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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 October 22, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed, and exhausted. Therefore, if you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, it’s time to do something about it.

Here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm, leaving you calmer, in control, and a lot less stressed at work.

1. Write Everything Down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when work feels overwhelming is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s occupying your thoughts[1].

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind, write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind.”

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will help you stop feeling overwhelmed at work. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have emptied your head, go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. You can learn how to create a more meaningful to-do list here.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago to help when work feels overwhelming. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and we humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take[2]:

When feeling overwhelmed at work, use Parkinson's Law.

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad. It’s more wishful thinking than bad judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage when we’re feeling overwhelmed at work. If you have estimated that to write five important emails will take ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is that you put yourself under a little time pressure, and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time, so it plays tricks on us, and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our team members to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening, and we get more focused and more work done. This will help when work feels overwhelming.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos to avoid getting overwhelmed at work. Schedule time for each task, especially high priority tasks, while also grouping together similar tasks. This will help relieve stress and anxiety in your daily work life.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done, and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer, and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one[3]. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend, or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss or a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away and will only make you feel more overwhelmed at work. You need to make a decision to deal with it, and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved.

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed, and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend about the problem.

    He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem, and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I pay a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first was: don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second: there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we are feeling overwhelmed at work (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

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    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

    It also means that, rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible, and you can make decisions about what to do about them.

    Often, it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be that you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    When work feels overwhelming, it’s not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work. It can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    It’s easy to feel like you have too much on your plate, but there are things you do to make it more manageable. 

    Make a decision, even if it’s just talking to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution.

    When you follow these strategies, you can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Josefa nDiaz via unsplash.com

    Reference

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