Career Advice

5 Key Considerations Before Resigning From Your Job

min read
Mikaela Thompson

How Can I Limit the Damage from Quitting My Job Before Securing a New One? 

Quitting a job is scary and is typically preceded by a lot of anxiety-ridden, ulcer-making internal debate, Should I? Or shouldn’t I? This is especially true if there’s no new job lined up. Most feel jittery about burning their bridges or feel disempowered by notions of it’s better the devil you know. Added to this, are practical concerns, such as, how we’d fare financially if finding a new job takes a while and how to quit a job without raising doubts about yourself as a future employee. Combined, these factors make resigning from a job a major headache. However, life is not always tidy and there are times when resigning from your job is the best option for your mental health or career. So how can you prepare to quit and limit the fallout, without already having employment to go to? 

5 Key considerations before tendering your resignation

1) Are you prepared to act?

It’s one thing to make a decision to leave but another to act on it. If you’re faltering, think about the following: How miserable are you working in a job you hate? Is this unhappiness seeping into your personal life? Data shows that you’ll spend 4,805 days working but only 368 days socializing. Research also shows that stressful jobs take a toll on your body leading to long-term health issues. Besides poor health, you will stunt your professional growth and fall short of your full potential. However, only you can decide what action you’re prepared to take.

2) Do you have the savings to live on, without an income while job searching?

If the circumstances of your impending resignation allow E.g., you’re not having to quit without notice, and the timing is in your control, then prepare yourself financially for the months, typically around 3-6, you will take to find a new job. Your bills won’t stop because you’ve quit, so having savings to cover these is important. Keep in mind, if you leave without notice, you’re likely to also incur penalties. Check your contract to find out what you’ll be financially liable for before resigning.

3) Do you have a pattern of quitting jobs?

Voluntarily quitting one permanent job probably won’t be a red flag to a prospective employer. On the other hand, a smattering of these through your resume, would be a serious concern. To limit the impact, it’s best to address the situation with an interviewer/recruiter by offering reasons for quitting your last job. Put a positive spin on it by explaining what you’ve learnt from this experience and how it will make you a better employee for them E.g., it’s clarified what you want from a job and future employer. Then relate this to why the current position is the right fit and you’re an ideal candidate for them.

4) How can you keep your professional reputation intact?

Be mindful of the ramifications of resigning unexpectedly to keep your reputation intact within the industry. Once a reputation is lost, it’s very hard to restore. To avoid being blacklisted and blocked from future jobs in the industry, be professional in the manner in which you resign E.g., do it in person with your boss and present a well-written, typed resignation letter. You don’t necessarily have to give reasons, but it would be a good idea to assure your boss that you wish no ill-will to the company and hope for a smooth transition. Ask him how s/he’d like your colleagues to be informed, especially since they’re likely to have to absorb your workload until a replacement is hired. Don’t ‘check out’ mentally once your resignation has been accepted or during the notice period. Your professionalism is your reputation; don’t undermine it. Perform at 100% until your notice period expires. This will help you retain your standing within your business community. 

If you’re wanting your resignation to be effective immediately, such as, when there’s been a serious breach of professional trust, try to keep a professional, courteous tone when delivering your letter and have a support person with you. Leave it at that and don’t be drawn into a slanging match, especially if legal action is on the cards – checking Labour Laws could clarify this move for you. 

5) Do you have an exit plan?

It’s not a waste of time to dedicate your energy to transitioning out of a job you loathe. In fact, it’s a wise investment in your future. Before quitting, ask yourself these questions: How long can you cover expenses? If you quit today, what will you do in the next 3-6 months? What type of job do you want to transition to? How have you invested in yourself during this time and how will you continue to do so while unemployed? Your answers will help you to be more productive once you leave your job and to find a job that’s right for you.

Recommendations for You

Keeping up Employee Recognition while working from home
Surprising Foods Contributing to Your Afternoon Slump
Ticking off career goals: How Ivy Chan has made her career transition at PALO IT