How to leave a job in the arts without burning bridges

Setting the house alight as you walk away looks good in movies, but in life it's best to leave nicely and stay on good terms.
small house made of matches is burning on one side.

When you know, you know.

If it’s time to leave a job that’s no longer right for you – especially if pain and conflict are involved – it can be tempting to light a match, throw a bomb and walk away without a backwards glance.

Some employers deserve such an approach, especially if abusive, illegal or exploitative practices have been involved. The 2023 Australian film The Royal Hotel comes to mind. Written and directed by Kitty Green, the film updates the Aussie psychological thriller classic Wake in Fright with a modern depiction of outback misogyny and alcoholism. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for the employer – the two young women working behind the bar have good reason to set the joint alight instead of sending polite resignation letters.

Unlock Padlock Icon

Unlock this content?

Access this content and more

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She was previously a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk