Here are five transitional steps to take before you joyously quit your job.
Do you dream of quitting your job? Every job has its moments, but when the workplace becomes toxic or you just can’t stand it anymore, the words, “I quit” can sound awfully appealing. How do you jump ship when you’re not going directly to another job? Recently we met a man who is the perfect example of doing it right.
We went to brunch in Northeast Portland, a neighborhood in transition. Afterward we decided to take a walk to burn off the morning’s biscuits. On a street lined with remodeled craftsman homes, we noticed a man vigorously working outside. His older home was beautifully redone with fresh paint in vibrant colors, tasteful landscaping and a new driveway. I shouted, “Your house is gorgeous!” His whole face lit up and he came to talk to us. We never even got his name so I’ll call him Joe.
Joe had just quit his job, he said happily. The company he worked for had been bought by a new owner. He grew to loathe his job. He quit without having another job or knowing exactly how he would support himself. He was getting his house ready for sale. In the ten years he and his wife had lived there, they’d slowly been making improvements. Now that he wasn’t working for someone else, he had the time to finish. He’d done all the carpentry himself and acted as his own contractor. His designer wife created the unique window treatments. He planned to list the house in a month then use the money to buy another house to refurbish. It was a hot real estate market, and we knew he’d make a fortune selling this house. He was on his way.
As he told the story of quitting his job and now concentrating on remodeling his home for sale, he smiled from ear to ear. He laughed when he remarked that his mother was nervous about him quitting his job. He told her he just had to.
Joe’s story stuck with us. As we reflected on the conversation, it became apparent that Joe’s story had great lessons for anyone thinking of handing in the resignation letter before having another job. Joe may have quit quickly but he had a plan that had already been in motion for some time.
Make sure you have enough money to last through your transitional time
Sure, you hear it all the time. Have six months to a year of expenses available. It’s true. If you don’t have it, start saving now. The security of knowing you can pay your bills will allow you to say “buh-bye.”
Have something else to immediately engage your attention
If you’re quitting your job because you hate it, you better have something you love to do to replace it. Joe loved fixing up his house and he was near its completion. Whether it’s going into business for yourself or completing a personal project, do something that both fills the time and fulfills you.
Have the skills to support a transition
Joe had extensive carpentry and contractor skills that made his plan to make a living flipping houses a realistic new career. Do you need new skills? Get them while you’re still working, not after the paycheck disappears.
Align yourself with others who have complementary skills
Joe’s wife was a designer. Together they had the complete skill set to refurbish a house inside and out. Who do you need to fill in your skill gap? Start looking around.
Have confidence in yourself
Ultimately, you’re going to take a leap of faith. Joe did. No one will have greater confidence in you than you have in yourself.
See where you are on this list. If you can check all five, you might be ready to follow in Joe’s path and make a new life without your current employer.