Things To Consider Before You Quit
When you’ve quit your job, and you walk out that door for perhaps the final time, yes, there may be some anxiety attached to actually carrying out your decision. What you want, though, is for the overriding feelings to be of relief, self-confidence, and excitement at the next stage of your journey. Here are some steps to help make sure that’s how it goes.
Consider All Your Options
Quitting may seem like the only way out of an untenable job situation. If your job is making you sick, making your feel stuck and stunted, or disconnecting you from your family, the idea of quitting, once formed, may seem irresistibly appealing. Still, you owe it to yourself to be certain that quitting is the right answer, and that you have considered all options. Would work-life conflicts be helped by a reduction in hours, or the option to work at home some days? Might personality conflicts be resolved by facing them frankly, or asking for help from a third party? In large organizations, can human resources or employee health services help with situations you cannot resolve on your own? The most attractive option is not always the best one. And if there is a bad situation developing with your immediate management, you may want to be able to declare both to yourself and to any prospective new employer that you exhausted every channel for resolution.
Discuss Your Situation With Someone
If you are single, you may have the relative luxury of making a decision on your own. Of course, stress impairs judgment, and it would be smart to discuss your situation with a sympathetic and perceptive friend who knows you well — preferably a successful one, and definitely not a co-worker. (Human nature being what it is, you want to be unshakably certain that your decision is not known until you have a departure date in mind and are ready to announce it, personally and in writing, to your boss.) If you have a family, of course you have an obligation to discuss your thinking with your spouse or partner — and once the two of you are in agreement, with your children as and if appropriate.
Can you get another job before you leave your current one? This, of course, may make for a busy month or so as you wrap up and get started — a piece of cake compared to the complication and uncertainty you may face when you’re quitting and still searching at the same time.
Do you have enough money to ride out a job search? A friend once remarked, “You are not well paid until you make twice what you live on.” By that criterion, every day worked equals a day one doesn’t have to work. Now, relatively few of us can squirrel away half our income. Like human squirrels, though, we can save year-round, in lean years and fat ones, and not be tempted to tap our hard-times trove until hard times are upon us — and in an economy that increasingly resembles a casino, they are bound to come sooner or later.
Skills and Networking
Your resume or CV has to be current of course. Even when satisfied with your current job, keep a comprehensive version that you update with every new training or newly developed skill set, every milestone and accomplishment, as they occur. You will be maintaining a living catalog of your marketability, which can help you be realistic about your prospects and whether your current job still matches your needs and your employable assets. When you apply for a specific job, rather than scraping together qualifications, you just need to hone the master document into the best fit.
Likewise, your professional network needs to be kept current. You want to be in touch not just when you are in need, but when you are in a position to help others, or simply want to talk about current developments or controversies in your industry. As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Keeping current also will let you know when you need to develop new skills, or polish old ones, whether on the job, through local classes, or through distance learning.
Is the Timing Appropriate?
Is it time to change careers completely? If this has been a longtime dream, do whatever prep work you can while still working your present job, carefully calculate the cost in training time, networking, and job searching, and in lost income that such a change might entail. Be realistic as you can – again, with plenty of reality checking from people you trust – and know whether it’s time to take the plunge or to kiss that particular dream goodbye.
You often hear the advice to make looking for a job your new job. Sound advice as far as it goes, but don’t become your own slave driver. You can be disciplined without being obsessive. If the reasons you quit include family time, or time to take better care of your health and well being, remember that such changes won’t happen automatically. You need to learn to build those times into your life as well, and not to miss the opportunities you risked so much to create.