At some point, in almost any career, there comes a moment when quitting your job can seem like a good option. Ideally, of course, this moment would come right after you've accepted an offer for your dream job. Back here in the real world, however, things don't usually work that way. Sometimes, changing jobs will mean going to college full time or moving to a new town, state or even country. Other times, the change you need to make might be something like staying home to raise your children or moving because of your partner's job.
Whatever the reason, before you say goodbye for good, there are five things you should do first.
Talk it over with your family. No matter how fed up you are with your boss, your co-workers or your job in general, don't just lose your temper and have a “take this job and shove it” moment. It might feel great in the moment and look amazing in movies, but once you get out of the parking lot and calm down, you might regret walking out and setting your bridges on fire. It's a whole lot of risk for such short-lived satisfaction. Instead, talk about your reason for wanting to quit with your family. If you're married or in a serious relationship, your partner has a right to know what's going on, as their lives will probably be impacted by your decision. During the discussion, you should figure out how you plan to deal with things like paying the rent and any additional expenses. Proper planning is key when you're making a big change.
Decide how you will pay the bills. The first thing you need to figure out is how long you plan to be out of work. Will you be looking for a new job right away? Will you work a part-time job while you attend school full-time? If you're staying home to care for a child, how long will you be out of the workforce? Do you plan to return to work when your child enters preschool, kindergarten, middle school or never?
Create a new budget. Armed with all of this information, you should be able to create a new budget that reflects the changes in your financial status. If you are planning to quit several months in the future, it's a good idea to try to live on this budget for at least a month or two before your last day of work. It will give you the chance to see if the budget is going to be manageable and allow you to make some last minute adjustments while you still have the safety net of your current income.
Find out about insurance. Having health insurance is extremely important. If your employer currently provides you with insurance, once you quit, you might have trouble finding coverage on your own. Also, COBRA insurance can be extremely expensive, so find out what your options are before you quit and add them into your new budget plan. If you are going to find independent insurance, begin getting quotes now.
What about your 401(k)? If you have a 401(k) with your current employer, you'll need to decide what to do with your account when you leave the company. There are several options for rolling your savings over into a new plan, but you will need to know if you'll be contributing to the plan while you're out of work. This is something you'll want to be pro-active about in order to avoid paying penalties if your employer cashes these accounts out automatically.
Quitting a job is never something that should be done lightly. If you're unhappy with your job, try to find other solutions while you look for something you'll enjoy more. If you will be leaving the workforce for personal reasons, start planning as early as possible in order to make the transition easier.
Have you ever walked out of a job? Did you regret it? What sort of planning do you think is important before making this type of change? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
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