Should I Quit My Job if I Don’t Have Another One Lined Up?

Posted by | November 20, 2019 | Career Tips / Blog

Should I Quit My Job if I Don’t Have Another One Lined Up?

Quitting your job. It’s an anxiety-inducing experience regardless of whether you’re moving on to something better or you have absolutely nothing else lined up. But, it’s definitely that latter category that leads to even more stress and chewed fingernails.

As someone who left the comfort and security of a full-time gig without another job waiting for her, I know just how much agonizing (and, uhh, nausea) goes into that decision.

And, the worst part? You’ll hear opinions and well-meaning advice from everyone. Some people will tell you that you’re crazy to even consider leaving a paycheck behind when you have no idea what’s next for you. Others? They’ll admire your bravery and admit they wish they had the courage you had.

But, peanut gallery aside, none of that really answers the age-old question: Should you ever quit your job if you don’t have another one waiting for you at the end of the tunnel?

Well, unfortunately, there isn’t a cut and dried answer to that. There are tons of different criteria that impact that situation—and, of course, it ultimately comes down to your own personal decision.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to totally wing it. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to gain some clarity and determine what exactly your next steps should be.

So, if you’ve been debating whether or not you should hit the road in search of greener pastures (regardless of whether or not you know where those pastures are yet…), these should help you form a roadmap.

1. Can you afford it?

What an ideal world it would be if we could all pursue our dreams without having to worry about those pesky things called bills. But, let’s face it—you still need to be able to afford things, which typically means you need some sort of steady paycheck coming in the door.

So, before packing up your desk, take a good, hard look at your finances to find out what your next best move is. Do you have enough saved that you could manage a few months of unemployment? Or, are you already barely scraping by as it is?

I know, your finances aren’t exactly the most fun (or encouraging) part of the picture to consider. But, they’re important for making a realistic and rational decision. So, don’t skip them!

2. What’s inspiring your decision to quit?

I get it—it’s easy to get so wrapped up in just needing to leave your job, that you really can’t even put your finger on what exactly about it is driving you so crazy. Why are you so desperate to hit the road?

Pressing pause for these few minutes to do some self-reflection is important for determining what your next steps should be. Remember, when leaving a job, you want to feel like you’re running toward something—not away from something (unless your situation is remarkably terrible).

Ask yourself this simple question: Why do I want to leave my job? If the only answer you can come up with is something like, “Because it’s terrible!” or “Because I hate my boss!” that’s a pretty solid indicator that you’re only trying to escape a bad situation.

However, if your mind is immediately filled with better visions for your future—like a shift to a more fulfilling career path or even starting your own business, then you know that you’re doing this in hopes of finding something better.

Plus, making sure that you set aside adequate time to identify what exactly you don’t like about your current job will only help you avoid that same thing in the future. You never want to jump from the frying pan into the fire.

3. Do you have a support system in place?

I’ll be the first one to admit that quitting a job without a backup plan in place is nothing short of terrifying. When I packed up my cubicle in the interest of trying to make it as a freelance writer, there was far more crying and stuffing my face with junk food than I’d even care to admit.

But, Ben and Jerry’s aside, my support system is another one of the key things that got me through that tough time. And, now I’m a firm believer that having a strong network of support in place when you’re going through a scary decision is absolutely essential.

Whether you want to leave your job to start your own business or simply take a little bit of time to figure out what you want, having supportive friends and family members there to listen to you rant and vent will mean much more than you could ever anticipate—trust me.

Deciding whether or not to leave your job can be a predicament regardless of your current situation—but particularly when you don’t already have another job lined up to move on to.

Of course, there’s no black and white answer to this question. It all depends on your individual circumstances. But, take some time to ask yourself these three questions, and you’re sure to gain some clarity about what your next steps should be.

Written by Kat Boogaard

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