Do you feel trapped in your day job and desperately want to escape the rat race?
If so, you are NOT alone.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 4 million Americans quit their jobs this year – Great Resignation (source).
“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar.” – George Carlin (also attributed to Drew Carey)
An “I quit” shout or quitting a job without notice sounds cool; however, it could backfire in the long term.
How you handle your resignation makes a whole lot of difference.
This post will show you how to quit a job (you hate) gracefully.
🌟 Feel free to bookmark this post so you can review the leaving job checklist whenever you are ready to say goodbye to your 9-to-5.
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What To Do Before Leaving A Job
If you ever wonder what to do before quitting your job, here is the leaving job checklist to help you ensure a smooth job transition.
1. Know Why You Want To Quit
There are many reasons people want to walk away from their jobs. Here are some good reasons to quit a job.
- are not happy with your current employer or coworkers and want a change
- are not satisfied with the working condition
- might be burned out and don’t like the soul-sucking job
- want to become a freelancer for more flexibility
- have an entrepreneurial dream
- wish to live life on your terms with a career change
- have a better job offer waiting for you
- want more out of life (freedom, money, and career fulfillment)
- don’t like your company culture
Figuring out the real whys can serve as a motivating factor and help you make the right move. You probably don’t want to leave a stable job with great benefits for no good reason.
For example, if you just want a higher compensation or a promotion, you can negotiate improvements with your boss first.
2. Figure Out When To Quit – How Long Should You Work Before Quitting?
You might ask, “How long should I stay at a job before quitting?”
Usually, it’s recommended to work for a minimum of two years, so you can have enough time to learn new skills, build up your work experience, prepare an exit plan before quitting.
That said, if you feel it’s not the right job for you, don’t wait for two years. But do give yourself some time to be mentally and financially prepared before leaving.
3. Think About What You Want To Do Next
Once you know your why(s) and are firm with your decision no matter what it takes, you can start considering what you want to do next before leaving your job.
Although it’s trendy to quit jobs impulsively these years, especially among millennials, it’s still worth taking some time to think of your next move and prepare your departure gracefully.
4. Save Before Quitting A job For A Smooth Transition
After leaving your role, one of the biggest challenges you can expect is your finances.
Here are a few critical questions to ask yourself before leaving a job:
1. Do you have a new job lined up?
2. Do you have multiple income streams?
3. How much cash do you need to support your current lifestyle after quitting?
4. How will you pay off your debt (if any) while unemployed?
5. Can you afford a $1,000 emergency expense after resigning?
6. If your upcoming exciting venture doesn’t profit, how long can you survive without the current income stream?
Having plenty of cash on hand provides you with the financial flexibility to weather the ups and downs in life, especially if your current lifestyle solely depends on your regular paycheck.
You don’t need/have to settle for something less than you desire if you have enough money and time to figure things out.
Plus, you can keep your finances in order and have a stress-free transition with enough financial support.
It’s also the best way to keep you away from debt when quitting a job.
So before handing in your resignation, beef up your cash reserve for the harsh reality.
How much money should I have in the bank before quitting my job?
If you only rely on one income stream, make sure you have at least three to six months’ worth of basic living expenses when out of work. If you have a family, the number might be double or triple that amount.
You also need more savings if your goal is to start a business or travel right after your resignation.
Sidenote: I started this blog as a side hustle trying to make money online. But now, I am able to quit my job and work from home as a full-time blogger.
While saving money is vital before resigning, making a bit extra as a beginner blogger (like $500) each month can speed up the process.
When you become financially independent, quitting a job comes easy. It sounds obvious, but it’s SO true.
Related Posts On How To Prepare Financially Before Quitting Your Job:
– How To Make $50 A Day Using Your Smartphone In Your Free Time (I Make $85 Within An Hour With #6)
– Bad Money Habits You Need To Break Before Quitting (#3 Can Cost You A Ton Of Money)
– How To Curb Overspending To Save Serious Money (#1 Will Blow Your Mind Away)
– Things Employees Should Stop Buying To Save Money (#16 Will Save You Thousands Of Dollars Each Year)
5. Document Your Work
I can’t stress this enough.
Note down everything (big or small) that you have done in the company on your personal computer before quitting.
This is one of the most important things to do before you leave your job.
Reasons: Some companies don’t allow you to access company resources after leaving the company. On top of that, it’s harder to recall all the work after quitting a job. So remember to save your work before giving notice of your resignation.
Not only will your professional successes flatter your resume, but also you can have references for your future employer.
Here are some ideas on what to document.
- Your job responsibilities
- Samples of your work/portfolios (like photos for a photographer)
- Skills you have developed
- Positive reviews from your clients, colleagues, supervisor, and employer
- Any training courses or certifications you have obtained while serving your role
For example, if you are a salesperson, you can mark down the revenue or sales you have increased for the company, the money and time you have saved for your company, and the complicated problems you have solved.
6. Update Your Resume And LinkedIn Profile
A potential match doesn’t often come in a day. Sometimes, it takes weeks, months, or even years to land an ideal job.
To facilitate the job-hunting process and avoid future uncertainty, update your CV and online profile before your official resignation.
It doesn’t matter if you intend to have a holiday before jumping into your next job. You can still pursue new job opportunities in advance.
