Want to Quit Your Job? Heed These Warnings From The Handmaid’s Tale First

The Handmaid's Tale

Image credit: Tom Blunt via Flickr

Have you checked out the new show on Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale? 

It’s an interesting take on a dystopian world where fertile women are enslaved to help the infertile have babies.

Seems like an odd place to find inspiration for quitting a job (and starting a business), but I don’t consider myself normal!

Heed June’s warnings below on how to make two major career moves — without putting yourself at risk in the process.

1. Stay Quiet and Make Your Plan

June, the main character in The Handmaid’s Tale, is horrified at the violence around her. But when she sees another handmaid act out in an early initiation session and get her eye gouged as a consequence, she decides her best course of action is to keep quiet and observe what’s happening.

If you’re sick of your job and can’t wait to quit, refrain from being too vocal about the fact.

For now, you need that income while you make your plan for launching your business, so you don’t want to accidentally get fired before you’re ready to leave because you opened your big mouth.

Be patient with the plan. You’ll need to make sure you have ample savings to start your business (so make a budget to figure out how much you need), so you may not be able to hit the eject button for several months or even years. Pace yourself, my friend.

2. Find the Right People to Trust

The Handmaid's Tale

Early in the story, June is warned to trust no one. And yet, she has to trust someone. So she very carefully feels out others to determine who she can rely on.

You may have a coworker who would support your desire to quit and start a company. That’s a good person to provide advice on the best way to exit the company. You might also find a mentor elsewhere who can give you tips for what you need to launch your business.

Just don’t be a blabbermouth and tell anyone willing to listen about your big plan (see #1).

 3. Don’t Believe the Hype

The Handmaid's Tale

The handmaids are told they’re doing the country a service by providing their wombs to those in need. But June sees the situation for what it is: slavery.

People will tell you all sorts of things when it comes to starting a business. Maybe they’ll focus on how so many businesses fail. Or tell you you’re not cut out to be a business owner.

Whatever is coming out of their mouths, ignore it. You owe it to yourself to find your own path. If you do your research and plan well, you’ll set yourself up for success.

4. Don’t Burn Bridges

The Handmaid's Tale

Over and over again, June longs to tell the Waterfords (her employers/enslavers) what she really thinks of them. She watches a fellow handmaid get killed. And yet she can say nothing, because she knows her life is in danger.

Your life might not be in danger, but you owe it to yourself not to burn bridges at work, even if you hate your job.

You never know — your current employer might end up becoming a customer or referring business to you. So be respectful when you quit. Give ample notice, and leave on good terms.

Have you watched The Handmaid’s Tale? Are there other lessons you can share?


About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing and social media firm. She’s written three business books, and blogs about small business on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.


  1. says

    I haven’t watched the show, but now I’m intrigued. It’s sound advice and I’ve employed it when moving from position to position as well. I think keeping your intents known to yourself and only a few others is key.

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