Is This the Right Time to Quit Your Job?

It might be. But there’s a right way to go about it.

Do you dream of quitting your job?

The idea of quitting during a time of relatively high unemployment might seem counterintuitive, but if you’re so unhappy in your current position that it’s negatively affecting other areas of your life, this may be the time to turn in your notice. An unhealthy work environment can lead to depression, stress and physical symptoms such as insomnia, headaches and stomach disorders.

How do you know when it’s time to move on? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you dread going to work?
  • Do you lack motivation?
  • Do you daydream about the day you work up the courage to quit or think it wouldn’t be that bad if you were fired?
  • Is work making you physically ill?
  • Are you in a dead-end job with little or no prospect of advancement?

If your answer to any of these is yes, it’s likely time to consider resigning, but think before you act. There’s a way to go about it that can ease the financial burden and improve your chances of landing another position. Follow these steps:

Look for a job while you still have one. Many employers prefer to hire people who are already employed.

The longer you’re unemployed, the harder your search may become. So update your resume, cover letter and profile on LinkedIn. Begin networking. And don’t search for a job while you’re physically in your current workplace; that can get you fired, and bad references can’t help you.

Conserve your cash. We always advise our clients to maintain 12-24 months of spending as an emergency fund for unexpected expenses, and if you’re planning to change jobs you are certain to face the unexpected. So until you’re well settled in your new job (meaning, three months after you’ve started), increase your reserves. If needed, eliminate for a while all nonessential spending. Depending on how many months’ expenses you’ve saved, you should perhaps delay your departure for a while.

Talk to your financial advisor. We can help you think about and prepare for issues you might have overlooked. These include noncompete/nonsolicit contracts, severance packages and healthcare insurance.

Don’t burn bridges. Prepare yourself and your family emotionally. Don’t allow yourself to get angry or cite grievances to your supervisor when you give notice. Leave your job respectfully and politely, for the favorable impression you make when you leave can help you in the future.

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