Should I Quit My Job? (2015)
Chapter 3: Planning For The Exit
Before you quit your job (assuming that you have finally decided to make that decision), there are several things that you should prepare for. It’s never wise to quit a job when you have no immediate plans on how you will survive after leaving your job.
Practically speaking, financial security is your primary concern. Only people who are financially secure can afford to quit at a moment’s notice. For most people, it’s difficult to give up a job no matter how paltry the pay is or how crappy the working conditions are, simply because they have no backup plans for the future.
You don’t need to make a lot of fuss with your resignation. There is a way to ensure you have a graceful exit, without any bitter feelings on both parties. Here are some tips if you want to be able to make a clean break from your current job:
Whether or not you are planning to quit your job in the future, saving up a portion of your pay is a great way to ensure your financial security in case you fall on hard times. That way, you are slowly building up your nest egg, a form of savings you could dip into when your source of income becomes unstable.
Saving for the future isn’t so difficult, and you could achieve it by carefully allocating your earnings around your expenses. Here are some quick tips on how you can save more of your earnings:
- Learn to live within your means and avoid unnecessary spending.
- Use your credit cards sparingly, and set a fixed portion of your daily wage as automatic savings.
- Pay off your debts consistently to avoid bigger interests, and avoid incurring new ones.
- Before purchasing anything, ask yourself first if this is an absolutely necessary item.
- If you can, get some insurance or retirement plans. Pay these regularly and you will have a sure way of keeping yourself afloat financially.
Your savings will be your emergency funds while in between jobs and you can in fact use them to look for a new job.
Have a plan to pay bills
Financial obligations are a reality for adults. If people do not have to worry about these responsibilities then nobody would care if they are out of work, but the truth is this is something you have to face in case you do decide to quit.
Among the most expensive things that need to be taken care of are house rent and vehicle fees. The last thing you would want is to end up living in the street simply because you failed to plan ahead. So, how do you exactly deal with paying basic expenses?
Taking care of the house rent
Before you hand over your resignation, make sure that you have already thought about your living situation. Your apartment or house may become too expensive when you no longer have your primary source of income, so what is it that you can do to avoid being homeless? Here are a few suggestions.
Have an idea of your monthly expenses
As I mention before, saving up is really important. How long can your savings cover your rent? Keep in mind that you have other expenses to take care of on top of rent. How much really is enough?
This is one of the biggest reasons why you always have to make calculated decisions. How much time do you need to get settled in with a new job or a new business, whatever it is that you plan to do next?
If you think that 3 months is enough time to get you covered, save up for more than 3 months. You never know what could happen in between. So, fatten up your savings before you quit.
Get a roommate
If you are living solo in your apartment, perhaps you can get a roommate. Cutting the rental expenses by half can make a big difference.
Living with someone else may not be something you are used to. However, in these times, you have to be practical. In fact, you do not have to get a total stranger for a roommate. You can ask friends of your friends.
On the other hand, if your abode is only meant for a single person, then you may want to let it go so you can move in and be a roommate in somebody else's apartment. You have to plan this ahead of time so you do not waste money and time.
Move in with your parents
Desperate times call for desperate measures. This may mean you would have to swallow your pride, but if that is what it takes for you to regain composure, then you must choose this option.
Think about it. When you move back in with your parents, you would not have to worry about rent at all. While this living situation has its share of downsides such as losing your independence, it does have its perks too, particularly in reducing your expenditures.
Talk to your parents about your plans. If they know what your future plans are, they would not worry that much. Consider this as a setback. Emphasize that it is just a temporary situation and make good on that promise!
Stay with a friend
If you have made generous and accommodating friends, then your friend can save you from the rather uncomfortable feeling of moving back in with your parents. However, do keep in mind that this is supposed to be temporary so do not get too comfortable with the arrangement.
In return for the free stay, offer your personal services. Do your share of the house chores such as cooking and cleaning. You may also offer to take care of the groceries.
As much as possible, you would not want to take advantage of a friend's generosity. Do not be too imposing. Be an adult and be a responsible even if you’re just “crashing” for the meantime. Anyway, this is just an idea and you may choose to take it or leave it.
So, after quitting your job, what route do you wish to take as far as your living situation is concerned? To what extent can your savings take care of you or for how long?
This is not meant to scare you. Rather, it is a reality check. You will have to deal with this matter sooner or later, and the sooner you take care of it, the better off your will be.
Taking care of the vehicle fee
In addition to house rent, another expense you must plan ahead for has to do with owning a car. Sure, there are perks to having your own car, but when it is crunch time with your finances, you better have a backup plan. What exactly can you do with the car expense?
Sell your vehicle
You may have gotten a car for a more convenient way of traveling from your house to where you work, but if you are quitting, then you may no longer require it. It is good to keep around but just think about the expense of maintaining ownership when you do not have a primary source of income anymore.
Think about selling the car. If you are keeping it, your costs will pile up. You will have to continue paying for it if you have not yet fully paid up. Moreover, there is the cost of insurance. Your monthly premium will not freeze just because you let your job go. The expenses meter will keep running whether or not you drive your car.
Understand that there are a few things you have to let go. Consider it a necessary sacrifice so you can get by. It will not always be this way. You should not feel bitter or lose hope nor should you get too attached to it. It is just a car and you can replace it (or even buy it back if you want it that much) once you have reestablished yourself.
