When you've been feeling stuck in a sea of beige at your office, it can be easy to fantasize about quitting your job. You imagine handing over your two weeks notice with a flourish, watch your boss's face fall over the loss of you, and you hightail it out of the building in a blaze of glory. But while that can seem very satisfying, it usually takes a lot of time and consideration to make that scary leap from employed to unemployed.
Whether you tap out because you can't stand heading into work every day at nine, or if it's for more growth-oriented reasons like not being able to develop further in your career or being allowed to take on more responsibility, it's still a scary trigger to pull. No matter how unsatisfied you are with work, getting a paycheck every other Friday is a lovely feeling. But when you are ready to make the shift and head to better things, you need a game plan set in order to ensure you don't fly into panic mode a week into your new job search. And while that can sound intimidating, it's actually pretty straightforward. Below are seven tips on what to do before quitting your job in order to make the transition super easy.
1. See If It's Actually What You Should Do
We have all sorts of reasons for quitting a cushion-y job: It's no longer in the field you want to be apart of, there's no more room to grow, your boss is actually the devil masquerading in an Ann Klein suit...
But whatever the reasons are, before you pull the trigger and do something life changing, take a moment and see if you did everything you could to improve your situation. For example, maybe you could move to a different department in the company to better suit your new career interests, you could ask for more responsibilities or pitch difficult projects, or you can talk to your boss about improving the way you're acknowledged at the office. There's always a possibility to change things for the better if only you speak up.
Lifestyle writer Kat Boogaard from lifestyle site The Everygirl offered, "Maybe there’s nothing that can be done—meaning quitting really is a suitable option. However, making your thoughts and desires known is still important. You might be surprised at the alternatives and solutions your superiors come up with." Before you do anything rash, first see if the situation you're in can be improved.
2. Come Up With A Solid, Semi Bullet Proof Plan
While it might be tempting to paper airplane your two weeks notice into your boss's office and run straight out of there, take a beat and really plan out what your next steps will be after quitting.
Remember, you won't be getting a paycheck after that, and you don't want to sit around too long draining your savings account. So before you begin drafting your goodbyes, first draft your battle strategy.
Boogaard said, "The most important part is to at least have some sort of mission and purpose once you’re done with that full-time gig. After all, you want to feel like you’re running toward something — not away from something." Do you know what field you want to transfer to — and more importantly, what's the list of companies you're applying to. Is your resume as beefed up as it needs to be, do you have any connections that can help you get interviews, do you have a buisness plan in order to make your side husstle your full time career?
Think it all through before you give up your paycheck.
3. Start Gathering Everything You Need
Before you kick down the exit doors of that office and leave forever, first get all the materials you think will be handy for your transition or for your future job. For example, career writer Dorothy Tannahill-Moran from career-development site Careerealism suggested, "Since you are leaving, think through the types of information and materials you might want to have in your next position or in the future. The types of things to consider collecting: Performance appraisals, atta-boy letters, copies of supporting e-mails from bosses, reference materials that aren’t proprietary to the company, but you may want to reuse, E-mails and phone numbers of people you will want to keep in your networking circle." All that will be super helpful in the future, so round it all up.
4. Start Delving Into Your Industry
Since you now have it in your head that you're leaving, you can no longer stay in the same cushion-y routine you had in your office. Instead, now you need your finger on the pulse of your industry to figure out who's hiring, who's amazing to work for, what's considered impressive, and how you should improve your skills.
Which means it's time to delve into your industry, and hard. Career writer Eli Epstein from Mashable recommended, "Whether you're a freelance writer, computer programmer, graphic designer or another type of freelance professional, you need to constantly be improving your own skills and learning about the peers in your industry." So begin reading articles, watch podcasts, borrow books, keep up with the industry news, take career-moving courses, attend seminars, ask key players out for coffee — just start getting busy.
5. Build A Nest Egg
In order to make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to find your next dream job (and not just the first Craigslist ad that responds to you,) build up a nest egg of six month's worth of expenses. That way you can job hunt without constantly stressing out how to pay the rent.
Stella Photi, founder of Wellbeing Escaper and career writer at The Guardian, said, "Six months’ salary is generally considered a good amount to give you some wriggle room whilst you find a new role. This is also important as it stops you from panicking and taking the first thing that is offered: what’s the point of making a change if you then default back to your comfort zone? "
Don't think you can scrape together that much? Then cut it down to at least three month's salary or — even better — secure a job before you actually quit.
6. Ignore Everyone That's Going To Try To Scare You
Once people find out your big life decision, you're going to get a lot of opinions and unsolicited advice hurled your way. But stay strong, and remember this is what you felt was the best for you, no matter how risky or scary it may be.
Photi reminded, "Listen to your instincts and do what feels right for you because it’s your life, your career and ultimately you know best." Don't let others hold you back — your opinion is what ultimately matters.
7. Don't Burn Any Bridges
If you want to use your boss as a reference or potentially get help from your co-workers or industry contacts to find your new job, don't leave that place with a trail of burning bridges. And how to avoid that? Offer a plan on how to replace you.
Career writer Liz Ryan from Forbes suggested, "When you give notice to your boss, the way I did two days later when my boss returned to the office, you have to be ready to say 'Here are my ideas about who can take over this and that part of my role when I leave.' That is the responsible thing to do." Draft a help wanted ad, create a manual for your replacement, offer to stick around to train your replacement — do what feels like the correct thing in your situation and your office. The point is to not leave your company high and dry just because they don't offer you anything anymore.
If you keep their tips handy, then a big transition won't be as scary as it usually seems. You've got this!