Quitting is not for the faint of heart. Neither is being downsized, packaged, or position eliminated. That said, it happens.
If and when it does, try to take one day at a time. Looking too far ahead can feel overwhelming no matter the circumstances. Here are 10 tips that will definitely help.
5 Things You Must Do Before You Quit
- Take a resume-worthy class — If you’re still on the payroll, you still have access to a l&d (learning and development) budget. Make the most of it. Pick a big-name conference, a big-deal university, or a big-time course. Why the emphasis on notability? It will enhance your resume and help you stand out, but even more importantly, it will improve your skills and your network.
- Reach out to solidify an internal connection — Before you break ties with your organization, consider who was on your list that you always meant to connect with, and make it happen. Schedule a coffee, a lunch, or an informational interview. Get to know them better and don’t be afraid to communicate a bigger version for yourself. Who knows where it may lead?
- Dip your toe in the water in another pool — It’s increasingly unlikely that you’ll remain in the same industry after you quit. That’s because you’ve probably maxed out its fit or want to try something new. So start exploring and experimenting before your last day. Send LinkedIn requests to people who have intriguing roles or careers. Subscribe to newsletters or insider guides to companies or brands that resonate. Start seeing what else is out there that you can get excited about.
- Shore up your savings — Quitting is an expensive proposition. Cushion the blow by stacking up your savings, negotiating a severance package, and considering how you might make money during the transitional phase. If you’re launching a new business, can you generate revenue immediately? If you’re taking time to rediscover yourself, how long can last without new income?
- Figure out benes — Life is also an expensive proposition, and benefits matter. Healthcare is a particularly large part of expenses, even if you’re healthy. If you were the primary breadwinner, you are also likely the primary source of health and insurance benefits. Consider your options; perhaps your partner can opt-in, you may be eligible for the ACA (Affordable Care Act), or it may be negotiable as you exit. Everyone thinks of salary and housing as the most essential financial considerations, but healthcare and insurance rank right up there.
5 Things You Must Do After You Quit
- Establish a fitness routine — This may seem low priority, but hear me out. There are going to be changes in your life and in your lifestyle, and in your energy, emotions, outlook, well-being, and more. You will weather it all the better if you feel strong, confident, and healthy. Beyond the benefits of being active and having the endorphins float around inside of you, who knows, maybe the confidence that comes with it will be the difference maker as you capitalize on new opportunities.
- Define your future — This is a biggie. Evaluate what you had, the good, bad, and ugly, then visualize your future in incredibly rich detail. Your last job wasn’t perfect, even if it was really good. You have unmet needs and an opportunity to tailor what’s next. Think about how you work best, your preferences, your values, what you bring to the table, where you need to shore up, what calls you, what you are drawn to, what you want your legacy to be, all of it. Be as crystal clear about your ideal as possible and don’t hold back.
- Look outside the obvious — Dare to be open. When you took your last job, you probably said yes to certain aspects of it, but didn’t know all there was to know, everything about the brand, leadership, or clients. You didn’t even know ultimately where it would lead. But look at you now, trying to control everything. As we mature, we inevitably realize we have a lot on the line, but we also know there are no guarantees. It’s a conundrum. So don’t search for the perfect role at the perfect company, or the perfect time to launch the perfect venture; outline a plan and go for it. Take steps toward your future. Let yourself evolve and trust yourself to make the most of it.
- Consult your family — Unless you are in the very early stages of career, there are likely others who are part of your equation and their happiness is as essential as yours. If that’s the case, build your vision together, and consider future decisions under the umbrella of does this move us closer to or further away from what we really want?
- Think beyond money — There are many many money issues tied up in this, but money isn’t the heart of career. Self-development is. Realizing your potential is. Collaborating and contributing is. Building something for the future is. Perhaps even changing the world is. Monetizing everything, your skills, your passions, your ideas, is too much. If you want to accumulate wealth, by all means, add that to the plan, but when crafting it, fill in the details of what you want to do, how you want to do it, why you’re the person to do it, and why it matters…then layer in money.