Take public transport
This time, you have to get used to taking public transport to get to where you need to be. Commuting is definitely cheaper than paying for gas, parking, insurance, and other vehicle-related expenses. People take the train and the bus all the time. It is not big deal.
In fact, you are doing the environment a huge favor by not contributing to pollution since you are saving fuel by not driving your own car.
Get a bike
Another option for transportation is riding a bicycle. A bike is not high-maintenance like the car you own. It does not require fuel – only your good strong legs. Biking can also help you stay in shape without even paying for gym membership!
Other money-saving ideas
The point is when it comes to letting some of your valuables go, it is important that you recognize the bright side of things. Otherwise, you will never consider quitting even if it means enduring a job that you are no longer happy about. That said, below are a few more ideas on how you can stay financially afloat after quitting your job.
Downgrade your cell phone plan
If you are signed up for a particularly expensive plan, it is time to downgrade. Ask your provider for a cheaper plan. Make sure to get your calculations right and get a plan that you can afford. Giving up your data plan is definitely worth it since there are so many places with free access to the internet.
Sell your stuff
You can either hold a garage sale or post your stuff on Craigslist. The money you collect from sales can help you take care of the expenses you need to have covered while you settle into a new situation. Under this circumstance, you must think of creative ways to stay afloat and avoid eating up on your savings account.
Cancel your gym membership
When you had a primary source of income, it would not have mattered if you are still paying for a gym membership that you do not actually use that often. However, at this point, tightening your belt is essential.
Canceling your membership does not mean you will no longer be fit and healthy. There are plenty of other ways to ensure your fitness. You can jog in a nearby park or around your neighborhood. You can still get your much needed cardio workout for free.
Cancel your cable subscription
Lounging on your couch may be a good idea for just a few days, but the once comforting couch can get you stuck to where you are. That is the last thing you want. So, you better cancel your cable subscription to resist the temptation of turning into a couch potato.
Resist the temptation of eating out
When you still had the means, you may have become used to eating out. However, after quitting your job, dining out becomes a luxury. It is an unnecessary expense and it will do nothing but drain your savings when you have other more important things to take care of.
The bottom line is you must keep track of your spending. It is always good to be informed with where you are and where you are leading especially in terms of your finances. Pay attention to your spending and look after your savings.
Have a graceful resignation
Just because you’re quitting, it doesn’t mean you can tell your bosses to go to hell. Even if it may sound tempting to quit with flair and drama, your sudden outburst can come back to haunt you when it’s time to look for a new job.
Remember, all your work experiences go on your record, so it’s best to quit and still maintain good terms with your current employer, no matter how badly you’ve been treated.
Here are the steps you should take to make your exit gracefully:
- Before handing in your resignation, make sure you’ve finished all tasks previously delegated to you. Don’t leave any messes for other people to fix.
- Hand in your resignation with at least two weeks’ notice. That way, you are giving your employer enough time to find a replacement.
- When writing your resignation letter, keep the contents brief and to the point. Extensive explanations on a letter might only prove to be a pitfall for you.
- Be factual, but avoid maligning your bosses — those statements can only come back to haunt you, especially since you might need them as character references to your resume.
- You should write only the factors that matter the most, or reasons that are easiest to explain in written form.
- End your resignation letter with a positive note.
- Be prepared to answer your employer’s questions, but avoid making accusatory statements. Try to make your exit as positive as you can.
- Clear out your desk and computer before you leave. If you need to turnover some files, keep them organized in a flash drive for your successor.
Making a clean break with your current employer is a great way to start a new career. That way, you will still be assured of a warm welcome when you ever find yourself back in the company’s doorstep.
Find a new job before you quit
One of the best backup plan you can ever have is to make sure you already have a job waiting for you immediately after you quit.
After handing out your two weeks notice, you should now spend your time searching for a new job. Or, better yet, you should not hand in that resignation unless you’re absolutely sure you can survive the next few weeks without work.
This is especially true if you actually have no savings but still want to resign your current job. It wouldn’t be wise on your part to quit if your future is uncertain. You want to minimize your risk as little as possible.
It’s okay to take a few days break if you only want to clear your head, but you should be geared to look for new work immediately if your savings are dwindling and you have no other way to pay for the bills.
It’s not that easy to leave your current job, particularly if you’ve had it for years. Most people who seek stability will probably choose to weather it out and hope things pick up in the near future.
However, its crucial to always consider your own emotions and your level of happiness when you are making such an important decision. If there is a lot of obvious signs like depression, anxiety, or just not feeling right about your job, then it might be a good time to think about if you should keep going this career path.
When you’ve asked yourself the question “Should I quit my job?” several times, it’s already an indicator that you should do so. In some situations, quitting is the best decision you could make. You owe it to yourself to make sure you have not only a lucrative job, but a job that you enjoy doing.
Instead of dragging your feet on your way to the exit, prepare for the future and set your priorities straight. Among these preparations include not only writing your resignation letter or fixing loose ends, but also preparing yourself for what you are about to face when you have quit.
When you have fully prepared for it, quitting a job you hate could be the best thing you can do for yourself. With enough time and preparations, you can choose a totally different career path. Just remember, “You deserve to be happy. Don't let anyone make you forget that!”