Whether you long to tell your boss what you really think of them or dream of flipping your desk in a moment of rage, you’re not alone. Many people fantisise about quitting their jobs at some point or another. However, actually quitting without another one to go to has long been considered the ultimate career sin. It’s just something that people don’t really do. After all, we’ve got bills to pay and busy lives to fund. How could we possibly survive as responsible adults without that job security?
I’m certainly not going to tell you to quit your job in this post, but if you spend the majority of your weekends dreading your return to work rather than enjoying yourself, it may well be time to make a move. Here’s my guide to quitting your job without another lined up.
First thing’s first, ask yourself these 3 questions…
1. Is it really that bad?
No matter which job you choose, there is likely to always be one or two things you dislike about your role or company. Make a list of all the positive aspects of your job and weigh them up against the bad. If there are just a couple of negatives compared to several positives, try to stay put and work through it. Sometimes it’s best to try to fix your problems and work through them rather than start afresh.
However, no job is worth sacrificing your happiness or mental health for. If you’re spending all week in an environment that is significantly stressing you out, making your miserable, or is putting you at risk in some way, it may be best to call it a day.
2. Have you tried looking for a new job already?
It goes without saying that the first thing you should do is look for a job while you’re still employed. Spend your evenings and weekends tidying up your CV and sending it off to as many employers as possible.
That’s not always practical, of course. After all, there’s only so many dentist appointments you can take before your boss gets suspicious, and with many employers requesting at least a couple of weeks’ notice before you take time off as a holiday, going for interviews without getting caught can be tough.
But then again, if your only other option is to quit without another job to go to anyway, I guess it’s not like you have anything to lose. What are they gonna do, sack you? You were gonna leave anyway! Book a few days’ holiday in advance and arrange as many interviews as possible during that time.
3. Have you got the financial backing?
If you do decide to make a move without another job lined up, you’re going to need financial backing first. It doesn’t matter how much you hate your job, if you don’t have a substantial amount of cash saved up to keep you going during a stint of unemployment, I’d advise against jumping ship. Do you wanna end up homeless?
At the very least, you should aim to save at least 3 months’ worth of expenses before you call it quits. Even 3 months is risky, as you never know how long you’ll be unemployed for.
It’s worth weighing up the job market in your field before you hand in your notice. Some industries are fast-paced and crying out for talent on a regular basis, while others are somewhat stagnant and have very few vacancies available.
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Decided to take the leap? Make sure you follow these steps…
Leave on good terms
Sure, you might have dreamed of going out with a bang in a similar way to the lass in the Avicii video below, but it’s best if you try to leave on good terms. Write a resignation letter and keep the tone professional, give a suitable amount of notice, and work hard during your notice period. If there are any employees you’ve enjoyed working with in particular, take some time to give them a LinkedIn recommendation and go out for a drink.
Get applying for jobs before you leave
As you hand your notice in, increase the amount of time you spend looking for jobs. That way, you can start arranging interviews for the first week of your unemployment.
Use your time off work wisely
If you’ve been suffering from significant levels of stress, a work siesta could be just what the doctor ordered. Besides, after working hard for however many years, spending a couple of weeks binge-watching Netflix might seem like the perfect antidote. Try to avoid this attitude as it will only make you feel worse in the long-run.
Once you’ve left your job, give yourself a long weekend to relax before getting to work. As well as applying for new roles, try to find ways to develop your existing talents and learn new skills. Learn how to speak Spanish. Teach yourself how to code. Take a copywriting course. Start training for a marathon. By being productive, you can explain to employers that your time in-between jobs has been valuable and well-spent.
If you find your time off work lasts a little longer than expected, why not look for volunteering opportunities? Unemployment doesn’t just have a negative impact on your bank balance, it can also affect your mental health too. Volunteering can help you to maintain a sense of routine, balance and value. You’ll also meet new people, develop your skills and have something impressive to tell employers.
Even if you’ve got a substantial amount of savings in the bank, try to find ways to make money during your time off. If the job you’ve left is the type of thing you can do on a freelance basis, set up your own website, spread the word amongst your friends, and start looking for clients. This is of course easier said than done – if you’re looking to go freelance, it’s best to secure these clients before you leave your job.
Don’t rule out temporary jobs that are unrelated to your career path. Offer to babysit a friend’s kids, do an elderly neighbour’s gardening, or put a sign up in your local post office and offer to walk people’s dogs. Do everything in your power to keep your bank balance as healthy as possible.
Quitting your job without another one to go to is certainly risky business as there is no guarantee you’ll find a new one in the time frame required. However, if you’re deeply unhappy in your job, you’ve saved a significant amount of money, and you have the get-up-and-go to make the most of your time off, this could be the start of something special!