We’ve all had jobs we didn’t like. Whether it was because of a nasty coworker, annoying customers, or infuriating bosses, it can be really tempting to quit without a plan. To make a big stink and end it with a bang.
I know I’ve dreamed about getting up on a soapbox and banging pots and pans while listing off every single grievance I’ve ever had with the place when I worked a crummy job.
Not the best idea in practice, though, especially if you don’t have anything to fall back on.
Figure out what’s next
This is a no-brainer. You don’t want to leave without a plan. We all have bills to pay and a smaller savings account than we’d like. Even if you can get unemployment, that isn’t going to go very far. So before you leave, figure out what you’re doing next.
Finding a new job while you’re still working should be your number one priority if you know you want a change. If you’re still working while you’re looking for a new job, you can also bit a little bit pickier when you get a job offer. You’ve got a little more breathing room to find something that fits your needs instead of snapping up the first lowball offer you come across.
While you’re planning out your next step, it’s important to think about where you want to go. Do you want to change careers or move to a new area? Do you need to save up a certain amount of money to afford a move or pay for certain bills? Answering those questions can help focus on why you want to change jobs and make your decision more concrete.
It can help when you’re coming up with a plan to work backwards. Figure out the end goal and then decide the best way to get there before you make any moves. If you know what you need to do, you can also make the most of your current situation to help you get to where you want to be.
Use your time wisely
The biggest part of your exit plan should be how you’re going to support yourself without your current job. That usually means finding a new job that pays enough to cover your bills and lets you build your savings.
If you don’t like your job and know you want to find a new one, you need to spend time looking. It can be challenging, especially if you work long hours. I know firsthand what it feels like to come home from a long day and wanting to relax. The last thing you want to do is jump on a computer and start a job search.
Job searches can take a while. Not to mention it’s tough to juggle a full-time job on top of endless applications, cover letters, resume rewrites, and attending interviews. The more quickly you get on it, though, the faster you can move on. If you need help finding something new, check out our the Best Job Sites to Tap Into.
I cannot count the number of people I know who have gotten stuck in a job they hated. They were so busy they had a hard time making the time commitment for a job search. Which meant they ended up miserable for that much longer.
While you’re searching for something new, it isn’t a bad idea to buddy up to your boss/ manager. (Assuming they aren’t the reason you’re leaving, of course). It doesn’t hurt to have them in your back pocket to put in a good word during the background check.
Another good reason to have a plan before you leave your job is that resume gaps don’t look great. Especially to prospective employers. I’d hope that they will be a little easier on employment gaps after the pandemic. It’s like they say though, hope for the best while preparing for the worst.
Make sure you have everything in order
The whole point of this blog is that you should be prepared before you up and leave a job. I really want to reiterate that. A lot can unexpectedly go wrong, and being unemployed when it all goes to sh*t is not where you want to be. Sometimes you won’t have a choice but don’t quit without a plan unless you absolutely have to.
Before you quit your job, make sure you have the basics covered. Understand if there will be gaps in your health insurance coverage. Assess the state of your savings account just in case there is a sudden expense you’ll need to cover between paychecks. Hopefully, you don’t need it, but it can do wonders for peace of mind if you’re in a better place financially than you thought.
Don’t burn any bridges
Even if you hated your job, you don’t want to tick anyone off. It’s in your best interest to leave on good terms. Later on, you may need a reference, or someone at an old job may go above and beyond unexpectedly for you.
As satisfying as it might be to secure your next job and make a dramatic exit one last time from a place you despise, in the long term, it is so much better to pretend you liked the experience and quietly walk away. The short-term satisfaction doesn’t outweigh the potential long-term benefits.
It’s possible to get letters of recommendation or continue to network through managers or coworkers you didn’t actually like. Both of those things are helpful when you want to move onto bigger and better things. That being said, don’t start telling your current boss that you’re looking for a new job.
Some managers may not take too kindly to knowing you’re looking for other employment. Worst case scenario, they could negatively impact your current job. The best thing you can do is let them know after you put in your two weeks and try to stay on good terms with them.
If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration to kick off your job search, or maybe you’re thinking about a career change, click here to see CNBC’s list of the ten highest-paying jobs you can get without a college degree.
Have you ever quit without a plan?