Should I quit my job with no backup plan?

Lately, have you asked yourself the following questions, “Should I quit my job?” or “Should I look for another job?”

Making the decision to leave a company is usually not easy, but it is a decision that should be careful, informed and rational.

Here are five questions you should ask yourself before deciding to quit.

1. What is the real reason I want to leave my job?

People leave their jobs for a myriad of reasons, and each has to be analyzed individually.

For example, if the reason you are asking yourself if you should quit your job is because you want to start your own company, your approach to quitting would be different from the executive who is fed up with being micromanaged by his boss or the manager who wants to be like a mother and housewife.

However, the real reason you want to leave your job is often not so clear. For example, you may think you are quitting because of your heavy workload, but perhaps it is because your long tenure with the same company may be affecting your energy levels before you even get to the office.

When the idea of quitting comes up, sit down, do some soul-searching about the cause, and try to resolve any collateral issues, first and foremost. When you discover the reason you want to resign, consider talking to your manager or human resources manager.

2. Have I exhausted all my options?

When a job is frustrating to the point that you are seriously wondering if you should quit, it is very tempting to just do it and hand in your resignation.

If you feel you are being underpaid compared to your peers, then perhaps it’s time to talk to your superiors. If so, try to hone your salary negotiation skills before approaching your manager.

If the workload is driving you crazy, learn to delegate and know when to ask for help.

Making the effort to review all available options before resigning demonstrates a proactive effort, something all employers appreciate, even if you ultimately decide to quit.

3. Are my finances secure?

This question may seem like a no-brainer for most mid-career executives, but there comes a point in life when financial security is important considering mortgage commitments, aging parents and school-age children.

When thinking “should I quit my job?”, the numbers ring: do you have enough savings for you and your charges for at least 12 months?

If your savings are low, but you still can’t support your current job, plan your exit from your job and save.

To make sure you don’t jeopardize your financial security, consider staying a little longer, doing freelance work, cutting back on expenses, or getting financial help for your expenses (such as medical assistance or scholarships) to reduce costs.

4. Can I get my job back?

As seasoned professionals, sometimes we can forget to balance work and personal life and reach burnout, which is very likely to happen. But before you quit, consider changing the internal scenario to reignite your passion for your work.

To do this, identify the areas of your job that are causing you the most stress or challenge, as well as those that you enjoy. From there, come up with a plan to follow to make your job more enjoyable again.

For some, it might be reassigning work tasks and focusing on your areas of strength; for others, it might be a sabbatical, or taking a chance on a new project outside of your comfort zone.

You may also want to consider becoming an independent consultant if you love what you do but need more flexibility on a day-to-day basis.

5. Have I planned for what’s ahead?

Another aspect to keep in mind for professionals who are considering leaving their job is to consider the feasibility of the “next step” they are taking.

In planning your career, good timing is key, and leaving your job at the wrong time could derail your career path prematurely.

For example, if you are quitting your current job to become a full-time freelancer, you need to have sufficient industry experience and confirmed clients that will keep your freelance business operational. Simply put: look before you take the leap!

Take a deep breath before you ask yourself, “Should I quit my job?”

The next time you ask yourself, “Should I quit my job?”, take a deep breath and ask yourself these five questions. When you think it through, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision and move in one direction or the other with fewer regrets.

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