Quitting a job without having another one lined-up may be seen as irresponsible to some people but every person, their work situation and career aspirations are different. You may have come to a point in your working life where you have lost motivation for your current job and feel it’s time to leave, or maybe you have been thinking about a change of career for a while and are ready to make a transition.
While you may have doubts and fears, remember that you’re not alone and many people have left a job without knowing exactly what their immediate future holds. The important thing is to keep productive while you seek a new job.
If you have decided to quit your job and are facing a stint of unemployment, here are some things you can do to keep productive while you look for your next role.
1. Quit with class
It’s important to leave a good impression on your employer so you should quit your job with class. Let your employer know as early as possible that you intend to leave so they can go about finding your replacement. If they ask you why you are leaving, be honest with them and tell them your reason. Never burn bridges or leave on bad terms as you may need a work or character reference in the future. If you’ve had any bad experiences while working there or have anything negative to say about your employer, confide in your family and friends and not with your colleagues. The last thing you want is for your boss to hear your comments as it could be bad for your reputation and make your last week’s there difficult. If your relationship with your employer has broken down, remember to always remain professional at all times and never get personal.
2. Tie up any loose ends
Once you have told your employer you are leaving and know when your last day will be, you can then let your colleagues know and prepare to say goodbye. You should tie up any loose ends you have including any outstanding work/ projects you are involved in or committed to. You don’t want to leave a bad impression on your employer or colleagues by burdening them with a large workload as it will not look very good on your part.
3. Have a financial plan in place
If you have been considering quitting your job for a while, you may have already done some financial planning and put some money to the side. Having some savings can give you the security and confidence to peruse the right job for you in relative comfort. If you don’t have much in the way of savings, don’t panic. It’s easy to live on less money than you think. Budget carefully and consider cutting down on those little luxuries to save money. You may miss them but remember, your situation is temporary and you will soon have a steady income again. Try your best to stay off benefits/ social support as they may not see your vision or understand why your quit your job. They may also encourage you to take a job which is not suitable to your career ambitions and you could end up back at square one.
4. Take a little time off
After leaving your job, it may be a wise idea to take some time off. Now that you are out of work, you will have plenty of free time to yourself and you should use this time productively. Time off can be good and the burden and stress of having a job you didn’t like is lifted, giving you a sense of freedom. Use this time to relax a little and reflect on the job you have just left and why it was not right for you. During this time, you should start thinking about what you want your next job to be and how you are going to get there but do not think about it too much just yet. You have just left your job and shouldn’t make any quick decisions regarding your future as you may go down a route which isn’t right for you.
5. Consider what you want to do
After a few weeks out of work, you may want to ask yourself these questions:
- How long can I support myself without an income
- Where do I want to be in 1 month? 6 months? 12 months? Try to be as detailed as possible
- Do I have the skills and experience to gain the new job I want?
- Do I have a plan B in case I am unemployed for longer than I anticipate
Use your free time to consider what you would like to do next. If you want a new job in the same career field, you should already have the skills and experience needed to gain a new job and a short break may be just exactly what you needed. Make a list of all the job sites and agencies which advertise the positions you want to go into so you know exactly where to look when you feel the time is right for you to get back into work. If you are looking to go into a new type of career, consider if there is anything you will need to enter into that field. Now is the perfect time to take a short-course, peruse any qualification or work experience which will enable you to make a career change.
The longer you stay out of work, the harder it may be for you to find a job so you should try to keep a small gap between your last position and your prospective new one. Concentrate on finding the right job for you but also try and find it in a timely manner.
6. Keep busy
Now that you are not going to work every day, it’s important to establish some type of routine. Without a routine, you can become lazy and start lacking motivation. Time can then begin to drag and a brief spell of unemployment can seem like a long time. This can also lead to boredom and a touch of depression can set in so it is essential to stay active both physically and mentally.
Try to wake up every morning at a suitable time and dedicate the 9-5 time period of your day to doing something productive. If you have ever considered doing some voluntary work but haven’t had the time, now is the perfect opportunity. Look up local charities in your area and see if they require any help. Maybe you could get more involved with your church and offer your assistance to any activities or functions they are holding. This will keep you busy and giving back to your local community and helping those less fortunate can be a very rewarding experience.
You can use this period to spend more time with your loved ones and become more engaged in their lives. Help your children with their homework; drop them off and pick them up from school etc. You can also take on more housework such as cleaning and cooking and this will take some pressure off of your spouse especially if they are working. Maybe now would be a good time to fix that leaky tap or the pesky door that won’t close properly.
7. Make the transition to your new job
Now that you have had some time off and considered your future, you can apply to jobs which you would be happy with and are suitable for you. Dedicate particular days of the week to highlighting vacancies and applying to jobs while continuing with your routine and eventually, you will find a job which is right for you. A period of unemployment is not the end of the world and if you apply these methods, time will pass by quickly and you can take pride in the fact that you had the courage to change your situation.