We're not supposed to quit. Our mothers and fathers told us to persevere, to push through the hardship, to never give up because we would regret it later.

However, there's a fine line between "sticking it out" because of your hopeful endgame, and wasting your time following a task, commitment, or dream that isn't going to happen. Yes, smart people are dedicated and motivated to achieve, but smarter people know when it's time to leave.


Here at Herald Life & Style, we've had lots of quitting-related questions come across our desks in need of modern etiquette advice. So, we've consolidated your conundrums. Here's how to quit the three most important things (according to readers) in your life.


How do I quit my job?

Who hasn't fantasised about yelling out, "I Quit!" with a fabulous hand swish and storming out the door? But, hold your horses before you blaze that trail. Be sure you're quitting for the right reason, e.g. you have a better job offer, the company is going under and you want to get out early, or you have a toxic working environment and you have the time and finances to seek out a new one.

The best thing to ask yourself is, "Am I running from something, or towards something?" If it's the latter, it's the right time to quit.

Give your notice to your boss in person, stating what you're goal is and how leaving this job is necessary to achieve it. Don't tell anyone before your boss. Be firm with the date you want to leave, and don't let boss-driven guilt about "busy periods" affect your plans.

Follow up with written resignation. Don't mouth off in either form of communication, nor state your grievances. Ask for a reference. Tell your colleagues. Work as usual for the final weeks, as time will go slower if you clock off and become an office zombie.

How do I quit my relationship?

When a relationship is not right, it's not right. Photo / 123RF
When a relationship is not right, it's not right. Photo / 123RF

When it's not right, it's not right. Some relationships can endure the most horrific of situations; others are doomed as soon as the initial excitement wears off. The key qualifier in knowing when to quit your relationship is the realisation that one party doesn't want to try any more. When that happens, the relationship is over, rover: you just have to make the break.

Quitting your relationship - whether it's you that doesn't want to keep trying, or them - must be done in person. Don't do it in a public place where your partner will feel vulnerable, and don't do it if either of you has been drinking. Don't lie to spare feelings, but don't be brutal, either. Honesty is the only way you'll leave the break-up not feeling terrible about yourself.

Do use "I" statements, not "you" statements as much as possible. Say it's not working, it hasn't been working for a while, and it's time to move on so both of you can be happy elsewhere. If your partner yells or cries, refrain from reacting. Be sensitive, but don't fall into the trap of being "the comforter". Remember in these moments why you're quitting, and that you have a job to do.

When it's done, leave. Don't let them get in a car or storm out - make sure it's you, the calmer one, who vacates the premises so your (now former) partner can begin to process what has happened.


How do I quit my city?

As with quitting a job, ensure you're running towards a new city, however, not just away from your current. Photo / Thinkstock
As with quitting a job, ensure you're running towards a new city, however, not just away from your current. Photo / Thinkstock

There are certain signs it's time to leave the town you live in. If you regularly have identity crises and feel you don't mesh with your place of habitation, if there's an unchallenging or negative vibe about life there that you just can't shake, or if you constantly dream of a fresh start (where nobody knows you and none of your baggage is relevant), it's time to quit your city.

As with quitting a job, ensure you're running towards a new city, however, not just away from your current. No one is "too big" for anywhere, especially if there are a million other people there. Find someplace you really, genuinely want to live. Do a recce trip if financially viable, to ensure you understand the job and accommodation market, and gauge your general happiness potential.

Sell as much stuff as possible on TradeMe, and put into storage what you will one day come back for. Never keep your car. Cancel all memberships, don't put them on hold. Redirect all mail to your parents' house for the time being. Ensure you have a social networking account so you're not leaving everyone behind (unless that's your plan).

Make sure you have a cash-stash of set-up costs (a single person will need at least $5000 in the bank to cover lost income from not working, bonds and deposits, and re-buying the essentials in a new location). Also, remember, unlike when quitting your job or your relationship, quitting your city has one benefit over the others. If your plans don't work out, you can always go back.