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What Will Happen If I Suddenly Quit My Job?

Updated on January 10, 2017
SMD2012 profile image

I'm a business communications coach who teaches writing, speaking, and leadership skills to adults in the midst of a career change.

Are stressed out and just about ready to quit your job? Hold on! Here's a checklist of steps to take before you decide to hand in your resignation.

You can't always predict what will happen if you quit your job.

No one, not even a fortuneteller, can predict what will happen if you quit your job.
No one, not even a fortuneteller, can predict what will happen if you quit your job.

No matter how stressful your job is right now, the decision to quit shouldn't be taken lightly. At the same time, you shouldn't let fear of finding another job hold you back from making a career move. Here are some things to think about before you decide to walk away from your current employer.

How do you know when to call it quits?

If you’ve been unhappy at your job for quite a while now, you may already be suffering from low-self esteem. You may be feeling anxious about your job security or your current or future financial situation. Both of these factors can cloud your thoughts and muddy your decision-making process. Knowing when to quit takes careful planning.

For the last few months, even years, unemployment numbers in some areas have been at record highs. If we include the number of people who identify as under-employed or who have simply stopped searching for work, the prospect of letting go of a regular paycheck when so many people are unemployed can be unnerving.

If you're considering quitting your job, you’re not alone. Here are some common reasons for throwing in the towel:

  • Low job satisfaction
  • Unfair pay
  • Dangerous or unhealthy working conditions
  • Family commitments that conflict with your work schedule
  • Abusive bosses or bullying co-workers
  • Lengthy commutes
  • The job no longer fits with your personal goals and aspirations
  • Health reasons
  • A better offer with higher pay has come up
  • Desire to start a new business or solo enterprise

Before you resign, think through your decision. Avoid making a drastic career move that you’ll regret later.

Healthy Workplace Dynamics
Unhealthy Workplace Dynamics
Co-operation between employees
Competition between employees
Transparency
Secrecy
Rampant gossiping
Open communication
Racism/ Sexism/ Bigotry
Respect for diversity
Recognition of staff contributions
Lack of appreciation
Commitment to safety
Dangerous workplace environment
What other aspects of an unhealthy workplace would compel you to quit your job?

We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.

— Stephen Covey
Be sure to prepare a detailed budget before you make any major career decisions.
Be sure to prepare a detailed budget before you make any major career decisions.

Consider the costs associated with quitting your job. Before handing in your resignation, ask yourself some realistic questions and make sure that you're completely honest in how you answer them. Painting an overly optimistic picture of your chances of finding a new job could bias your decision.

  • Realistically, how long do you think it will take to find another job?
  • Are you prepared to move to another city to find work? How much will it cost to relocate to another town, region or even country? Are you emotionally ready to relocate in pursuit of a new job?
  • How secure are your financial lifelines? Will you qualify for unemployment benefits if you voluntarily quit without just cause (i.e.; doctor advised medical leave)?
  • Are you entitled to any severance packages? Would you be disqualifying yourself from a generous severance package if you quit now rather than waiting until pending lay-offs are initiated by the company?
  • If you don't qualify for severance payments, disability benefits or unemployment insurance, how long do you think you could survive on your savings or other cash reserves?

Talk it out with a trusted friend. Try to avoid people who will get argumentative about your decision. The last thing you want to hear when you’re conflicted at work is, “If you really hate your job that much, why don’t you just quit?”

Deciding to quit is complicated and it requires a non-judgmental, objective and yet compassionate perspective. Seek the counsel of a trusted friend, career mentor or family member who can give you clear-headed feedback. Avoid talking to co-workers or colleagues. No matter how trustworthy they are, accidents do happen and people let things slip. You don't want your boss to find out from someone else that you're unhappy and thinking about handing in your resignation.

Know your emotional limits. Beyond the financial boundaries of when you think you'll be ready to quit your job, consider your emotional boundaries as well. If you want to quit because your boss is harassing you, where would you draw the line that if crossed it would make quit on the spot? What if you ask for a raise or promotion and get denied? Will you be able to live with the let-down? If money is not a concern for you, how long are you willing to wait for things to improve?

Ultimately your decision to step down from your job or stay put can have profound consequences on your emotional well-being, your finances and your career. Even if you aren’t sure whether or not now is the right time to resign, there are still things that you can do to improve your chances of finding a new job once you do decide to take the plunge and move on.

