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If I quit my current job (I’ve been there 4 months) due to stress, what do I tell my current and any future employers?


Dear Donna,

About four months ago, I started a job as a waitlist manager/transplant coordinator for a transplant department at a very prominent facility. While I like this new role, my transition has been a
huge disappointment.

My orientation for this new role was unplanned, disorganized, unstructured and lacked resources. Every time I have had to learn something, it has been at the very last minute so I can take someone’s place while they are on vacation, maternity leave or have resigned.

I find there is no forethought or advance planning, the volume of work is enormous (which is good in the respect that we have many patients), but our department is very short staffed. None of the work is done efficiently and effectively.

I have already put in 40 hours of uncompensated overtime due to a backlog of work from the person who preceded me in this role. While I feel I am more caught up, I feel I could easily fall behind and this isn’t the place for me.

My plight is known by the department leaders, and I’ve been told my job is what it is. I am very stressed by this, and I am not doing the things I like to do. Prior to this job, I had not worked full-time in two years. If I decide to leave, how do I diplomatically explain this to my current and future employers?

Too Tired and Stressed Out

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Too Tired and Stressed Out,

Many of us have found ourselves in a situation similar to yours at one time or another. I was once at a job for three months and stayed that long only because I kept thinking things would get better, but they never did. Read “Knowing when it’s time to move on” (

When resigning from this position, be diplomatic but honest — to a point.
You can state you did not anticipate the volume of overtime that would be required or mention the staffing challenges. You can go on to say you have decided to look for something better suited to your lifestyle (if you don’t have something else lined up by then), and do not elaborate further. Read “How to resign with style” (

When interviewing for another position, you never want to say anything negative about a current or past employer. When asked why you left or are leaving, say something like, “While I learned a great deal in this position and am grateful for the opportunity, I am seeking something where I can better utilize and expand my leadership capabilities” or something similar.

Or if you apply for something completely different, you simply can say you are looking to expand your career horizons in new directions.

If you resign before finding another position, be sure to do some nurse volunteer work in a healthcare setting while job hunting. This helps to account for the time you are unemployed, expands your professional network and may provide the opportunity to showcase your skills and/or learn new ones. Volunteering often leads to paid employment.

Be sure to do as much face-to-face networking as possible by attending local related professional association meetings such as the American Nurses Association ( or the International Transplant Nurses Society ( even as a guest if not a member. Get to some nursing career fairs when they start up again after the holidays. Networking is a great way to find and get a job under any circumstances.

Best wishes,


By | 2013-12-05T00:00:00-05:00 December 5th, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

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