Have you had enough? Do you want to move to Siargao and open a kooky resort with an open mic night where every now and then you tell the story of how you just packed up (or maybe not packed because minimalism) and left everything for the island life? Do you want out of the system and rebel by growing your own food? Perhaps take notes from Elizabeth Gilbert and embark on a vision quest?
Maybe you’ll go to France, or maybe Spain. We’re sure the work you do now is the kind that numbs your brain. You need to get away and you’re never coming back, because your body’s turned off and your mind is out of whack. Right?
We all burn out sometimes and just want to leave it all. You’re not being dramatic as these are all valid feelings. There are many reasons why one would want to quit a job. Perhaps you’re pursuing a passion. Maybe you want to take a break but you don’t qualify for a sabbatical. Or it could be as simple as you want a new job environment. But do ask yourself these questions before doing anything you may potentially regret!
What are my issues with my job?
Grab a pen and paper and write down your work-related issues. Chances are, some of them will spill over to your personal life—write those down, too. You have to identify everything that’s keeping you from sleeping well at night. And once you have, ask yourself...
Is there something I can do to resolve one or all of these issues?
Address them. Yes, you’d like to leave your job because A, B, and flippin’ C, but what if they can be remedied? If you’re feeling dull and underpaid, ask for a promotion! If you just don’t like your teammate, pursue a lateral career move. Traffic bumming you out? Try to arrange for more convenient hours. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking and negotiating.
What do I like about my job now?
Take note of the upsides, too. Maybe a dose of appreciation is just what you need to change your mind, or just nod at the positives before letting go.
Have you learned or gained anything from this job?
Are your skills up-to-date? Years of experience mean nothing if you haven’t acquired any new, marketable abilities. Even divergent skills will prove useful elsewhere because it shows you’re a learner. Society loves learners. Even learning about yourself counts.
Did I sign any significant contracts?
Are you under a retention bond? Did you sign a non-disclosure agreement? Does your employment contract have a non-compete clause? It’s important to know these things before handing in your notice. The last thing you want is to be in a legal battle with an old employer.
Am I leaving in good standing?
Hopefully, your co-workers and superiors will not hesitate to write you glowing letters of recommendation, should you need those. More than the professional, it’s always nice to leave your workplace with grace, without one unresolved tiff with a colleague. You don’t want to be that person that people don’t connect with on LinkedIn.
Do I have a new job waiting?
When leaving a job, it’s best to already have a new one waiting for you as soon as you walk out of your building’s glass doors. It’s Employment 101. It will be harder to negotiate a higher salary on your next application if you have unemployment gaps visible on your CV.
Sometimes, it doesn’t really have to be a new job but just another source of income that you can live on. Why? Well, unless you have access to a hefty inheritance or you’re okay with the simpler life, you’re going to need some cash, man! Then, ask yourself...
Have I saved enough to cover at least a month/year/decade/life of having no income?
Buffer. Allowance. Savings. You’re going to hear these words and other variations from the concerned titas in your life when you tell them you’re resigning from your job. This advice is coming from a place of wisdom. Maybe stick it out for a while until you have enough to go on for the next few months, or until you see that return on investment on your new business.
What does my long-term career picture look like?
Picture yourself in the next ten years. Does it somehow culminate with you receiving a prestigious award in a company event? Are you shaking hands with the CEO? Or are you celebrating milestones such as booking your 10,000th lodger at your seaside hostel? It’s wise to make decisions with specific long-term goals in mind, too.