Before You Quit Your Job, Do These 5 Things
The daily grind you face at work can be so dispiriting that you might think it’s time to leave. Having worked in the corporate world for a number of years, I know how deploringly dull it can be. You are right to think that the company is squandering your talent, and that you are wasting your time in a job that in no way makes you feel fulfilled.
There are, however, practicalities to consider before you quit your job. You need not be paralyzed by the fear of losing your livelihood, nor should you be thrown into an irrational exuberance at the prospect of immediate wealth and success in a new line of work. You must do the hard work of planning your future and acting on your ideas in a reasonable and intelligent way.
Here are 5 things you should do before you quit your job.
You don’t have to leave your job in order to start a business of your own. You may have other interests that you’ve longed to pursue but could never muster up the courage to. Just because you’ve gained a certain amount of experience in the business world does not mean you need continue in it. You may want to enter the arts or become an activist or an online journalist. You should take some time to define your new career plan. It does not have to be a thoroughly detailed scheme, but it should consist of what your interest, talent, and temperament compels you to do.
Before you leave your job you should test yourself in the new career you’ve chosen. For example, if your dream is to become a blogger, then you should set up your own blog and start writing it. Connect to others in the blogosphere and start mastering strategies for attracting traffic. In other words, you should start building the foundations of your new career before leaving your old one. Doing so will allow you to see whether you have the stuff it takes to succeed. It will also create the kind of momentum you need to jumpstart work in your new profession.
Although it may take some time, you should clear all of your credit card debt before you quit a steady, well-paying job. Settling any other debts you might have will also prove helpful, but credit cards are the main thing. You don’t want those kinds of monthly expenses hanging over your head as you try to re-establish yourself financially. It is also good to have credit cards with a zero balance in case you need to use them in the future. They can serve as an emergency fund until you’re able to get steady revenue coming in.
You should also cut back your general expenses and create a budget that will reflect your financial situation. You may have to rely on your savings for a while. In fact, if you’ve begun thinking about quitting your job and you have no savings, you should immediately write a budget for yourself that will get you some. Again, it may take a while before your savings account is robust enough for you to leave your present job and survive while you’re trying to get on your feet in your new one. Don’t rush it. Build yourself enough security to live while pursuing your dreams.
Build as many bridges, friendships, and networks as you can before you go. Don’t assume that you’ll never need to call on your old colleagues again for favors or other business related matters. You should also keep the option open for getting your job back once you’ve left it. No one expects to fail when embarking on a new venture. However, life does not always turn out how you plan it. Establishing a strong professional network will keep a lifeline in place in case you need to return to the mothership—even if it’s just for a little while.
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About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.