from your job or quit before getting fired?

There is usually one clear answer for each person in this situation depending on the following factors:

Financial Situation

Can you afford to quit without severance? Are they paying out your time off? How long have you worked for this company? If you get fired but you have only been there for a short period of time you may not get a long severance. Have you looked into what unemployment will provide? Do you want to drain your savings?

From the most recent research I've seen it takes an average of 52 days to fill an open position, (up from 48 days in 2011.) So you want to plan accordingly in terms of what you can afford.

You can try temping while you look for a new job, or getting a part time job, but that can prolong a job search. I've had many clients who get a job that they think will keep them financially safe only to have that drain all of their time and leave them feeling more stressed about getting their new job.

Mental State

How toxic is your current workplace? Are you getting sick from stress? Are negative people starting to make you question your self worth?

If you're in a job where you go home and you're crying every night or drinking yourself to sleep, it might tip the scales in favor of quitting right away. You don't need perfect mental health to job search, but if you aren't sure if you can sit through an interview and not feel angry when talking about what your last job put you through, you may need to quit before your job is over.


It should be no secret that in the current economy, your network is just as important as the skills you bring to the table. While it is not easy to get statistics that fully reflect how many jobs don't get posted, there are still a big number of jobs that never make it online. If you don't have a strong network, it can be easier to build one while you're working.

Also if your network is very strong in one industry and you want to break into another one, then that also might have you staying in your current role while you do more informational interviews to grow your relationships somewhere else.

Remember that for many job applications the odds are in the favor of someone who applies but still has their resume forwarded by someone in the company. If your job search only takes job postings into consideration, it will most likely take longer than you anticipate.

Job Market

For your skills are there lots of jobs out there? When you talk to people about the potential of leaving are you hearing things like "there's an opening on my team for someone just like you"? or are you hearing "I haven't heard of anything but I'll let you know"?

When you look on job search aggregators, LinkedIn, social networking sites and in local papers are you seeing a booming economy? Are you seeing lots of job postings? When you go to networking events are you getting an idea that lots of people are hiring?

Planning/Time Management

Do you have time to job search while working full time? Which means that you will need to take time off for interviewing, you will need to be taking networking lunches and phone calls. Not every job allows for that. If you can work 8 hours and then go home and spend a few hours sending emails, making calls, attending events and meeting up with people then it is easy. If you're already working 9-12 hour days, then it may not be possible.

I have had clients who devoted a full 40 hours per week to their job search and it still took them a few weeks. You can't control when opportunities are out there, but you have to be able to know how you best work and what you're capable of.

Bias in Your Industry

Is there a bias against people who are out of work? If so, how will you address that on your resume and on your LinkedIn? If you don't know if there is a bias, is your network strong enough that you can ask people or will you have to build it from scratch?

For many people staying working is better, but if you're in a truly toxic environment it can take a tool on your health and well being. Job searching is work, make no mistake about that, and knowing what you're in for is part of the process. Before you quit, it is worth it to ask yourself some of the questions above to see if leaving before you have secured something new is really good for you.

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Published on: Dec 21, 2017