Is it time to quit your job? Follow these 7 steps to find out.
You probably already know the answer to this. There’s a gut feeling you have, deep down inside, that’s been flickering for quite some time. Maybe it’s no longer a flicker but a full-out siren, blaring at you to get the hell out of there. But you’re torn. There are reasons to stay (a steady paycheck, loyalty, colleagues you like, etc.), and the unknown can be scary. You’re not the only one who might be feeling this way. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. Resignation rates are highest among mid-career employees, with a record-breaking 10.9 million open jobs at the end of July. But before you take the big leap, let’s first dig into your needs and goals, and then make a plan for moving forward.
STEP #1: Focus on yourself
You don’t want to start applying for new jobs until you’re certain you’re moving in a path that’s aligned with your values. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What are your goals?
- What problems do you like to solve?
- Where do you do your best work? Start generally with workplace culture and environment, but then break it down further into your day-to-day: do you like to work with a team or do you prefer to be more autonomous? What kind of work-life balance works best for you?
- What skills do you want to develop? Areas you want to explore? A good indicator is your curiosities, examining what you like to do in your free time, the articles/subject matters that are compelling to you, are all clues that can help you.
- What values are important to you and what are ways can they be expressed in the company you work for or the kind of work you do?
STEP #2: Identify all the reasons you want to quit
This might be the easiest part. Don’t hold back, list out everything and anything that’s made you want to walk out the door. For example, you’re feeling:
- Burned out
- Stagnant (haven’t gotten a raise/promotion in at least two years)
- No desire to move up (for example, you don’t want your boss’ job, or your boss’ job)
STEP #3: Reflect on your list and map out what you’ve done – or can do – to address them
With the exception of an unsafe workplace, I encourage you to do all that you can to try and rectify your situation so that if and when you decide to leave, you’ll know that you explored all possible options. For example, if you’re bored, have you pitched yourself for opportunities? If you’re burnt out, have you spoken to your manager about getting more support or setting boundaries? Find advocates and allies within the company who can help you figure this out.
STEP #4: Know your deal-breakers
Deal breakers are our bottom line. And while they are often related to values, sometimes they can be as “simple” as our day-to-day. Waking up at the crack of dawn? Deal-breaker. Needing to be available on the weekends? Hell no. Deal-breakers are different for everyone and are not something you should compromise.
STEP #5: Dig into your fears
What are you afraid of if you decide to go? To make sure you’re fully prepared to hand in your resignation, examine what’s stopped you so far (for example, running out of money, not finding a new job, etc.) dreading the job search process.) What can you do to address those fears? Most of it may be logistical, but some could be a mindset shift. For example, a fear of appearing disloyal. If you’ve been there for at least a year, you’re good. These days, no one is expected to be a lifer.
- You have a financial safety net (at least six months of savings)
- Have another job lined up or a side hustle that’s ramping up
- Job hunt plan (see below)
STEP #6: Know how to filter the next opportunity
The last thing you want to do is take a job out of desperation. Sometimes we do things not because it’s working for us, but because it feels familiar. So have a plan for how you’ll determine if the next opportunity is right for you, including things to look for and red flags to watch out for:
- Is this an industry that’s growing?
- Look through LinkedIn to see how long people stay at the company, how quickly do people move up
- Line up informational interviews
- Prepare questions to ask in an interview such as:
- What they reward
- What career development and growth looks like
- What a typical day is
- How they definition and measurement of success
- Work/life balance (or lack thereof)
STEP #7: Be ready for the job search*
It can take on average 5-6 months to find a job. Don’t let that intimidate you. The last step before you officially quit is to spend some time mapping out a plan. That includes a list of materials to prepare, a tracking system of the application process, as well as identifying people and groups to network with, how you’ll integrate self-care, and a support system to be there for you.
Whatever you decide to do, do not burn bridges. That’s why it’s best to check in with yourself on a consistent basis so resentment doesn’t build so much that you quit in a ball of fire. (Or as this guy did, jump out of a plane.)
*We hope you’ll join our Ladies Get Hired Bootcamp, from November 2nd through the 30th. Led by Ladies Get Paid Founder and Author, this 4-week course will give you the framework, tools, and support you need to land your next job.