So you’re thinking about quitting your job? It’s a tough decision with many things to consider, no matter what you do. With unemployment rates nationally around 6.3% and much higher in cities and towns across the country, it’s important to take a systematic look at whether you should quit your current job. Here’s what you should ask yourself before you quit your job

Why do I want to quit?

This is a very important place to start. What about your job do you dislike? Are you being underpaid, but enjoy what you do? Do you hate your boss or clash with co-workers? Are you bullied or feel threatened? Each of these reasons, and the hundreds of others not mentioned, must be considered. When you’re answering the question “why do I want to quit,” be honest and open. Consider if there are things you could do to make the job fit your needs. Having problems with co-workers? Are there things you can do to improve your relationship outside work? Having trouble with your boss? Consider transferring to another part of the company or to a different department. Are you being underpaid? Consider asking for a raise or going for a promotion. No matter what the answers, make sure you fully flush out why you want to quit and make sure you understand all your options.

What do I want to do instead?

So you have your list of reasons why you want to quit. What do you want to do instead? Be honest with yourself and know your limitations. Many people want amazing dream jobs, but if they don’t have the qualifications, they must be realistic. Do you need more education or more experience to get the job you want? Is your preferred career very competitive? Understand what can set you apart. Know what you want to do and research how many openings are available in your area, how your requirements stack up, and the pros and cons. Use tools like Glassdoor to see reviews from those in your dream job and review the companies with openings to see what they think. Do your research and make sure the grass really is greener on the other side.

Can I afford to quit?

So you know why you want to quit and you’ve found your dream job. Now the question becomes, can you afford to quit? This comes down to two major decisions: Can I afford to quit before I find a new job? And does my new career support my lifestyle as well as my current job? For the majority of people, it’s financially difficult, if not impossible, to walk into your job and quit without another opportunity. And usually when that happens, it’s more because of a snap-judgement rather than a well-thought-out plan. Being without a job for any amount of time can take a huge toll on your financial future, so make sure you don’t make a snap-decision you’ll regret.

Will I be happy working for someone else?

When considering a change in career, always consider the other side. If you love your boss but have other issues with the job, consider this: Your boss can make all the difference. Will you find a job with a better boss? Will you have the same freedoms and input you currently have, or will you take a step back. If you’re having problems with your boss, will working at another job really fix it? If you’re getting slack for being late, not finishing on time, etc., is it something you need to fix or is it truly the boss? Make sure you take a real, hard look at the situation. Switching jobs can be stressful and difficult financially. Make sure you’ll truly be happier working for someone else before making the switch.

Quitting your job is a huge decision. Make sure you take the time to answer these questions and make a plan to ensure it’s truly is the best opportunity for your situation.

Featured photo credit: SpectralDesign via flickr.com

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