Several years ago, in the Spring of 2007, I quit a job that I hated. And I did so before I had another job lined up.
What made me think about this was a post on my friend Christine’s blog entitled, Quitting your job without a new job lined up, and it made me think of my own story
At some point or another in your career, you may have the desire to quit your job, but think that you shouldn’t because you don’t have another job to go to. It’s certainly possible to do, and may, in fact, be the best move you can make, even if it feels like you are jumping off of a cliff.
This isn’t meant as a set of instructions, but more as something to think about. Anyways, here’s my story.
At the time I quit, the job in question I had had for 5 months. It was fairly clear to me almost from the very beginning that I wasn’t going to like it very much. There were some aspects of it I did like, but there was a huge aspect of it I didn’t.
I was trying to stick it out, maybe for a year, so that it wouldn’t look bad on my resume. Also, I had bills to pay, and with no income, I would have no way to pay them. So I tried really hard to stay at this job.
But that just didn’t work. When I finally decided that I needed to quit, it had become more painful for me to stay at that job, than I thought it would be to deal with possibly having no income. So I leapt. I gave my notice and had faith that I would figure out what do to.
I was scared that this was going to make my resume look bad. I had only worked there for 5 months, which isn’t very long. And, I was risking a significant gap on my resume, both of these things I knew I would have to explain to future employers.
I thought leaving this job was going to set me back in my career, which at the time, I was just beginning to build, and I didn’t want that.
There was a risk to leaving and I knew that I would have to accept the consquences. But, ultimately, I decided it was worth it and consequences or not, I had to get out of there.
There were a few things that made the leap easier. One, I had savings that would give me several months of living expenses even if I had no income at all. This was mostly attributable to the fact that the previous year I had lived at home (when I was fresh from my Masters Degree) and was able to save a lot of the money I wasn’t spending on rent. I didn’t realize at the time how much freedom that would give me in the future.
Also, if I didn’t find another job in a suitable amount of time, I was basically willing to do anything in the meantime. Retail, temp work, substitute teaching, whatever. I was not against taking a job I was overqualified for to bring some money in. I was very serious about this.
Lastly, I felt confident that I had qualities that employers wanted. At the time, I had about a year and half of work experience past school and in that time I had learned a few things about myself and had some experiences that made me feel competent and valuable. I knew I could find something better than what I had.
How It All Ended Up
On my last day of work, I had applied to exactly one job – a job that I really wanted. I got called back for an interview and at the beginning of my last week of work, I went to the interview. Three weeks later (two weeks after my last day) I was told that I had the job. The start date wasn’t until towards the end of the summer, so in the meantime I had an almost three month vacation. No one has ever asked about the gap in my resume. No one has ever asked about my 5 month tenure at my previous job. And at this point, probably no one ever will.
So, all in all, this story ends very well.
So, that’s my story. I do want to mention a few things, however. When this happened, I was 25, had no kids or spouse, and had fairly minimal living expenses. I did have rent, a car payment and student loans, among all the other normal expenses people have, but mostly I lived lightly. These things certainly contributed to this experience.
But like I said, this isn’t a set of directions, just a story about something I did that may help you think differently about your life.
Sometimes, you just have to leap.