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Published on January 22, 2019

Should You Quit Your Job Without Another Job?

Should You Quit Your Job Without Another Job?

I bet you feel like you can’t afford to leave your job.

Maybe you’re right. But then again, maybe you aren’t.

Regardless of what you believe right now, your current job just doesn’t cut it. Your boss is stressing you out or you’ve outgrown your role. The next logical step is to quit but you don’t know how to go about this. You cringe about the idea of sending your resignation letter to your boss. On the other end, you’re worried about how you’d cover your bills.

So what happens?

You let these thoughts roam your head each day without taking action – hoping that one day you’ll find the answer. I hate to break it to you but you’re playing the wrong game.

The truth is that you quit your job without another one lined up isn’t easy. But by planning ahead, you’ll be better prepared to make the choice that’s best for you. If you’re done waiting for an answer–here’s how to know if quitting your job without another one lined up is the right choice for you.

1. Remember, You Only Need One Person’s Permission

I get it, leaving a secure job isn’t easy–especially when you’re earning a high income.

When I was going through this phase, like most, I’d seek out validation from others. The problem was that I’d end up with mixed answers.

My family worked for a single company most of their lives. So when I’d mention wanting to switch careers, I was being stared at as if I had a third eye. On the other end, some of my friends were supportive but questioned if my approach was the best option.

The truth is that most of the world seeks certainty in everything they do. To some extent, this is smart but it comes at a price. That’s settling for good when you could have something greater.

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You want to quit your job due to reasons that have been roaming your mind for some time. So why should you seek permission from anyone else that’s not you? Instead, take everyone’s opinion with a grain of salt and decide on your own.

To stay focused, make quitting your job as your goal to reach in the next 3–6 months. Data shows that you greatly increase your odds at achieving your goal writing it down.[1] Once you’re committed to quitting your job, you’ll be less dependent on other’s opinions.

2. Knock Fear by Changing Your View

Embrace your fear of the unknown.

It’s crazy to know that some people are afraid more of public speaking than [death]. Let’s face it, leaving your job is scary. But this shouldn’t prevent you from taking action.

Instead, change your perspective about leaving your job. For example, do a checklist comparison for staying and leaving your job. When you discover that you have more negatives on one end your fear becomes less relevant.

Take my case, for example, a few months ago, I was afraid to launch my own Podcast. After months of shooting this idea down, I’d realized that fear of the unknown was what held me back. So, I started slow and eventually worked my way up to launching my own Podcast to the world.

So why am I sharing this?

To prove that fear is most likely holding you back from making a choice. Instead of ignoring your fear, embrace it. Start by creating a plan and work your way up from there.

Take a look at this article if you want to learn how to conquer the fear of the unknown:

7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown And Get More Out of Life

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3. Don’t Wait to Have a Complete Exit Strategy

Most people believe that they need a thorough plan to quit their job. But this is far from the truth.

Do you know what’s more valuable than your job or money? Your health.

Research shows that stressful jobs trigger your fight or flight response frequently.[2] Because this response is response triggers your body takes a toll – leading to long-term health issues. While a sustainable income is important, working at a stressful job is bad for your well being.

But if you’re healthy, use this knowledge to create an exit strategy to leave your toxic job as fast as possible. Good enough is better than perfect.

Besides your health, there are other reasons why you may need to quit as fast as possible:

You don’t have full control of your schedule.

There are jobs that are too demanding, especially if you’re in a senior level position. I’m a firm believer that we can always make time for anything, but a demanding job may be the exception. The problem with a demanding job is that on most days you have back-to-back meetings.

Sure, you can cancel some meetings but you can’t predict this– making it challenging to set specific interview dates.

If this is you, explore quitting to focus your attention on the job hunting process.

You can’t keep your job search confidential.

Although there are thousands of companies to choose from, you may work in a niche industry. Because of this, it would be difficult applying to new jobs without your boss finding out.

If you have a great relationship with your boss, this won’t be an issue. But if your boss micromanages you, it may be better to leave your current role before applying to new ones.

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4. Answer These Questions to Create a Plan

So how’s an un-detailed game plan different from a thorough one?

It doesn’t take long to make. It’s a simple checklist of questions that will help you transition out of your current job.

First, decide if leaving your job is a definite decision. Mingling with this idea will only prolong the process from taking action. Instead, be decisive to start creating a plan.

If you know that you have skills that are in demand, estimate how long it would take you to find a new job. For most people, this would take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Knowing this you could predict how much you’d need to save and the number of job applications you’d need to send.

If you’re a stay at home spouse who can afford to quit without saving money you have an advantage, for most this isn’t the case. Here are some questions you need to answer before quitting:

  • How long can you cover your expenses?
  • What will you do in the next 3 to 6 months if you quit today?
  • What type of job do you want to transition to?
  • How have you invested in yourself these past 3 months?

These questions will prepare you to be productive for when you do leave your job. More importantly, these questions will help you find a job you love. Often times, people quit their jobs only to jump back into a similar one and put themselves in the same scenario.

5. Risk Everything to Find Your Zen

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”–Annie Dillard

It might seem trivial to dedicate a lot of your energy transitioning out of a job you hate, but it’s time well spent.

Aside from health issues, working in a job you’re miserable in is a waste of your time. You won’t grow to your full potential and won’t live a happy life.

Data shows that on average that you’ll spend 4,805 days working and 368 days socializing.[3] If this doesn’t scare you to not procrastinate in leaving a career you hate, nothing will.

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That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with amazing people who’ll push you to grow. Listen to podcasts, read books, and network with people at higher levels than you. Doing all these activities will help you put your life in perspective.

The more you invest in growing, the more confident you’ll become. Once you’re confident you’ll value yourself more and tolerate less a job you hate.

Have the Courage to Improve Your Career

Should you quit your job without having another lined up?

That’s a question that only you can answer. But I bet that deep down you already know what’s the best choice.

The good news is that you now have a mini blueprint for how to transition out of career your hate.

Don’t wait to have another job lined up if you don’t need to, but plan accordingly. Remember, you don’t need anyone’s permission nor a complete strategy to take this leap of faith. Leaving a job even with another one lined up is never easy but worth doing.

Imagine waking up each morning and feeling excited to start your day–the crazy part is that it’s Monday. While most need coffee to get them through the day you’re energized without it. You’re working in an interesting job and couldn’t be happier.

Is this a Utopian dream? Of course not. You simply created an effective strategy and took action.

The world is yours for the taking, now go get your dream job.

More Resources to Inspire You for a Fulfilling Career

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Dominican Edu: Goals Research Summary
[2] Center for Disease Control and Prevention: STRESS…At Work
[3] Huff Post: We’ve Broken Down Your Entire Life Into Years Spent Doing Tasks

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Christopher Alarcon

Finance Analyst and Founder of the Financially Well Off Blog & Podcast

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

More Tips on Advancing Your Career

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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