Since yesterday’s blog about people quitting their jobs, I’ve received a lot of emails from folks who clearly want to quit, but don’t know how. In other words, they hate their jobs, but feel trapped and as if they don’t have any power over their situation. They have bills and need the
money, they are afraid of not being able to find a new job with the same money, they’ve accepted that misery is their comfort zone and are scared of change, they are hoping their situation will change, etc., etc., etc.
As with any big life decision, quitting is a BIG decision so make SURE you are quitting for the right reasons.
If there’s a problem, can it be fixed? Didn’t get the promotion you were hoping for? Figure out why and take the criticism to heart. Feeling as if the boss doesn’t like you? Confront them with specific reasons and try to talk it out! Feeling harassed at work? Go visit the HR Department. Sometimes it’s a simple attitude adjustment on your part. Is there a way to transfer into another department?
If you’ve asked yourself all of these questions and still feel as if your situation is unchangeable, then it is time to commit to quitting.
Those I’ve spoken to who make the conscientious decision to leave a miserable situation feel a great deal of relief and actually get excited about looking forward to the future! It is an exciting time – you are now finally taking control of your situation and a lot of doors start to open up. But when you do decide to quit, do yourself a favor and plan it out the best you can.
Everyone’s situation is different, but here’s some general advice that is commonly considered by those contemplating quitting.
- Ideally it’s best to have another job lined up, but if that’s not the case, start saving money so that you can have a 3-6 month cushion while you are hunting for a new job.
- Make a list that organizes your thoughts and ideas about what it is you REALLY want to be doing and also what is the ideal working environment you want? What does this look like in your imagination? Does it require different skills? Does it require a rewrite of your resume? This list will help you manage and map out your plan moving forward.
- Get advice from trusted sources and take it to heart. Do you have a mentor? A friend who seemingly loves their job? Ask them what about their job makes them happy? Do you know someone who also quit their jobs and found a job they really liked? Talk to them about their journey and get some guidance. You’ll be surprised by by how common your emotions are in these types of life-changing situations.
- Start to talk to folks you trust and let them know that you are considering moving on. The best way to secure a new job is to network. Do you have clients or vendors who you are particularly friendly who would be a good prospect? What about peers in your industry or folks you know at a competing business?
- Start looking! Go to all the best job boards and the career websites of companies you are interested in. Set a goal to spend a couple of hours after work to customize your resume and cover letters targeted at specific jobs. Research companies and industries you want to work and see where direct connections to these companies exist for you: friends, family, neighbors, peers, etc.
- Start saving your work documents/files. If you do quit, often you are locked out from your computer so you should start saving stuff right away.
- If available, take advantage of your current employer’s tuition reimbursement to gain new skills for future employment.
Lastly, when the time comes, be professional when you quit. Even if you are angry, make sure your resignation letter is not a diatribe about how awful your job was and what an a-hole you found your boss to be. This company may be called by the next company you apply to.