FAQ Before You Quit Your Job
- What specifically about my current situation is frustrating me?
Pinpointing the issue is the first step towards solving it. Kimberly Bishop, recruiter and chief of her eponymous career management firm based in New York, advises employees to identify how their job is failing them. Is the problem the people, the environment or the work itself? After you’ve defined the frustration, consider the scope. If you decide you’re creatively stifled, for example, you may not need to quit to fill the void. Seek an outlet outside of work or raise your hand for another department or project. If you decide you’re in the wrong industry or the work pace is making your head spin, however, then it’s probably time to consider leaving.
- Is my current work environment abusive or unbearable?
Is your manager being verbally abusive? If so, it’s time to go--or at least make an appointment with HR. If your issue slants toward irritation rather than mistreatment, decide if you can tolerate the job while looking elsewhere or working toward your future goals from within the company.
- Have I taken every action possible to make my current job workable?
If you realize your situation is not abusive and could be manageable, consider the steps you might take to improve it. Try taking a positive attitude, altering your time management or work habits, and communicating more clearly with your manager. Perhaps a schedule change or clearing an item off your workload will make a big difference.
- Ultimately, what do I want for my job, career and life?
“A big mistake: When people decide to quit they think they’ll just update their resume and start networking,” says Bishop, who advises being more thoughtful about what you really want and how you’ll get there. Define your priorities. Going to law school may be intellectually stimulating but will not help you achieve the flexible schedule you’ve been craving. Similarly, if you’d like to make a career change, think about all the necessary steps. They may include more school, a pay cut or working your way up from the bottom--again. Once you know exactly what you want, you may want to ask: How much do I want it?
- Do I have a thoughtful, realistic plan for attaining my next job?
Figure out your strengths and how you can leverage them. If you discover you are lacking in an area, plan out how you will develop your skills. You may need to pursue more education, take a volunteer position or start positioning yourself for the next job while in your current job. Also, think about the industry or company you hope to move to in relation to your timeline.
- Do I have the support of my family and friends?
Quitting your job will affect others in your life, so it’s critical that you have an honest conversation with your family first. Your spouse or children may need to help or at least participate in some of your cost-cutting plans and need to be involved from the beginning. Additionally, executive coach Agry says many people are not prepared for the isolation and lack of structure that comes with unemployment. He suggests having a support system of friends or close colleagues who can help keep you on track while looking for a new job.