Quitting your job without a new job lined up
I know several people who have recently quit their job without another one lined up. Some have saved up a lot of money, so they can afford this life change. Others have had it so much with their job they’re willing to suffer financially and even physically until they find a new one. That might mean buying cheaper groceries, losing health insurance, or ultimately moving in with a family member.
I think it’s really a slap in the face when one of your employees quits without another gig. It’s like the person disliked working for you so much that he’d rather have no source of income than one of your paychecks. Sometimes, though, it’s totally worth it to leave a company without any immediate work plans. If your job is so stressful or time-consuming you don’t have the motivation or opportunity to look for another job at the end of the day, then you’ll be stuck with this job forever.
If your job is so mindless or frustrating you are depressed each day you have to show up, then continuing with this job is probably not the best thing to do. It’s probably better to quit, improve your mental state, and figure out what you want to do next. You’ll have the time and proper disposition to identify your objective, apply for jobs or grad school, and do what else it takes to achieve your goal.
I know people who think you should never quit a job without having another one lined up. Well, generally speaking I think this is a good philosophy to have. But, in extreme cases this guideline shouldn’t be followed. And for those who disagree, I wonder if they’ve ever been in an extreme work situation before.
I, for one, once left a job without having another one lined up. Here are some tips for how I got by (until I found another full-time job):
- I got up early every day (like I was going to work).
- I figured out what type of job I wanted.
- I applied to relevant jobs.
- I took a course to improve my skills.
- I did a couple of unpaid internships to bolster my skills.
- I took on multiple part-time jobs to get by financially.
- I redid my resume to reflect my newly acquired skills/experience.
- I led a balanced life by exercising, cooking and seeing friends.
All of these things helped steer me on the right path. Sure, I was making less money than I was at the job I left. But I had much more time, a less stressful work life, and a better state of mind for figuring things out. Money, you know, isn’t everything. I must confess, however, I had some financial support from people close to me. Not everyone is so fortunate. But if I hadn’t had this blessing, I would have altered my life in some way to still quit the job. Maybe I would have moved in with a family member. Or taken out a loan. Whatever the case, I would have stopped working so I could better position myself.
Some people are afraid to quit a job without another one lined up because they fear a gap in their resume. Companies will indeed admit that they are more likely to hire someone who’s working than someone who’s not. But the trick is to keep your resume current by working at a part-time job or interning somewhere that’s relevant to your ideal path. So what if the gig isn’t full-time or remunerative? The fact you’re doing it now shows it’s what you’re committed to at this point. And if it’s similar to the job you’re applying to, all the better.
I have a friend living in northern Africa (I met her while studying abroad in southern France) who has been unemployed for about a year now (she’s looking for a marketing or communications job). I’ve spoken with her online, and she says she won’t take a part-time job or unpaid internship because she deserves a full-time job. She said she’s paid her dues by going to school and undertaking a few internships and part-time jobs here and there, and has no desire to go backwards. Well, in my opinion, she is going backwards by not keeping her resume current.
I hope she finds something, but fear her philosophy will keep her from doing so. I find the topic of jobs (and the economy) really interesting right now. I voraciously consume any media related to this topic, whether it’s radio shows (like this excellent one), Boston Globe articles (like this one), or something I read in another newspaper. I think it’s largely because I know a lot of people who have been impacted by the poor economy (including a friend who has been out of work for a year and a half), and I really wonder if things are going to improve.
I think it’s also because my background is in journalism, one of the hardest-hit industries over the last few years. It really doesn’t seem like things are going to get much better in this field (in terms of journalists’ pay, news organization revenue, etc.). Call me pessimistic, but I truly believe people are becoming less and less willing to pay for content. Either they won’t pay because they can find what they’re seeking elsewhere (for free), or the content isn’t that worth it to them. A lot of times the news people truly care about is related to their friends and family members. They can often get this information from the horse’s mouth, or from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Anyway, I’m not optimistic about the future of the news industry, but I’m also not optimistic about the future of other industries. The gap between the rich and poor seems to be increasing, while jobs are being sent abroad. I guess all we can do is try our best to get by and improve our skills (especially the ones we think will really matter in the future).
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