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5 Critical Steps to Take Before Quitting Your Job For Good

5 Critical Steps to Take Before Quitting Your Job For Good

Congrats! You have worked hard and you’re ready to transition into self-employment. It is an exciting transition in your path on quitting your job for good.  But before you go ahead and quit your job, there are some crucial steps you need to consider before taking the leap. Following these suggestions will not only make it easier when transitioning, but a happier experience for everyone involved.

1. Leave on a High Note

Think about how your boss would feel if you make a situation worse by being disrespectful. Sure, you may not like your job, but it is not fair to your coworkers or your boss if you are disrespectful when quitting. While you may have fantasized about telling your company how you really feel, but it could damage your reputation down the line, even if you are your own boss. Put yourself in your boss’ shoes: would you like an employee to treat you poorly or left a mess of their work that you have to pick up the pieces? Make it a point to be fully involved in your job up until the day you leave. That means completing a to-do list you meant to tackle, cleaning your desk, and keep yourself focused on your work.

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2. Create a Financial Plan for the Next 6 – 12 Months

Being your own boss means that you won’t have a steady income. Before quitting your job, you need to think about what your budget is in order to cover the essentials. It is also a good idea to save up money in case some months or slow, or no income is coming in at all. To start, write down a list of all the expenses you have. Items you should factor in -Cell phone -Rent/Mortgage -Food -Internet/utilities -entertainment -existing debt -health insurance -transportation After writing down what everything costs, take that amount and make sure you stick to it. There are lots of budgeting programs that you can use, or something as simple as a spreadsheet document on your computer will suffice. They key is sticking to the budget you set for yourself to ensure you don’t run into any financial trouble while self-employed. It is a good idea to get used to your new budget by making one and sticking to it a few months (if possible) before leaving your job. That way, you have time to adjust it if necessary before you no longer have your job.

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3. Make a Plan

Your side hustle may provide you with enough income to quit your job, but have you considered what you will do to continue your success? Think about where you plan on seeing your career in the next few years, and write your goals down.  Create goals to market yourself and your business, how to retain existing clients, what your ideal career is like, and any personal goals you want to achieve. Make your action plan as specific as possible and what your success criteria is. For example, if you plan on hiring on a virtual assistant to help with some back end work, make a goal on how much income your business needs to make in order to be able to afford that VA full time.

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4. Plan Out Healthy Habits and Routines

Making sure you are in tip top shape is important because you are now your business. If you are sick and cannot work, you will not pull in any income. Being unhealthy can also take a toll on your productivity and mood.  Sure, you may want to skip lunch and finish writing that proposal for a new client or fix your website, but something that may take you 20 minutes to do may take a few hours if your stomach keeps growling at you. Now that you can dictate your own schedule, make a point to pencil in some time for exercise during the week. Find a workout buddy if you need to get some accountability. Even taking 15 minutes a few times a day to stretch will do wonders for your mood and health. Don’t forget that eating well is part of a healthy routine. Don’t stock up on too much junk food or frozen dinners even if it is more convenient to prepare them. Make a meal plan and freeze meals ahead of time if you know you will be too busy to cook. Enlist the help of family members if you need to in order to make your health a priority. Set reminders on your phone or calender if you need to in order to make sure you stick to a healthy routine.

5. Create a Backup Plan

As much as we’d hate you admit it, sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan.  Your regular clients may suddenly decide they do not need your services. Maybe your business is not pulling in a profit for the past few months and your savings are dwindling. Perhaps there is an emergency in your family and you have to put off your travel plans. Take a look at what your plans are after you quit and list and possible worst-case scenarios. Write down what you might do if these crop up. Make up as many scenarios as you can think of and create a backup plan for each one. Talk to as many people who have forged the same path you have and see what their backup plans are. It could be moving back in with mom and dad, taking on part time work at McDonald’s, or changing up your marketing efforts.  As well, think about a time frame on when you will enact on your backup plan. What will be the deciding factor on knowing when your initial plans are not panning out? Clearly deciding on a success criteria early on will help you make those tough decision down the line.

Have you quit your job? What steps did you take before you left your job for good? Share your insights in the comments below!

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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