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Quitting a Job for Personal Obligations

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When there's a war going on between your work and your personal life, the time may come when the personal side wins out. Whether it's a sick family member, child care conflicts or something else, making the decision to leave your job is never an easy one. After you make the choice, you'll have to consider a number of other things before your departure date.


When you voluntarily leave a job, in many cases you will not qualify for unemployment. It's a general rule, but it does have exceptions. If you have to leave your job to take care of a sick family member, because your own health is poor or because of a domestic violence situation, you may be able to collect unemployment. It never hurts to check with your state's labor department, though don't count on those funds until you have confirmation from the state. You can't apply for unemployment until you have quit, which can make it difficult to count on ahead of time.


Not only will you stop receiving a paycheck, but you may also be in need of health insurance coverage when you no longer work for your employer. Companies with 20 or more employees are required to provide continuing health coverage, called COBRA, for former employees, which generally lasts 18 months following your departure; however, you'll have to pay for the entire plan yourself. If you have a pre-existing condition and you're uninsured for more than 63 days, other health insurance plans can deny you coverage. Consider having COBRA or another private health plan lined up before you leave your job.

Giving Notice

You may be ready to leave the workforce right now, but there's always a chance you'll want to re-enter it in the future. Avoid burning bridges before you depart. You may be ready to leave right away to deal with your personal issues, but your employer deserves some notice. Write a resignation letter and give it to your employer in person. You don't have to provide the specific reasons for your departure; saying you need to leave for personal reasons is completely adequate. Give your employer the standard two weeks' notice, if not more, so she can find a replacement and make arrangements for dealing with your absence.

Before You Leave

Consider your co-workers and the smooth flow of the workplace as you leave. Since you have personal issues forcing you to leave, you may be tempted to check out once you've given your notice, giving your personal issues more attention even during work hours. Avoid that by helping wrap up any projects you're involved in and possibly training the people who will take over in your stead.


Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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