This is a very popular question that I get, so I want to walk you through some key factors to consider before quitting your job if you don’t already have another one lined up. Let me start by saying that this is a deeply personal question. It’s truly different for everyone. I’ve been in plenty of situations where I’ve wanted to jump ship without something lined up — and while no one can answer this question for you, I do have some pointers on important factors to consider to make a confident decision. You’re welcome to continue reading along or watch the video below!
Question #1: What’s your financial cushion right now?
The number one reason most people stay where they are is due to financial handcuffs. So let’s address your finances for all the analytical and logical thinkers out there. Every job search is different, but conventional wisdom typically says you should have a minimum of 6 months of savings accrued for any emergency. This means that you have enough to cover your most basic living expenses including rent, bills, food, and any extras you know you need.
Start by putting together a plan – what are all of your expenses for the next 6 months including fun money? Give yourself an honest assessment and come up with a plan of how you will be able to either cover or generate that much money. If your workplace is really toxic and you truly cannot stand another day, consider how much you need to make each month and come up with a plan around that. I say this all the time, there is no shame in getting gig economy jobs to support you in the interim. If you calculate that driving for Uber or walking dogs can bring in enough income to cover your bases for a few months, then absolutely take that leap.
Question #2: Do you have a pattern of short stints or unemployment gaps?
Unfortunately, when it comes to marketability, a pattern of short stints and unemployment gaps can send a red flag signal to future employers. If you have been in your job for a long time, over 18 months, then there is less concern for this. And I always say don’t worry about having an employment gap on your resume – you can always spin a negative into a positive and prepare an answer for this question.
But if you have a PATTERN, meaning looking at your resume I can see you’re concealing your months you’ve worked or you have multiple full-time jobs you left before your one or two year anniversary, I’d say your best bet is to secure your next role before you decide to jump ship. There is some truth to the fact that you’re sometimes seen as more marketable when you are currently employed as it takes away any concerns about having outdated skills or possibilities around being fired for work-related performance.
Again, deciding to quit before you have something lined up is a very personal decision and sometimes it is the best choice for you given your psychological and emotional well being, as well as some circumstances such as voluntarily moving or having a life-changing event.
If this is the case for you, I highly recommend you come up with a plan. Feel free to check out my dream job roadmap as it will walk you through the 7 pillars to successfully landing a dream job asap.
Question #3: What Do You REALLY Want?
The most important question perhaps to ask yourself is, What do you REALLY want?
Oftentimes we let too many important life decisions get driven by logic as we think with our head. As your career coach, I’d love for you to check in with yourself. Get really still and present and ask yourself, what do you really believe is to be the best choice for you in this moment? Listen to your heart and trust your intuition.
As Oprah says, we often have the answers within us already — we know the answers — but we just might be too scared to confront them.
Once you know your answer, trust in yourself, have faith that you are always taken care of, and you’re resourceful and creative enough to ensure you are going to live an amazing life and career. Everything will resolve on its own so long as you commit to a decision and go full throttle in the direction you seek.
Personally speaking, I’ve quit my job without anything lined up and it was the best decision I made. But I knew once I made the calculated decision, I would do everything I could to reach my ultimate goal. And guess what? I’m here today because of that one decision. Life is way too short to not wake up happy on Mondays. With clear goals and directions and FAITH, you will get to where you need to be!