If you're considering quitting your job, it's important to keep in mind that it's best not to do so without a new job offer in hand. No matter how dissatisfied or ill-fitting your current job is, you may need the money or stability. And that's not all. Studies show the longer you are unemployed, the more difficult it is to get hired. Fair or unfair, that's the reality. Before leaving your current job, ask yourself the following questions.
Why do I want to leave?
This sounds like a simple question, but dig deep for the answers. List all the reasons you are dissatisfied with your job and be specific. Your list may include things like being underpaid, inattentive management or a long commute. Now list everything you like about your job. Maybe you enjoy the people you work with or the clients you serve. Having a concrete list you can look at and evaluate helps lessen some of the emotional elements of your decision. Use your pros and cons list to help you identify what might be salvageable and what to look for in your next job.
Do I need to leave this company to get what I want?
Sometimes it is easier to stay where you are and try to work things out before jumping ship. Have you tried talking with your manager? If your manager is part of the problem, who else can you turn to for advice on how to remedy the situation? If you are feeling bored, can you find additional assignments or projects to take on at work? If not, think about volunteering to fulfill your desire to take on more responsibility. You may even research courses that would enhance your career. If you don't have a mentor, this would be a great time to identify someone you respect, inside or outside your company, and ask if they can help you with important career decisions.
What is my exit strategy?
Landing a new job is a lot of work and will take longer than you want. If you think all you need to do is apply for jobs online, think again. There are a lot of people out there looking for new jobs right now. Set your plan in place for how you will land your next job. Give yourself a deadline and dedicate time each week to meet with people you know. You'll also feel like you have more control over the process if you proactively reach out to people and target companies you believe will be a good fit.
Who can I turn to for help?
List all the people you know who can help you transition. Friends, family and don't forget past co-workers. These old work pals probably work for a company you'd be interested in. Let them know you are open to new opportunities and be as specific as possible as to the type of role you are interested in. Recruiting agencies are another option. Reach out to recruiters who specialize in your area of expertise and let them know you are in a confidential search.
What companies are a fit for me?
In order to find the right opportunities faster, you need to focus your search by targeting companies who are likely to hire people with your skills and background or at least have the types of roles you are interested in. You may have heard about the hidden job market. This implies that the best jobs are never advertised, but instead filled through word-of-mouth. How do you find out about these opportunities? By talking with people. Identify people you can contact inside companies you are interested in and conduct informational meetings. Learn what they like about working there, how they got their job and other questions based on the things you liked about your current job.
How can I survive in my current situation?
If you decide to leave your job, you still need to hold on to it until you have a next step. While you don't have to give your current job 110 percent, you do need to do enough to keep it. And for your sanity, think about what you need to do to survive in your current job. Avoid pesky co-workers, avoid conflict and don't let your work or attitude slack. You want to leave this job on your terms, not someone else's.