Have you considered quitting your job at least once in the past month? Maybe you have a little inkling that your current line of work isn’t quite right? Well, it might be time to learn how to quit your job.
If you have read my recent post on the 17 Reasons to Leave a Job you Hate you might finally be serious. Staying at a job you hate can have serious and life threatening consequences.
Since we spend an average of 23.3% of our lives at work, don’t you think we should get this right? Do we really want to spend a 1/4 of our lives in abject misery?
I am in unique position to share my expertise on this subject because I just recently quit my job. In fact, since my wife and I worked and lived together at a retirement community it meant we had to quit our jobs AND find a new place to live all in one go.
I shared more about this transition and what brought it about in my August 2017 update, but suffice it to say that it took a lot of planning and work to get the timing worked out. Dropping income to practically nothing AND having to find a new place to live are not easy things to do simultaneously.
Your situation will be unique and you will face challenges that I didn’t, but I believe it is possible for you to leave a job you hate, granted you take the appropriate steps to do so.
How to Quit Your Job: The Complete Guide
Family Comes First
Reality will win every time. We can try to circumnavigate it, but we must always come to grips with reality before we can make any grand decisions.
Before you even consider leaving your job, ask yourself, is this a good decision for my family? Will my spouse be okay with this? Will my kids be okay?
Then, call a family meeting and get everyone on the same page. Help them understand how you are feeling and what your job is doing to you.
Surely, you can do anything for another 3 or 4 months, but you also need to consider that you are part of the family. If you hate your job and it stresses you out, you are not doing much good for your family.
If you stay at your current job just to pay the bills your happiness levels will drop and you won’t be doing any good for your family.
Most people feel stuck at this point because they recognize that their family is of the utmost importance, but they also don’t love their jobs. How do we face reality, but also find the interplay between that and our passions?
What is the middle ground between being able to provide for your family, but also being able to come home to them every day with a smile on your face?
I know this is a pretty heavy question that carries a lot of baggage for a lot of people. However, I believe that no matter what your situation entails you are never stuck there. There is ALWAYS a path to a bigger and brighter future you just have to be willing to walk it.
It won’t be easy, but no road worth walking is easy.
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It is very important to convince yourself right now that you are worth it. You are extremely valuable to society and there is no reason to settle at your current level.
If you feel uneasy keep reading, because you probably need to learn how to quit your job.
If your job doesn’t fulfill you and it isn’t giving back to others in any real meaningful way, you need to consider your options. This is going to mean something different for everybody. If you are satisfied at your job as a trash collector, then more power to you! But this isn’t for everyone.
Some of us were meant for bigger and greater things, and it is our duty to society and ourselves to reach our potential. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and watch Good Will Hunting (A movie staring Matt Damon and Robin Williams) and tell me what you think then.
If you can go to work everyday with a smile on your face and do it to the best of your ability and come home feeling truly fulfilled and that you made a difference in someone else’s life, then great! If your work doesn’t bring you this level of satisfaction, don’t believe the lie you tell yourself that you are doing the job for someone else, or to support someone else.
I realize I am in murky ground here, but so often in my own past I relegated myself to having to do life a certain way. I had to go to work, even if I didn’t love it, and that was that. Thoughts of “destiny and “potential” were but mere thoughts.
Once I finally opened my eyes to other possibilities (That I could have a job I didn’t hate or that didn’t challenge me), I felt like a new person. I honestly wondered how I could have missed this for 25 years of my life?
I missed it because I was settling for life as I had always seen it. Unbeknownst to be I was on a path to become weighed down with the burden of not living out my passion.
And a quick note here, this post doesn’t end with me trying to sell you on living the entrepreneurial lifestyle with some magical (and high cost) program. No. I don’t believe that becoming an entrepreneur is for everyone, but I VERY strongly believe that there is no reason to sell yourself short and to feel like you HAVE to do your current job forever.
Once again though it is important to make a distinction here. We all must face the consequences of our past actions and decisions (good or bad) and we have to face reality. If you have student loans (*raises hand) and a mortgage on your house, make sure you get the budget right first before up and quitting with no plan.
Make a Plan
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin
This is the big part of the process of figuring out how to quit your job. You cannot do it without a plan. As our friend Ben said above, if we fail to plan we will most assuredly fail in our goals.
The first step is to bring your spouse or family in on the plan. (If you don’t have kids or a spouse then consider bringing in a friend or mentor to help you with the process and to make sure you are making the best decision for you.)
