It is common to be practical when looking for a new job or starting a business, but the same approach is not applied as frequently when leaving a job. Granted, the latter can sometimes be the right thing to do, but quitting your job is a decision you should never make on impulse.
Instead, you should first be aware of the risks involved and the consequences that could occur after taking this action. With that in mind, here are eight questions you should ask yourself before quitting your job to make a more informed decision.
1. Do you have any alternatives?
Ideally, you would quit your current job because another company has already offered you a much better job. In such a case, you are not making any personal sacrifice to improve your professional life. But if it doesn’t, it’s wiser not to quit right away.
Don’t sabotage your current source of income until you have another handy. In the meantime, reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn and ask for potential job openings. Make sure to keep your profile up to date and add new skills to your CV to increase your eligibility.
2. Have you renegotiated with your employer?
There is a good chance that the problem you are facing with your job can be rectified if you just talk to your employer. From an HR perspective, it is almost always better for a company to retain an employee than to bother to find a suitable replacement.
If money is the problem, you can ask for a raise. If you don’t see growth in yourself, you can ask for additional responsibilities. In all cases, let your employer know of your concerns before considering leaving; you might not have to quit your job after all.
3. What is your relationship with money?
The way you save, spend and invest your money has a huge influence on your decision to quit your job. Without a good understanding of your relationship with money, you could end up making things worse for yourself. To avoid this, commit to learning about personal finance.
You can watch YouTube videos, listen to podcasts, download apps, and visit websites that promote financial literacy. Concepts such as budgeting, membership, inflation, market volatility, and credit rating are essential for any professional to know.
4. Can you afford temporary unemployment?
If you live paycheck to paycheck, quitting your job isn’t really a viable option. Ideally, you would have an emergency fund that covers three to six months of all your essential expenses i.e. rent, food, electricity, water, gas, etc.
If you don’t have such a fund, don’t worry, there are still things you can do to help. As well as continuing to apply for new jobs, you can also search for freelance jobs on Fiverr or Upwork, take paid surveys, rent your car, and more.
5. Are you currently in debt?
Unless there are obviously better alternatives available, quitting your job when you are in debt is a bad idea. This will drastically reduce your purchasing power and delay the time it takes to repay your loans. The later you pay off your loans, the more interest accumulates.
So it is wiser to make a plan to get out of debt first. You can use good old MS Excel or download apps to help you manage your finances. If it’s affordable, hire a financial advisor to help you get a more realistic perspective and navigate your options. Either way, arm yourself with the right tools.
6. What do you value about your career?
It is possible that you want to quit your job not because there is something wrong in itself, but because your personality does not match well with the attributes of an employee. This means that the problem is not specifically your job, but any job.
You might prioritize rapid growth and flexibility over stability and status. So even a better paying job might not help. In such a case, you can consider starting a side business and checking its viability over time. Don’t quit your job until your side activity has grown.
7. What advantages are you currently enjoying?
There is no guarantee that a new employer will agree to offer you the same benefits that you currently enjoy, such as remote working or a pension plan. Before you quit smoking, think about the value of these benefits to you, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
If these benefits are very valuable and are unlikely to be offered by a new employer, you will need to either lower your expectations or change your goals. Conversely, it is easier to quit smoking if these benefits are long lasting and can be traded for a higher salary.
8. Does anyone depend on you?
If you don’t have anyone in your care, you benefit from greater flexibility, mobility and risk tolerance. For example, a single single person would be more willing to move to another city to find a new job than a married person with children.
If you have dependents, the risk you take at work will affect them as well. Before you quit your job, make sure you are financially stable enough to protect yourself and those who rely on you.
Know the risks of quitting your job
It’s tempting to quit your job when so many people around you seem to be, too, but such a decision is not without consequences. Before acting on this urge, think about all the likely drawbacks you will face in the short and long term.
Even if you have decided to quit smoking, make sure you stay on good terms with your employer and get out safely. Acting unprofessionally can lead your employer to give the wrong reference to any future opportunities that you might come across.
Find out what employers are looking for in the candidates they interview and how you can position yourself to stand out.
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