suddenly unemployed: do’s and don’ts about quitting your job

“so no one told you life was gonna be this way,

your job is a joke, you’re broke,

your love life is DOA”

I’m about ninety percent sure you sang that instead of just reading it. I certainly know there is no way in hell I would ever read those lines without even doing the Friends clap. Perhaps these iconic lyrics speak to me because of how real they are. The people around me can attest to the fact that I’m constantly broke, that my love life is a bust, and judging by my constant complaining, my job situation is not ideal. So what do you do when your job is slowly killing you from the inside?

You quit.

It sounds easy enough, right? Well, I understand it’s not. And I can definitely see how this approach might come off as irresponsible and/or slightly millennial in nature but I firmly believe that no job is worth constant emotional distress and negativity.

Throughout my employed life, I’ve quit on three different jobs. The reasons for quitting have been different, ranging from crappy management, to non-existent growth opportunities, to grueling and unrealistic job expectations, to just being plain unhappy with job conditions. Most adults have considered quitting a job before, maybe you are currently considering it. So hopefully my inability to successfully maintain a job might help you in the form of this do’s and don’ts list.

DO: MAKE A RATIONAL DECISION

If you’re considering quitting your job, chances are you have been thinking it over for a while. It wasn’t just the fact that they made you work yet another weekend or that you work with a Larry (Larrys are the worst!), it has probably been a series of unfortunate events that have lead you to this option. Well, your first step would be to determine whether you really want to quit, or if the issues could be resolved. If the issues seem minimal, you probably can talk to your supervisor or HR manager and work something out. If you still debating, make a pros and cons list. These lists help you make a rational decision as they allow you to clearly see both sides of the story.

DON’T: ACT ABRUPTLY

Sure, it would feel amazing to just quit after they have pulled yet another fast one on you. “Juan, I know I promised you tomorrow off but I’m actually going to need you to come and pull a double.” – Linda the manager said with her asymmetrical haircut. “But, I can’t tomorrow! I had already asked for the day off!”- I said as my voice broke for dramatic effect. “Well, sorry, we need you, if you don’t like the hours you can always look for another job”- Linda’s bangs concluded. “Well, you know what Linda? Go fuck yourself! I quit! Y’ALL SUCK! I NEVER LIKED ANY OF YOU!”- Juan yelled while being escorted out. * END SCENE *

Yes, that would feel glorious, but it would also be incredibly unprofessional and irrational.

DO: PLAN AHEAD

When you finally decided to quit, it is really important to plan ahead. If you’ve been hating life for three years, what’s a couple of months more going to do? Set a specific date as your last day, adjust your expenses to be able to save some money for your unemployed time, and when the time is right, communicate your decision to management. Give your standard two-week notice in advance and start job hunting at that point.

DON’T: LEAVE ON BAD TERMS

Quitting on the spot with no notification in advance is a no-no. As an employee, you should consider the fact that your sudden termination, will not only affect you, but everyone at your job. You must at least like one person, right? Let’s take Cruz for example, he is funny, he always lets you vent about Larry, and he can cover your shifts when needed. The day you quit they made him stay for an extra six hours, so he missed the new episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Now, he needs to watch it the next day like a homeless person, is that what you want? Don’t leave on bad terms!

DO: TAKE YOUR TIME

When you are in the job-hunting stage, it is important to consider a few things. Don’t just apply to similar jobs than the one you just quit expecting completely different results. Make a list of interests and seek employment opportunities in all of those fields. Also, don’t just take the first job they offer you out of desperation. Remember, this is going to be at least 40 hours of your week for a while, so it’s not irrational to take time to consider your options.

DON’T: EXPECT QUICK RE-EMPLOYMENT

One of the most frustrating things as an unemployed applicant is the waiting period. It is crucial to be mentally-prepared to be patient. Sure, some people find jobs within days from quitting, but others are not so lucky. So just keep applying and finding other methods like actually incurring on-site, rather than online, or networking. Remember that some jobs are worth waiting for.

This is not meant to be a PSA for quitting your job. Part of being a responsible adult is having a reliable job. But since you’re going to be spending a significant part of your everyday life at your job, it is important to feel happy and satisfied. Life is too short to be miserable. I am currently employed by an organization that might pay me less than my last one, but it is a job that truly challenges me and allows me to feel fulfilled and like I’m making a difference. So hopefully this piece helps you with your decision, and remember, having a co-worker named Larry, is already a red flag.

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