Leaving your job can be a big gamble — especially if you don’t have a solid plan for the future.
You may have good reasons for quitting, but it’s important to think through the decision carefully before handing in a letter of resignation.
This is especially true if you haven’t lined up another position. Once you’ve announced that you’re quitting, you may not be able to change your mind. Consider these seven questions before you make a final decision.
1. Are you quitting for legitimate reasons?
If the job truly is a professional dead-end or your working conditions are intolerable, plan a departure. However, if you’re simply bored or feeling unchallenged, reconsider.
Yes, there may be a dream job waiting for you. But more often, jobs are what you make them. Before you leave, discuss with your supervisor things you can do to make the job more meaningful and fulfilling — both for yourself and your employer.
2. Are you quitting the job, or quitting your boss?
An abusive or overly demanding supervisor can make you miserable, even if you enjoy the work. If the relationship with your boss is forcing you to leave, there may be actions you can take short of quitting.
Try to improve the relationship. If that doesn’t work, ask for a transfer to another work group within your company. Another alternative is to talk with a human resources representative about your problems.
3. Do you have a new job lined up?
If you haven’t found a gig to replace the one you want to leave, make the most of your present situation until you’ve found something new. You can’t be sure how long it will take to line up a new position, and you may have to tap into your savings to make ends meet.
If you experience several months of unemployment, you’ll have a work gap on your resume. This will need to be explained when you apply for a new job. Recruiters are wary of people with employment gaps, fearful of hiring someone who will soon tire of the job and move on.
If you’re on the hunt for a new job, consider this: “5 Moves That Will Sabotage Your Job Search.”
4. Have you talked the decision over with friends and loved ones?
Quitting a job is a big step. So, talk it over with trusted friends and family members. They can help you decide if you’ll truly be better off leaving.
Friends can provide an objective, outside perspective on the pros and cons of quitting. Your family should have a say, since they will be part of any financial changes that result from your decision.
5. Are you financially prepared?
Always consider how taking a new job will affect your bank account. If you have to relocate, you could end up spending thousands of dollars on moving costs. You may need to pay to put things in storage or come up with your first and last month’s rent for a new landlord.
If you’re a homeowner who is moving to a pricier real estate market, the money you get from selling your present home may not match the price of homes in your new community.
If you’re thinking of jumping ship, consider this: “9 Ways to Build an Emergency Fund When Money’s Tight.”
6. Did you get a description of the new job in writing?
It’s common to hear stories about people who have accepted new jobs only to find out the positions aren’t quite what they were said to be. Sometimes the vacation or health benefits are less robust than at the previous employer. Maybe the new job’s title doesn’t accurately reflect the duties.
Ask your new employer to put the details of the job in writing. This should include the pay, the benefits and a detailed description of what you will be doing. If the employer is open and honest, this shouldn’t be a problem.
7. Will quitting affect your personal life?
People develop intricate social networks at work. They may play on a company baseball team, head the company’s annual charity drive or socialize after work with co-workers.
If you’ve become deeply involved with your co-workers, leaving will affect your personal life. Yes, you can build a new social network at another company, but the relationships you’ve already established are likely to suffer. Make sure that benefits of leaving your old job outweigh the things you’ll need to give up.
Have you ever left a job for a new one? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.