I’m fairly new to the workforce, but it’s becoming more and more obvious I’m not a fit, culturally or vocationally, at my current job. How do I quit a job well?

I remember my first job. As a 15-year-old, I served as a referee for a youth soccer league that played on Saturday mornings.

My first workday included tears and frustration—from myself, the players, and their parents. I was expecting a fun-filled Saturday, but a few missed calls turned it into a tormented beginning. What had I gotten myself into? I was ready to turn in my two weeks’ notice after week one.

Even then, I was realizing that work of all types is toilsome. Ever since the rebellion of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3), humanity has felt work’s thistles and thorns. One of the chief ways brokenness creeps into the workplace is dissatisfaction and frustration. Be it a corrupt culture or our own proclivity to sin, we don’t experience work and the workplace as it was intended. What was designed to be a place for creativity and service to the Lord (Gen. 1:27) has become a place of dread, turmoil, and harm.

For those struggling with how to quit a job, this feeling cuts to the bone. It’s a terrible feeling to begin dreading Sunday evening, because it means you’re that much closer to Monday morning.

Before you start searching job sites, though, here are a few things to consider.

Reasons for Quitting

Early in the process, it’s wise to consider your reasons for wanting to quit your job. 

A time of self-reflection can help clarify what might feel fuzzy and irritating. For instance, is there a moral compromise that rubs against biblical principles? Is there systemic abuse of power taking place in the workplace?

If either of these instances apply, you can move away from your position with a degree of certainty that the workplace is infringing upon its employees’ human flourishing. For many, this is their story at work; if it’s yours, you should feel freedom to pivot into something new with confidence.

Christians should see their work both as an opportunity to share Christ’s love with coworkers and also as a way to press back against the ways darkness infiltrates societies and structures.

However, there’s also a case to be made for not throwing in the towel so easily if your work is simply challenging or boring. Consider Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:13–16, where he charges his followers to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world.” Christians should see their work as an opportunity both to share Christ’s love with coworkers and also to press back against the ways darkness infiltrates societies and structures.

This could mean seeking a more efficient way to stock inventory at a grocery store or proposing a redesign of meetings that seeks to include all voices. The point is that a feeling of frustration could be pointing you not to quitting, but to modeling what faithful Christian presence looks like in action.

Honor Your Boss

When quitting a job, we can learn much by reorienting ourselves to the Fifth Commandment. While honoring our parents might seem a bit confusing in this context, the bounds of father and mother can be extended to those placed in authority over us. The Bible speaks frequently about honoring those in leadership positions (Rom. 13:1).

Part of honoring Christ’s lordship in every area of life means not just seeking your own benefit through your life and work, but also seeking the benefit of those around you.

Thus a boss, much like a parent, is to be treated with reverence and respect.

In addition, part of honoring Christ’s lordship in every area of life means not just seeking your own benefit through your life and work, but also seeking the benefit of those around you (Phil. 2:3–4).

If God is leading you to quit your job, these truths can serve as a primer for doing so with integrity and respect:

  1. Go to the Lord in prayer, asking for either guidance into a deeper love of your current work or the peace and courage to begin looking for new work.
  2. If the Lord is nudging you to move on, communicate clearly, gently, and definitively with your direct supervisor in an effort to avoid any backchannel conversations about your plans and future with the company.
  3. Offer flexibility in handing off your role, onboarding a new hire, or even creating a manual for the next hire. Such generosity in seeking the flourishing of the people, places, and things around us can be a disruptive witness to God’s better ways.

Is there a Christian way to quit a job? While nothing in Scripture explicitly gives us guidance in this department, much is written about the character of the Christian shaped by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22–23). Those characteristics should be on display when a Christian quits a job.

Lean on the Lord in your discernment and trust him as you serve your workplace with kindness and respect. Take heart that even delivering potentially tough news can be an opportunity to share the gospel and display neighbor love.

Editors’ note: 

TGC’s “Thorns & Thistles” column seeks to apply wisdom with practical advice about faith, work, and economics. If you have a question on how to think about and practice your work in a way that honors God, let us know at [email protected].