  • Test your skills and job-change readiness. Consult a career counselor. Hire a life coach. Take some online personality tests. Read books on changing careers.
  • Do some moonlighting. Take on a part-time job in a new career field -- even a volunteer position will do -- to gain experience and develop new contacts.
  • Head back to school. Take some continuing education courses to build your confidence, occupy your mind and tease out new interests and passions.
  • Become active on social networks. If you’re not active on various social media platforms now is a good time to start building your social network. Platforms such Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and personal blogs have revolutionized how people search for work. Don't get left behind!
  • Stay current. Update your resume and organize your work portfolio. Have fresh, clean copies of your CV available at all times.
  • Take care of your health. Activities such as yoga, art therapy, meditation, deep breathing and regular exercise are great for reducing work-related stress. If you think you need professional help, consult your doctor and/or your insurance provider to see what extended benefits and health services are available to help you reduce stress.
  • Remove barriers to finding a new job. Is your hairstyle up-to-date? Does your wardrobe look professional and polished? Is your car well maintained and clean inside and out? Neglecting your outward appearance can put up an unconscious barrier to finding a new job. You must be ready to make a great first impression at the drop of a hat. You never know when an opportunity will present itself and the last thing you want is to have to delay an interview because you're waiting for your dry-cleaning or your car is in the shop.

Whether you decide to stay put or jump ship, sometimes simply knowing that you have people who support your career goals can be encouraging. Mapping out an exit strategy is also an empowering act that will help you feel more in control of your career and less vulnerable to the whims of an overbearing supervisor.

Quitting your job can be scary, especially when you have a family that depends on you for financial support. Give yourself time to think through your decision to walk away from your job.
Quitting your job can be scary, especially when you have a family that depends on you for financial support. Give yourself time to think through your decision to walk away from your job.

Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.

— Sophocles

© 2012 Sally Hayes

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  • taccat profile image

    taccat 3 weeks ago

    I was informed a week ago that I would be placed in a dangerous situation though the powers that be did not think it dangerous. At this place of employment, one cannot object as that is insubordination. I am in school working on my master's degree, have family commitments, but my current position was stress-free so could manage. After a week of deliberations, I have made the decision to quit. I will loose valuable benefits, but it is better than getting battered by a 250-pound student who can throw file cabinets when they quickly escalate. I feel so stressed out about the situation that I cannot make it into work. I am glad that your list stated dangerous situations as it made my decision easier. Will miss the benefits but I have much to look forward to when I finish my education.

  • tamarawilhite profile image

    Tamara Wilhite 13 months ago from Fort Worth, Texas

    You're right that quitting should never be a quick decision. Even in the face of unacceptable demands, at least sleep on it. If you feel the same the next day, then you can start to plan instead of chucking the job in a moment of passion.

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Great hub an this topic and you said so well. Most important to keep in mind when in such situations

  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

    TIMETRAVELER2 3 years ago

    This was an excellent article...and timely, too. I wanted to quit my job many times over the years, but never did. Today I am glad I made that choice because it helped me a great deal financially in my older years. (I have a pension). This is a very serious decision and not one people should make lightly. Voted up.

  • wilderness profile image

    Dan Harmon 4 years ago from Boise, Idaho

    I've really only quit a job twice in my life. Once years ago when I simply lost all satisfaction with the work and wanted to move across the country. It was a scary thing to do as I had no prospects at all, and there were a few tough years, but it turned out well in the long run.

    The second time it was to retire, and I could not be happier. There are a lot of things that are far more important than earning a high salary.

  • tamarawilhite profile image

    Tamara Wilhite 4 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

    You shouldn't go back to school to tease out new passions. Read. Talk to people in different fields. Learn, then decide what you want to do before spending thousands of dollars for college or continuing education courses.

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

    Very interesting and helpful hub. I recently did leave my job due to many of the reasons you suggested. I planned it out well in advance and although people in my life have said they think I will realize I have made a mistake, I know in my heart it was the best move possible for me.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    As I read the hub I app.lied it to several other matters, Teams, Significant others, school and even a place of worship. Your good advice is easily translated to guide many situations, Thanks

  • sherrituck profile image

    Sherri Tuck 4 years ago from Virginia

    Great article on a question that I struggle with daily. I would love to resign from my corporate position. I have a part-time teaching job and would really love to teach more classes. I also enjoy devoting time to volunteer work. However, I just can't afford to drop a full-time position for a part-time position. In addition, I am concerned about benefits. You are correct in your assertion that this decision must be one that is considered carefully.

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