Quitting your job without having something new lined up already is absolutely terrifying. I am a person that needs to always have a plan. If I go on vacation I start packing weeks before, I love my lists and I am not a big fan of uncertainty. Leaving a safe job without an idea what might be next gives me huge anxiety. Yet, I did it.
I knew I wanted to leave, which also meant moving countries and I knew that I wanted to do something different. I wanted to leave my job for different reasons, both personally and professionally and I knew I could not wait it out or just wait until I had something new so I decided to jump into cold waters and quit without knowing what was next.
Do I recommend doing that? It depends and let me elaborate.
I could only quit and go back to uncertainty because I knew I would be safe. I have savings, I am able to live with family, so I don’t have to spend money on rent for now and I have a big support network. While quitting was terrifying, I never felt like I had to worry about simply existing and surviving. If you really want to do something new and have the means to quit and focus your time on whatever it is, I will say go for it.
Don’t waste any valuable time on something that does not fulfill you or bring you joy. Sometimes, job environments can also become toxic, and leaving might become the only viable option. In those instances, always leave if you can. Don’t stay somewhere where you are not valued. While this was not necessarily the case for me, I did sometimes feel like I was not doing what I could and should be doing.
While I was anxious to quit, and the weeks after leaving my job sometimes made me sick to my stomach because I worry about everything all the time and overthink a lot, it nonetheless was the right decision for me. As said, not everyone has the luxury of doing that which I totally understand.
If you cannot do it, that is totally fine and you can find your dream job while working somewhere else. It might be hard and not what you want, but it is more important to be able to live. There is no need to stick with something that does not make you happy forever, but it might have to be a means to an end that is totally acceptable. But, if you do have the flexibility to spend a few weeks or even months without a job that is not right for you while you find the right fit, I would recommend doing it. Life is way too short to not do what you want.
How to prepare to exit from your job without anything lined up?
1. Have savings.
Always make sure that you prepare financially for a career break to ensure you focus on the next steps and not on the basic needs of your life.
2. Share your situation with your support group.
Tell friends, family, or mentors about the plan to leave without a job lined up and ask for their moral support. Having someone to call from time to time is important for your mental well-being.
3. Network early.
If you plan to depart a job it's important to start conversations that could potentially bring you a new opportunity down the line. Do not waste the opportunity to scout and plant some seeds for later conversations about your career plan. It might just be the way you'll get a new offer.
4. Enjoy the break.
Often times when we are on a career break and nothing else is sure about the next step, we tend to overthink and not fully relax. If you follow the first 3 steps there is no reason why you should not enjoy taking a break and relaxing your mind, getting into a slower routine, and getting some inspiration from other new sources. There is power in stillness.
All the best from the Femme Lead team,