Debating On Quitting Your Job For The New Year? Ask Yourself These Questions First
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As the new year slowly approaches us, it’s natural to reflect on the past year and look forward to a new beginning. We all know the daunting saying by now, “new year, new me.” As much as we’ve all rolled our eyes when someone says this, I think we all can agree a new year is a chance at a fresh start. A new year is our opportunity for a “redo,” a chance to prove that we can take charge of our lives and live to our highest purpose. 

Living as our highest selves sounds great in theory but may require taking some risks. This may require taking a leap of faith, which looks different for everyone. For some, taking a leap may look like moving, and for others, it’s going against the grain and quitting their job. 

About two years ago, I quit my job in the service industry to pursue journalism full-time. My decision was a bit impulsive, and I was more than unprepared. Making a drastic move encouraged by the new year was the driving force to many setbacks and second-guessing if I made the right move. Thankfully, through consistency, faith, and hard work, I am writing for one of my dream publications — ESSENCE. 

Making a drastic career move can feel scary and a bit impulsive. However, the dream can happen; it can work. Learn from my mistakes and ask yourself these questions before quitting your job first. 

Have you saved up enough to quit your job?

Fun fact, I had about $2,000 when I quit my job and moved to New York City. At the time, I thought I had more than enough to survive. But I was wrong — dead wrong. New York City showed no mercy in driving my savings to the ground. I went from feeling confident in my savings account to doing Postmates and eating lots of homemade grilled cheese sandwiches. Going for the dream is fun, but being broke in a ruthless city is scary. My views on what a “good savings” is and grilled-cheese sandwiches are now very different. 

According to Forbes, it is advised for you to have anywhere between 6-12 months in savings before quitting your job. I would recommend having 12 months of savings instead of 6 months. Half a year can go by in a blink of an eye, and sometimes we spend on things we couldn’t foresee coming. Consider saving for emergencies, networking lunches, along with your monthly expenses. 

What can you gain?

When I was going through my phase of debating if I should quit or not, I wondered what I would gain? At the time, I had so much anxiety and fear. It was easy to come up with a million reasons I should stay comfortable in my situation even if I felt uncomfortable inside. Going over what I could gain from “taking the big leap” is what ultimately pushed me to jump. 

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Leaning into what can be gained from leaving your job will look different for everyone. For me, the most significant gain during that period was knowing that I tried. Sometimes what you gain doesn’t have to be materialistic; it doesn’t always look like earning more money, starting that business, or landing a corner office. What you gain can be something no one can ever take away from you – even if it’s the faith you have in yourself. 

What can you lose?

Lucky for me, I didn’t have to set too much time to think of what I could lose; my anxiety took care of that for me. Going over what you could lose by quitting your job can help prepare you emotionally. The most obvious can be losing a consistent form of income, and that’s okay. When you know precisely what you might lose from the situation, like money, you can develop a possible solution ahead of time. For example, saving more money, starting a side hustle, or taking up a part-time job. 

What do you want to do?

You could quit your job, sit on your couch, and watch Netflix, but I can assure you it won’t benefit you over time. Before taking the leap and quitting your job, it’s best to ask yourself what you want to do? Try writing down a list of things you would like to try or achieve within your time of unemployment. Start by having fun with your list; the sky’s the limit. Your list can include traveling, chasing that dream, healing, learning a new language, and adapting to a new culture. Finally, narrow your list down and come up with a realistic plan to achieve them. 

Having a game plan can help you feel more excited and confident about the future when quitting your job. Creating a healthy game plan can also give you a sense of purpose and create structure in your day. Having a 9-5 gives us a daily system in our lives, and when that is gone, it can create a shock – making us feel lost. However, creating a game plan and acting on it can help us feel fulfillment when chasing what we truly want out of life. 

What is your driving force? 

What is your driving force when you’re going for what you want in life, and things hit the fan? What is going to be your north star when you want to give up? My driving force when times were hard was my ex-general manager at my old job. When I finally put in my two weeks, my general manager asked me if I was quitting after four and a half years. I naively confirmed to him that I was indeed leaving the company and moving to NYC to pursue my dreams. He then replied, “you’ll be back, they always come back.” And that was all I needed. 

Anytime I wanted to give up, I thought about what my general manager said. I wanted so badly to prove him wrong and thank goodness I have. Maybe your driving force isn’t your boss, either way, have something in mind that will push you. Make sure your driving force is something that is a hard boundary, a non-negotiable, and the thought of it happening almost frightens you. I know this is harsh advice, but trust me knowing where you don’t want to end up will lead you to exactly where you want to be.