Who hasn’t thought about quitting your job at some point? Maybe you’ve realized the position just isn’t you. Or perhaps you’re growing bored with doing the same tasks over and over each day.
According to a survey from the U.S. Department of Labor, the 2012 quits rate, a government term for workers who leave a job on their own, rose to 2.1 million. That is 300,000 above the 1.8 million quitters recorded at the peak of the recession in January 2009.
Despite the weak economy and high unemployment rate, people are still opting out of continuing their employment. You’ve thought this through, you’ve had enough. Now is the time. You’re going to walk into your boss’s office, leave your resignation letter on the desk and walk out of the building, the company and your role in it (probably forever), right?
Before you put the finishing touches on your exit strategy, here are a few things you should consider.
Reevaluate your life. Broad, right? Well, yes, but this step is still very important. Think about your life, I mean really think about it. Where were you five years ago? Have you progressed since then? Where had you hoped to be at this age or stage in your life? Taking the time to really evaluate the place where you’re at —personally, financially, academically, socially, and professionally —is crucial to your decision to stay at or leave your current job.
If you do not already know it, figure out what your passion(s) is/are and see if your job aligns with it. Go back over any goals you set for yourself to see which you have or haven’t met and how your job has affected that. Our jobs impact many different areas of our lives; therefore, it’s essential to evaluate our status in all areas, not just professionally.
Think about your priorities. It’s easy to make a decision in the height of emotions and regret it later. Maybe leaving a company now is what you want, but assess whether the split or the timing is what you need. If you quit will you be financially stable until you find another position? Are there others counting on the paycheck you receive for support? Perhaps you want to quit now, but how will your leaving a job look to future employers? More importantly, how will you explain your sudden leave? Think about what is best for you not only right now, but in the long run. Resigning may be what you need to do, but perhaps not right at this moment. Considering your priorities helps you better plan to leave.
Weigh the pros and cons. For every action, there is a reaction. What are the benefits of you staying on the job? What are the benefits if you leave? Again, don’t just think in the moment, but assess the future consequences as well. Then decide if you’re willing to handle the advantages and disadvantages of staying versus leaving, or vice versa.
Talk to someone. Most often, it helps to share how you feel with a trusted source. Talk to a family member, friend or coworker to get his or her advice. Bringing your concerns to a superior is also an option, but be very careful with this. Unless you fully trust that your supervisor or manager won’t deem you as a quitter (and possibly terminate you first), this option can be risky. On one end, talking with a superior could possibly help uncover the reason you desire to quit and steps your department, company or manager can take to prevent this. On the other end, admitting you’re thinking about resigning can leave your boss with the impression that you do not care about your role or the company.
Look for another job. If you’ve completed the above steps and are absolutely certain you want to quit, secure another job before doing so (if you can). Some situations do not warrant this; you need to immediately get out of there. But, if you can put up with how you feel a little longer in order to ensure you immediately transition from one job to another, do it. It’s better to quit your job and have a plan (especially a secured one) than to just quit on a whim. Also, take steps to change your budget to ensure you’re financially prepared to transition jobs. Again, if it comes down to it, quitting may be the best decision for you, but you want to quit prepared and with a plan.