Once you are in a stable position within a company, pay raises can sometimes be slow and usually involve a set amount per year. But if you are quitting for a new employer, you can negotiate a new rate before being hired. This can involve a higher raise than the annual raise from your former employer, and might also involve a hiring bonus or stock options with the new company. Right now, the US economy is doing well, unemployment rates are low, and looking at other employment opportunities suits the current job market well. However, quitting a job is not a decision that should be made without a little forethought and planning.
Before leaving your current employer, here are a few things to consider and do before giving that two weeks’ notice.
Why Do You Want to Leave?
The first question you should always ask yourself before quitting a job is, why do you want to leave? Do you want to sleep in a bit later each day, or are you truly unhappy? Before resigning a job you need to clearly understand why you are doing it. Usually, wanting to leave cannot be traced to a single reason, such as the start time. It might also be a jerk of a boss, a mediocre salary, or lack of career growth. It can also be personal reasons such as wanting to spend more time with family members. The reason you should have an idea of this is perhaps the reason you are leaving can be solved without the need to change jobs. For example, can you rearrange your schedule to spend more time with your family? Can you change teams or roles within the company to get a different manager or do work that has more meaning, or fulfillment, to you? Look at what it is making you unhappy about the current role you have with your employer and see if it is something that can be rectified without the hassle of job hunting.
Another aspect of knowing why you’re leaving is figuring out what you will be doing next. If you leave an employer and do what most people do, which is find a similar job with another company, how is that solving the problem from the first place? If talking to customers all day makes the previous position intolerable, would it not make sense that doing that same thing at a second company would have the same results in your attitude?
A task you can complete before deciding to leave is creating a simple pros and cons list and see if any of those reasons to leave can be solved at your current job. Also, look to peers or friends and talk it through with them. Most friends will respond with encouragement to do what makes you happy, and work peers might not want you to leave because they will have to take on extra workload while finding your replacement, but having a sounding board can sometimes help you work through the reasons. Be wary of who you talk to at your work. If it gets around that you are unhappy there it could impact the work environment before you make the decision.
If you have a good working relationship with your boss, go talk to them. Sometimes if you explain why you are unhappy, they can offer ways to improve the situation. For example, maybe your workload is getting repetitive so they can look at ways to change it up to get you excited about the job again.
Can You Afford to Quit?
First things first. Check your bank account and make sure you can afford a few months without an income. You might think it is easy to find a new job, but sometimes it can take weeks or even months to find a new place of employment. And unemployment insurance doesn’t cover a person who quits. Rent, mortgage, car payments, and food all cost money. So, do a quick web search for a monthly income and expense worksheet to be sure you can afford to leave your position if you don’t already have another one lined up.
Do you have a spouse or partner who is willing to take up the financial slack while you are out of work? This can be nice to have but can also put a strain on the relationship.
Ask yourself: do you need to leave before you have a new job lined up, or can you job hunt while also being employed at your previous job? It might be difficult to sneak off for an interview if you don’t want anyone to know you are job hunting, but it also means that you don’t have to stress about the lack of income. When doing this, something to keep in mind is it is customary to give a few weeks’ notice at your old employer. When signing a contract for a new job, companies will usually ask your start date to give you the time to finish up your work with the previous one. Yes, you could just up and walk out, but sometimes burning those bridges will come back to haunt you.
Once you have made the decision to leave, it is time to make that happen. Don’t just line up a new job and stop showing up at the old one. The place you work might deserve that type of behavior, but your coworkers don’t necessarily deserve it. Think about the people who will have to pick up the slack for you if you stop showing up to one work one day. Also, you don’t know what will happen in the future. The new job might not work out and you will want to come back. Or you might need references at some point in the future, and walking out won’t result in the best recommendation from your old manager. Another thing that happens, especially if working in the same industry, you and someone you used to work with might end up in the same place. This is something I have personally experienced, so it was helpful that I left my previous employer on good terms so that when one of my new coworkers turned out to be an old colleague, we could reminisce on the previous employer and had a good working relationship, with one another, already established.
Take into consideration that in today’s world it is easy for employers to look you up on sites like LinkedIn and reach out to your former employer before offering you a job.
When leaving, go talk to your boss and simply say, ‘I have decided to leave here and want to give you my two-week notice.’ Do it in person if possible, as this will allow them the opportunity to talk to you about why you are leaving. Perhaps your employer will take the time to ask you why, and if they want you to stay, they might give you a counteroffer to keep you. After this conversation, they will want a written notice, so go back and write that up if you don’t have it with you already. I want to stress the value of this in an era of “ghosting”, but be sure to give notice.
During your last few weeks, it can be easy to develop short-timers syndrome. But don’t be a jerk and slack off too much. If you do, those who work with you will get annoyed at having to pick up the workload. Also, think about those who will come after you. Do you work in a role that involves different processes or people you interact with? Write something up and leave it for your replacement to make their job easier at starting. Your boss might ask you to do this anyway, but even if not, it is a nice thing to do.
Finally. Enjoy your new job. The best thing about leaving one role for another is the excitement that goes along with doing something new, meeting new people, and having new experiences.