6 Questions to Ask Before You Quit Your Job


Your boss drives you crazy. You work long hours for not enough pay. And there's no promotion in sight. You're finally ready to quit your job and hunt for a position that pays better, is more interesting, and doesn't require that you live at your office.

Be careful. You might spend hours practicing your big "goodbye" speech, but before you take that step, make sure to ask yourself the right questions before you start packing up your cubicle. Depending on the answers, you might find that now isn't the best time to jump back into the job market. (See also: The 4 Jobs People Quit the Most)

1. Are You Establishing a Bad Pattern?

Companies don't want to hire job hoppers, a.k.a. employees who jump from job to job every other year. If leaving your current position might label you as a job hopper — you've already bailed on two jobs in the last three to four years, say — you might hurt your chances at landing a new position.

You might be ready to leave your current position behind. But if your resume is already filled with short stays at several companies, it might make more sense to tough it out for another year or so.

2. How Big Is Your Emergency Fund?

Yes, unemployment is down. But that doesn't mean that finding a new job is going to be easy. So how large of an emergency fund do you have, and how long can you survive without a new job before you'd have to start dipping into your retirement savings or abusing your credit cards?

If you don't have enough saved to cover your daily living expenses for at least six months, you might reconsider leaving your job. Instead, hold onto your current job and build up that emergency fund first. Then, when you have saved the money you need, you can start your search for a new job with confidence.

3. Do You Have Any Leads on a New Job?

It can be exhilarating to leave your old job and all its daily annoyances behind. But do you have any connections that can help you find your new job? Are you leaving your current position — and its regular paycheck — without any leads on a new job?

Doing so can be risky. There is still plenty of competition for the best jobs. If you're relying on online want ads only to help you find your new position, you might want to put your dramatic exit speech on hold. Take the time to work with your network of past coworkers and supervisors to make sure that you have at least a few leads on a new job before plunging into the market.

4. Have You Tried to Resolve the Problems at Your Current Job?

Looking for a new position is practically a full-time job itself. It's also a frustrating and, at times, exhausting one. So before you hit the market, have you taken any steps to resolve the problems you are facing at your current position?

Now, some problems can't be fixed. If you hate the work you do, there's no resolving that. But if you face conflicts with a superior, don't like your hours, or feel underappreciated, you might be able to fix these issues. And if you do, you won't have to put yourself through the stress of a job search.

Before leaving your cubicle behind, ask yourself if you've taken all the steps possible to resolve whatever current problems you are facing.

5. What Are Your Long-Term Career Goals?

It's easy to forget about your career dreams when you're immersed in the daily activities of meeting deadlines and crafting proposals. But before you jump into the jobs market, ask yourself if searching for a new job today will help you meet your long-term career goals.

You might find that going back to school while holding onto your current job is a better choice. Maybe taking on freelance work on the side — with your current employer's permission — will get you closer to landing your dream job. Maybe you'll have to jump to a lower-paying job to eventually reach your ultimate career goals.

Don't enter the job market without first considering your long-term goals and dreams. Yes, you might find a better-paying job with more manageable hours. But if you do so at the expense of your professional dreams, then your new position won't be an improvement at all.

6. Who Else Will Your Decision Affect?

Quitting your job could have a big financial impact on your spouse or children. Before making this move, ask yourself if this move will negatively affect them. Cutting down on restaurant meals and entertainment isn't the worst sacrifice that you can ask of your family. But don't expect your loved ones to shoulder more serious financial burdens — like the possibility of losing your home or car — because you won't be able to afford those payments if you don't find a new job quickly.

Quitting your job is easier when others don't depend on your income. Take a long look at how a long job search might hurt your loved ones. Don't leave your current job unless you have a solid plan for finding new work quickly.

What was your process before quitting your job? Share with us in the comments!

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