Make sure that they understand you are considering leaving your job. It was impossible for my wife and I not to be on the same page with the decision to leave since we both held the same position and could not do the job without the other. We were forced into working together in that case, but I would recommend that you make the plan with your family highly involved from the beginning.
Secondly, be honest with them that you want to leave your job and find something new. Most people will find their significant other will support them 100% in their desire to be happy, as long as you approach it in the right way.
Make sure to slowly warm them up to the idea of quitting instead of saying “well honey, I got a surprise for you! I am quitting my job tomorrow to become a paddleboard tour guide! Isn’t that great!?”
Please don’t surprise them, it won’t do anyone any good.
What you need to do is bring them on board early, but also be willing to listen to their advice. If they really think you should try it for a few more months be willing to hear what they have to say.
Back in April of 2017 my wife and I had a long conversation about how much longer we could do this our job. We decided that we would work in the community until the end of 2017.
One week later we came back and decided that nope! We would have to bump up the timeline and leave earlier than that. We decided on August 2017 and it stuck.
We then got busy forming a plan to answer the all important questions which we will go over in this post shortly. We even dubbed May “Make a Plan May” because we are weird and enjoy naming months after what we are doing with our lives at the time. *September 2017 was Get in the Groove September 🙂
Let me tell you, being free from our jobs was the best feeling I have ever had. It was as if this weight was off my shoulders and I was able to truly live again, without time slipping by at a breakneck speed.
We loved our residents and staff, but to say that we are happy that we left would be a huge understatement. We were ecstatic. It was like breathing the free air after months locked in a dungeon (over dramatic yes, but true nonetheless).
Consider the following questions that will help you formulate your own plan of escape.
Will you get a new job before you leave?
Most people will want to or will have to get a job before they leave their current one. However, make sure this is completely necessary. Having an extended time off work can be amazing for your mental health, AND you don’t want to get your next job and run into the same thing you are facing now. What career is right for you?
The last thing you want is to have to repeat this cycle all over again in a few short months.
How much money do you need to save now to be comfortable when you do make the switch?
This will determine how long you need to stay at your current job in order to save up enough to leave. For us, it took us about 3 months of saving every last bit of money in order to hit our goal.
Our goal was to be financially stable for 3 full months at worst case scenario (meaning $0 income from either of us).
It depends on what you feel most comfortable with.
Adding up the time to save, and whether or not you need a job right away, ask yourself if you can do the job for the long haul?
If you definitely cannot then you need to change the plan. Be honest with yourself and pick what makes the most sense.
If you can handle your job for 6 months, you might be in a better position with more savings, and more time to find a job. But if you definitely cannot handle it for that long of a period, then you either have to be willing to leave the job with less money saved, or work harder on your off days to either find a job or build a business.
Making a Solid Plan
The power of making a plan is that it is moldable over time, but it also helps you see a clearer picture. If you can hang on until point in time X you can definitely make it work. If things start to get rough and you need to adjust the plan you can, but be sure to change the other variables.
We cannot predict everything that is going to happen to us in life, but it we make a solid plan to pave a way for a better future for ourselves we will be happier and will be able to give back to society in a greater and more meaningful way.
Get your family on board, make a plan by asking these questions, and be flexible if life happens (because it will).
The Right Way to Leave
We all might dream of quitting our jobs in a way that stories will be told about us for years to come. Every time family and friends gather they will ask to hear the story of how you quit just “one more time please!.”
For fans of “The Office” we might wish we could pull a Michael Scott by shaking our boss’s hand and saying “You have no idea how high I can fly” and then proceeding to walk out of the room without another word.
We might think about doing this, but in reality most of us won’t. However, we still need to be very careful about the way in which we leave because it is not only the right thing to do, it makes us look professional. You also never know who might know who, and word might spread if you leave poorly.
You are probably familiar with the phrase “don’t burn your bridges” but what does this actually mean and how do you do it? How do you learn how to quit your job the right way? By making sure to do the following things:
- Give Notice- Make sure you give at least two weeks notice. This not only helps your employer out, it makes you look professional.
- But Not Too Much Notice– I am in the camp that you need not give your employer any more notice than two weeks. Even if you know month’s in advance that you are leaving (like we did) it isn’t a good idea. Two months can be too long to hang on with everyone knowing that you are leaving, and can make it unnecessarily hard on you. If your industry specific needs differ then so be it.
