6 Critical Things You Need to Know Before You Quit, According to a Member of Forbes Coaching Council

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Kristin Schuchman17
Career Counselor for Mission-Driven Creatives
May 23, 2024 at 8:52PM UTC

Every discontented worker has fantasized about quitting in a dramatic fashion. Some imagine telling off their boss in vivid detail with blade-sharp wit. Others think about taking the chance to roast them mercilessly at a moment they’re feeling smugly self-secured.  

Hopefully, your quitting experiences are more graceful than the rage-quitting daydreams. If you’re planning to quit a job here are just a few know-before-you-go tips to make the jump go more smoothly and ensure a safe landing. If you are starting a new job, skip to tip 3.

1. Know how you’re going to decompress after you quit.

If able to, take two to three weeks to decompress. During that time, visit local attractions, take day trips, hike with long-lost friends, and resume hobbies. Do whatever you need to do to feel like yourself again, but have a timeline in mind for when to get serious about planning your next move.

 2. Know how you’ll spend your time after you’ve had two to three weeks just to decompress. 

If there isn’t a new job lined up, I’m assuming you’re: planning to find a new job; starting a new business; spending some time traveling or sinking into a deep project like writing a book; or opting to spend time as a caregiver for a child or other loved one.

Whatever your plans, once you’ve fully decompressed and feel like yourself again, get up at the same time you did when you were working, and dress (if not formally) as if you expect to see people each day. Set up a quiet workspace in your home free of interruption.

3. Know where everything is to update your resume. 

 Collect documents that list details of accomplishments from your current role, including metrics and details about projects you plan to reference. Print or digital collateral that references these achievements. Take any collateral that you plan to include in a portfolio or that is instrumental to your career highlights. For digital files, store these in an organized drive file system attached to a personal email so you can access it. Store hard copies of documents you’ll need in a labeled, easy-to-find box or folder.

4. Know who you want to keep in touch with.

Make a list of colleagues, vendors and clients with whom you enjoyed working and link with them on LinkedIn; then, ask them for recommendations and endorsements.

Start a spreadsheet of key contacts to record email addresses and phone numbers and (yes, really) mailing addresses. While you’re at it, ask people you respect how you could have done your job better. This is tough, I know, but necessary for growth. They’ll respect you more, and you’ll learn some things that are otherwise hard to learn. 

5. Know why you’re quitting. 

If you’re quitting to care for someone else, your reasons aren’t mysterious, but if not, take time to gain clarity about what’s missing in your job. Watch Daniel Pink’s Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us to see if it spurs any personal insights. Pink reveals that money only motivates us to a point. Beyond money (or once money is no longer a driving concern), our main motivators are autonomy (the urge to be self-directed), mastery (work that involves challenge and not boredom), and purpose (serving something larger than ourselves).

Journal about each one – is it showing up in your job? If so, how? If it ever offered it, what changed? If not, how could your next employer do better? Leadership deficits, rapid company growth, workplace politics? Really dig deep.

Ask yourself if connection is missing from your role – connection to other people; to the culture, mission and values; or to the services, products, solutions your company generates? Does it matter? Did it ever? If connection existed for you once but got lost, how did that happen? Did you change or did the company change? These questions may be painful but facing them can help you find where you’re meant to thrive. 

6. Know what you want in your next job.

Journal about: what do you like about your current job, what you don’t like, your ideal colleagues, your ideal boss, your ideal workplace (the space you go to work every day), and your ideal workspace (the place you do your best work – a desk in a quiet room, a desk in the middle of a bustling open workspace, etc).

What’s your no. 1 thing you think people should know before they quit? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

 This article was written by a Fairygodboss contributor.

Kristin Schuchman is a certified career counselor and member of the Forbes Coaching Council. She has helmed successful businesses for more than twenty years, including the award-winning Nervy Girl magazine. She owns a career consulting practice called Spark a Career and a coworking space called Brightside Space. Her new book, Jump Start: How to redirect a career that has stalled, lost direction or reached a crossroads, is a tactical how-to manual on poising oneself for a career change, with a ten-step approach incorporating a mix of introspective workbook activities, reflective reading on factors that contribute to long-term professional engagement, and an overview of industries that offer creative expression and meaning. Learn more at kristinschuchman.com.

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