Before You Quit, Do These 7 Things

Before You Quit, Do These 7 Things

If you’re thinking of quitting your job, you’re probably experiencing a range of emotions: anxiety about what comes next, excitement about possibilities beyond your current role, maybe even irritation with your present employer or manager.

Whatever your particular situation, the moment before you fire off your resignation letter is a scary and potentially dangerous time. Go about things in the wrong way, and you could do serious damage to your professional reputation. On the other hand, if you conduct yourself well, you could use this moment as an opportunity to move smoothly into another, much better jobwithout burning your bridges behind you.

Here’s what to do before you quit:

1. Take a deep breath.

No matter how fed up you are, do not quit on the spot. You’ll almost certainly regret it, even if you don’t change your mind about wanting to leave.

Take a day or two to evaluate your situation at work and at home. Do some soul-searching. Make a plan. Give yourself the opportunity to leave as graciously as possible, so that you can move on with a clear conscience (as well as the potential for recommendations down the road, should you need them).

2. Pinpoint the issue.

There are as many reasons to quit a job as there are people who quit, but a few come up again and again in surveys and in career columns: bad bosses, no autonomy or sense of mission at work, low pay, tough commutes, and just plain old bad cultural fit. Your reason for wanting to quit is important. Figure out what it is, and you can hopefully avoid jumping from one bad situation to another.

3. Look inward.

Here’s where the soul-searching gets tough. Before you quit, you should assess your own role in the situation.

This might mean facing up to some unpleasant facts. You might discover that you’re not particularly interested in (and therefore not effective at) the type of work you’re doing. You might discover gaps in your skill set that are holding you back, or other personal issues that are preventing you from doing your best work. (For example: if you’re afraid of public speaking, and your job requires you to present at conferences, you won’t get very far until you conquer your fear … or at least learn to manage it.)

Resist the urge to beat yourself up when you make this accounting. The point isn’t to find a way to blame yourself for your problem, but to help you move forward. That might mean taking some classes to learn a particular skill — or looking for a different type of job altogether.

4. Consider a move within the organization.

If your boss or your team is the problem, you might consider a move to another department or area of the organization.

Lateral moves like these have a few advantages. By staying with the same employer, you save yourself the headaches of getting to know how things are done at a new organization. You won’t have to roll over your 401(k) or wade through a new benefits package. Finally, it might look better on your resume — employers are less likely to perceive you as a job-hopper if you moved to a new job at the same company.

5. Update your resume.

Regardless of whether you ultimately decide to quit, take this moment to update your resume. You’ll never be sorry that you kept your information up-to-date, and if a new opportunity appears, you’ll be ready.

6. Refresh your network.

Now’s an excellent time to reach out to former colleagues, bosses, roommates, neighbors, friends, even family members and arrange coffee dates or get-togethers. That doesn’t mean that you have to hit them up for a new job. Just make contact and catch up. It’ll be a nice distraction from your woes, as well as reminding them of your existence. Who knows? Someone you talk with might have the perfect job opportunity for you. Even if they don’t, they’ll probably have contacts, information and invitations that will help you build your network further.

7. Find a new job.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do before you quit your job … is to find a new job. There are circumstances under which you might decide to quit before having a new position lined up, but for the most part, it’s a better idea to wait until you have somewhere to go. It can take months to get hired, and ideally, you don’t want just any job. It’s hard to wait when you really want to go, but if you make the effort, you’ll be glad you did.

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  • March 25, 2023