Should I quit my job? I don’t have another one lined up yet

Not sure why every time I think of writing a career related advice piece an 80’s song title jumps into my head. This time I’m thinking of “Should I stay or should I go” by The Clash.  

A client recently asked if it was wise to quit their job before they got another one. The age-old wisdom was that you should never quit a job without having secured another one to walk into.  Does this still apply in all cases? The short answer is NO.

Let’s look at three common scenarios.  If you are thinking of quitting your job any time soon you will more than likely relate to one of these

Scenario 1: Just Get me Outta Here NOW

Let’s start with the most dramatic. You hate your job. No, you REALLY hate your job. It has got to the point where it has started to affect your confidence, your well-being and your mental health and possibly that of those close to you. Your work environment is negative and toxic and you’re finding it difficult to build up the confidence to even start thinking about what other jobs you could do. Under these circumstances it would definitely be better, if your financial situation allows, it to quit your job (unfortunately bills and financial commitments don’t stop while you are looking for a job).

Put some space between that bad experience and you starting to look for a new job. You will not do justice to yourself in any interview if you are carrying negativity, low self esteem and general state of unhappiness around with you. Don’t worry about being asked in an interview “Why did you leave your job two months ago without having another one lined up?”. It is likely that you will be asked that question and you can prepare for how to answer it prior to the interview. There are lots of different ways to explain why you left a toxic corporate culture without telling them that it was a toxic corporate culture! Don’t let that be the reason to stay there. Before you quit get your CV in shape, do some research about what the realistic job opportunities are for you and then take the plunge

Scenario 2: I can’t AFFORD to just get outta here

You REALLY hate your job but your financial situation is not going allow you to just quit and then start looking for a new job.  Every monthly pay cheque counts and you do not have savings to fund the time you will need to take when looking for a new job – 3 months on average but could be up to 6 depending on how in-demand your skills and experience is.

Investigate if an internal move is possible. If you have just a few years left to retirement and pension it would be better to engage in conversations with your employers to see if you can reach some compromise. It’s a well-known fact that people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses. Is there a possibility that there are other departments or divisions within the organisation you work for you can transfer to? Ask if it is possible to negotiate a severance package, voluntary redundancy – something to ensure you can meet your commitments while you look for a new job? Is there anyone in the company that may be able to help you find a new job elsewhere?  Could you leave and take a casual, less career focused role in the meantime just to keep some money coming in while you plan your next career move? Start to work your network – 70% of jobs don’t get advertised. The connector to your next job is probably someone you already know.

Scenario 3: I can put up with this for a while yet- but I do want to get outta here

You have days when you hate your job and you are definitely on the way out the door but it is not a crisis stage. You can put up with it. Then stay there and discretely work on your exit. You will have less explaining to do at interview and of course will be continuing to earn while you plan how to leave. Be careful not to take your foot off the pedal too much though. You don’t want your boss or colleagues to notice a drop in your productivity or interest in your current role as this could affect your reference or reputation within the company. ALWAYS aim to leave on good terms. We all know stories of someone who left a trail of bad feeling and ill will behind them when leaving a company or job they hated, only to find that the colleague or boss they disliked has now started also working in their new company. Awkward. As we mentioned in Scenario 2 – 70% of jobs don’t get advertised. Don’t just rely on the job ads. Start working your networks. Reconnect with trusted contacts and tell them what you are planning.

Contact Hilt for advice on whether you should stay or go – and to ensure your CV and Interview Skills will maximise your chances of quickly landing a great new job

And for those of you who now can’t get that Clash song out of your head – you’re welcome !

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