The Effects of Termination Vs. Resignation

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Both termination and resignation are emotional but for different reasons.
Both termination and resignation are emotional but for different reasons. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Leaving a job can frequently be an emotional experience, but how and why you leave a job may have an immense impact on your mindset. Voluntarily leaving a job by resignation can be a bittersweet occasion of joy. However, leaving by termination is almost universally a negative emotional experience.

Emotional Effects

Termination might result in feelings of rejection, unfairness and of being tossed aside. People who leave their jobs by resignation however, generally have a greater sense of control that prevents the resentment or bitterness involved in being terminated. Employees who resign have a better chance of maintaining relationships with co-workers and supervisors, whereas terminated employees often lose those supportive relationships.

Planned Versus Unplanned Departure

Employees who are terminated must immediately face the potential financial fallout of their termination and might not be prepared with another job or the next step in their careers. Employees who resign however, have the opportunity to plan for their employment transition by saving funds or securing alternative employment ahead of time. As a result, employees who resign are generally better prepared economically for leaving their jobs than are those who are terminated.

Impact on Unemployment Eligibility

Another financial effect of termination versus resignation has to do with the employee’s subsequent eligibility for unemployment. Employees who are terminated remain eligible to receive unemployment benefits (assuming they are not terminated for a cause which makes them ineligible), while employees who resign generally forfeit eligibility to receive unemployment benefits.

Impact on Future Employment Prospects

Employees who are terminated might face a more difficult time securing a new position due to the stigma attached to termination. Terminated job seekers must try to present the termination in a positive light despite the implicit criticism of their performance with termination. Job seekers who resigned can more easily present the separation in a positive light for prospective employers -- or might have been employed while they searched for a new job.

Prospects For Positive Future References

Employees who were terminated probably have concerns regarding the content and tenor of job references provided by the employer. The same negative performance or criticism that costs the employee her job can potentially follow her. Conversely, employees who resign on good terms with their employers have more reassurance that the employer will have positive remarks for future potential employers.

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