- Never Walk Out- It is never a good idea to quit your job by walking out. We had several employees do this to us, and even crazier still, one of them came back and asked for their job back… Umm Hello!? No way pal.
- Work Hard Until The Last Day- This one can be really hard, but do the right thing by doing your job until the very end. This will ensure that if you ever needed to go back (hopefully not, but you never know) they would welcome you with open arms.
There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. You might even find, as we did, that your supervisor is willing to talk to any future employee and provide a stellar reference for you.
I would recommend pausing to consider your options before it comes to the point where you can’t stand your job anymore and you end up just walking out. You won’t be doing anyone any good if it comes to this.
Don’t Set Yourself Up for Failure
A very important thing to remember is to not jump into the next job or adventure just because you NEED something. The grass is often not greener on the other side.
If you go through the trouble of leaving your job you want to make sure you are heading into something you will both enjoy and has potential to be even better in the future. You don’t want to leave one job you hate just to find a job that you hate less.
The reality is that you might feel pressed to leave quickly because of the stress levels of your job, the pressure, etc. However, it may be more beneficial for you in the long run to stay at your current job a little bit longer in order to figure out what you want to do.
If you know what you want, then by all means make a plan and then jump! Don’t hold back. I just think it is important to avoid repeating the same mistakes if possible because we can often find ourselves getting stuck once again.
Figure out what your passion is and what makes you happy. Then discover the interplay between that and reality. How can you turn your passion into a real way to make money?
If you are passionate about your work and love what you do, your job won’t feel like a job. The sad thing is that most people will not find this. Be the exception.
Let’s Talk Money
Money is the #1 excuse people give for settling and for not pursing their dreams. What do I say? Baloney.
However, you have to start by asking yourself a very important question: Am I willing to reduce my lifestyle in order to leave my job? if not, then consider your decision to leave because you will have to sacrifice somewhere.
Don’t make money your excuse. Yah you might have student loan debt (that’s me!) and you might have people that depend on you for their well-being, but no situation is too impossible that a solid plan can’t fix it.
Start by taking a good hard look at your finances. Never made a budget before? Well, take this time to start. Take charge of your money and tell it where to go.
Once you start to see where your money is going, you can figure out where to cut back and hopefully make enough wiggle room to save more money thus enabling you to quit your job sooner.
Ever since we embarked on our new adventure Miranda and I have been fervently trying to cut down on food costs. We love going out to eat (especially breakfast!) but we have had to cut down on the amount of times we eat out due to our decision to leave our jobs.
We view this as a consequence of our decision to leave and we are okay with it. What consequences are you willing to endure to leave your job?
Money can’t, and shouldn’t, be the reason that you are staying at your job. There is no job with 100% security so don’t be lured into a job because society deems it as “safe.” I like to think differently because I believe that the only truly “safe” option is build your own personal brand.
Don’t play it safe, and don’t make money an excuse. Make a plan you are comfortable with, budget appropriately, and be willing to make sacrifices if necessary.
Bonus Tip: Meet Weekly
Miranda and I recently spoke about weekly meetings in one of our Podcast Episodes, so I won’t go into that too far here on this post.
I will say though that once you make this decision to leave, it would be a good idea to have regular “check-in” meetings with your family. Let them know how you are doing and if you can still last at your job until the appointed time.
These meetings will serve as an appointed time for discussion of the plan and everyone’s feelings on it. This is an important step not to miss, even though it can seem very formulaic.
We are currently meeting every week to discuss budget, goals, and our state of minds. It is a great exercise for setting goals, but it also feels great to accomplish goals every week.
Leaving a job isn’t easy, especially when you are on a tight budget or just have no idea what you want to do with your life. Believe me, I have been there.
Find your passion by reading non-fiction books, volunteering, and not being afraid to try something new. Get yourself out there and soon you will be discovering then reaching your ultimate potential.
Work through the money issues by taking the time to find something you love and then figure out how to make money with it. Easier said than done, but it is possible for anyone that is willing to put the work in.
Hopefully this was a helpful post on how to quit your job. I hope you learned that it is indeed possible for anyone that has the fortitude think laterally and plan ahead. You are never stuck in your current predicament, no matter the odds.
Good luck as you go forth. Please touch base with me when you do, and I would LOVE to hear your story. Leave a comment here or email me at [email protected]
Thanks for reading!