You know the moment is here when Sunday mornings are more about the dread of the approaching Monday than the joy of the day ahead; when you need to drag yourself out of bed every morning; when all you can talk about is your dream job that you don't have; when you constantly find yourself checking your watch for the end of the workday.
Most career advice articles will suggest that you decide to move on when you can no longer bear your workplace or when your job doesn't interest you or when there are no options for growth. While all this is good advice, you need to have a little more foresight. You need a practical plan that can help you not just leave but also arrive - at a place that offers better opportunities.
Consider these additional points of advice before you decide to put in your papers.
Quitting your job is not an event, but a process: Most people tend to view leaving a job as an incident - a moment in time that one may have tried to avoid, but that just became inevitable after a point. That may be one of the worst ways of quitting a job because it leaves you jobless at the end. While many of us work for motivation, job satisfaction and impact, there is a big underlying driver below it all - money! You need to ensure that your bank account doesn't get affected drastically by an abrupt exit. A better strategy, therefore, is to start planning weeks, if not months, in advance. During this time, you interview for other opportunities and secure one before you leave. Despite this, if you have not been able to land a job offer, you need to create a financial plan for yourself and your family. While most people are unlikely to run out of money anytime soon after quitting, you would be surprised how a few months of unemployment can empty your coffers and create financial stress that may lead you to accept a low-paying role later as an emergency measure.
Evaluate potential future opportunities - don't fall for an illusion: Advice on leaving your job without a plan is plentiful today. Some people opine that it helps you face uncertainty, makes you stronger and helps you discover new opportunities. We tend to disagree - a leap of faith of this kind can often make for a hard landing. Entrepreneurship and freelancing are today much more accepted, popular and successful career choices for professionals than they have ever been. As a result, you will often find many professionals quitting to do something of their own. However, what seems like a lucrative future career when you are some time away from beginning it, can sometimes become a daily struggle for earning once you start. A better strategy may be to first test the waters. Do a few freelancing projects and see how much you enjoy them and how much you can earn. If going down the entrepreneurial path, test your idea by establishing the company and running it part-time first. See if your venture freelance assignment will pay not just for itself, but also your EMIs and other expenses. Doing this may well be a humbling experience, but it can save you much more frustration later on.
Build networks for the future before you leave; don't burn bridges: Usually, the time after one has made the decision to leave and has not yet left is spent floating downwards. It is easy to fall into this trap. To arrive late and leave early. To miss team lunches and write emails casually. To finally let your boss know what you think of him/her. But, only amateurs behave this way. A professional will never do that. While it is okay to not burn the midnight oil, try to retain relationships. This is your time to network with your colleagues, because some of them may well be your future colleagues, your ticket to a job in a new company, or even a partner in your entrepreneurial venture. There would also be some negative relationships and it is best to let them be. Further, your networking need not be restricted to only your colleagues. Consultants, vendors and third-party executives working with you are valuable assets to have in your network because just like they help your company today, they could help your company tomorrow. In today's LinkedIn-enabled world, former colleagues have great value. They can endorse you, recommend you, connect you to their professional networks and even give you advice.
Another thing - as far as possible, don't be the 'hero' who has finally gathered the courage to quit, and who now advises colleagues on how to quit. As the price of your temporary stardom, you will hurt your personal brand.
Don't just quit your job, eliminate the conditions that caused you to leave: When you quit your job, you are not just leaving a role, you are leaving the conditions that caused you the discomfort in the first place. A bad boss, uncooperative colleagues, uninteresting work, low opportunities for growth and less-than-expected salaries are usually the causes, though there could be others. Simply changing your employer may not eliminate the cause. Within industries, many companies are similar. Have you verified whether your future company, even if it offers you a higher designation and a better salary, has a better work culture, the reason that made you leave in the first place? Big joining bonuses and fringe benefits are sometimes used to attract potential suitors for jobs that previous employees left quickly and abruptly. While getting the perfect job always is not possible, check for key factors that make you uncomfortable. Today, doing that is not hard, either online or offline.
Don't close the door on a final offer or opportunity back at your current employer: Are you a high-performer leaving because you were denied a key promotion or a raise? That is understandable, but before you put in your papers, speak to your employer about the possibility of a raise or promotion, and explain why you deserve it. You would be surprised at how many employers actually offer a better deal to a high-performer who is ready to leave. You need to have your backups in place before attempting this strategy, though. Don't do it the other way round. Why? Most companies won't make that kind of offer till they know you will leave and if you mention leaving before you have a backup, they will have the upper hand. Plus, your bosses and colleagues may suddenly become frosty and it will be harder to continue to work there after threatening to quit. It will also hamper getting another job. Plus, having an offer in hand might help you negotiate better.
Quitting a job is a hard decision, but through the right planning and strategy, you can make it easier on your current and future self.
Rishabh Gupta is a Partner at GyanOne Universal (www.gyanone.com), a premium career advisory and MBA admissions consulting firm.
Updated Date: Aug 29, 2019 13:13:15 IST