Take some time to explore what you want to achieve in life by analyzing your skills, interests, and passions.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to turn on job search alerts based on your job preferences and career goals on LinkedIn as well as other job-seeking websites.
Sidenote: I have never thought of running a profitable blog before quitting my job.
It’s an amazing experience. I started this blog with absolutely zero experience. I learned tons of things during my blogging journey, and I have never stopped learning.
If you would like to learn more about how to start a money-making blog from scratch, check here.
7. Use Your Paid Time Off (PTO) Or Other Employee Benefits
Before walking out the door, make sure to find out if you have any unused personal time, sick days, tuition reimbursement, and other benefits (like health benefits and your retirement plan).
Depending on your company’s policy, you might get compensation for those. Or, you can use them up before quitting your job.
Note that your employer might disapprove of using your PTO after putting in a notice of your resignation.
8. Take Advantage Of Your Health Benefits
Don’t forget to take full advantage of your medical privileges while still serving in your role.
Once you terminate the employment, you might lose all the compensation and benefits, including your health insurance.
For example, you can schedule appointments with your dentist, eye doctor, health checkups before submitting your resignation.
Don’t make it too obvious. Otherwise, everyone knows you are quitting.
For instance, don’t schedule the days in a row or choose the busy time/day to go out.
9. Figure Out Your 401(k)
Have you thought about, “if you quit a job, what happens to your 401k?”
Before handing in your resignation, gather information about your 401(k) (such as rollover instructions and the total amount).
This is one of the most crucial things to do before leaving your job.
For example, do you want to
- roll over the fund to your new employer’s 401(k) plan? (recommended)
- withdraw the money from your old 401(k)?
- have an individual retirement account (IRA) for your retirement savings?
💡 Note: If you cash out, you will need to pay the penalty and taxes for early withdrawal.
10. Remember To Ask For References
Are you wondering what documents to collect before leaving a company?
Remember to ask for references.
A well-crafted reference letter from your current employer is proof of your professionalism and contribution to the company.
If your boss is too busy, you can draft a letter yourself, so your employer just needs to review it and sign.
You can also collect recommendation letters from your senior colleagues or supervisor.
In some industries, two to three reference letters are absolute necessities for a job hunt.
Don’t forget to collect these documents before your resignation. After your final day, it might take longer to receive the letters.
11. Take All Your Belongings With You
All your belongings are not just the physical items on your office desk.
Here is a list of things to do when leaving a job.
1. Log out all your accounts on office computers.
2. Note down your accounts information and passwords if you ever need to access them from home.
3. Clear the browser history, cookies, and saved passwords.
4. Delete all not-work-related documents, files, emails, images, and calls.
5. Uninstall programs and software that are for personal use on all company devices.
The best way is to give back everything that belongs to your company the way you received them to avoid potentially embarrassing or awkward moments.
Don’t ruin your hard-earned reputation because of the small move.
12. Follow The Company’s Guidelines To Submit Your Resignation
Companies usually have clear policies on the procedure of resignation.
You can check your employee handbook or contract before quitting a job if unsure.
Maybe you need to give your employer a month’s notice instead of the standard two weeks’ notice.
Perhaps you are required to write a professional resignation letter.
Or, you might need to have an exit interview/organizational assessment.
Comply with all the rules to resign gracefully. It’s the best way to quit a job.
13. Break The News With Your Current Employer First
Your direct supervisor/employer should be the first one to know your departure instead of your coworkers.
How to gracefully quit a job (you hate) is an art.
Leaving a job at a critical time is not a nice move. It’s greatly appreciated if you don’t quit during the busiest season or in the middle of a big project.
When you believe you have made the right decision to move on, choose the right time and make an appointment with your soon-to-be-former employer to hand in your notice.
This is a proper way to quit a job if you want to leave on positive terms.
14. Be Responsible For Your Job
Even though you are already checking out mentally, you are still serving in your role. So it’s best to be responsible for your daily tasks and duties.
You also don’t want to show too much excitement about your exit while in office.
Keep everything professional at work.
15. Help Your Replacement
This tip should include in your job transition checklist.
It’s a considerate move to provide your replacement full support in the resignation process.
That might include writing a report on your daily tasks, organizing the files, and training the next person, so the replacement can step in to fill your role when you’re gone.
The professional and kind gesture could help you leave a positive impression and maintain the relationship with the company.
16. Leave With Gratitude
Don’t burn bridges or potentially damage your pursuit of new employment.
Always show your gratitude to the people you have worked with. I know it might be hard if you dislike your boss or coworkers. But if you want to act in your best interest,express your gratitude and leave all the negative feelings to yourself (like badmouthing your employer).
It’s a small world/industry, and people do talk. Trust me. You will thank yourself for doing that.
The mature gesture signals you’re professional and respectful.
Plus, you never know if you will come back or need additional help in the future.
You don’t think you will, but sometimes, you do.
17. Stay Connected
Social networking is important.
If you want to stay connected with your employer or colleagues, don’t forget to exchange contact information.
Maybe your strong or weak connection can help you reach out to the right person and get you an ideal job.
Pro Tip: Make sure your physical address and personal contact information are updated and accurate in your employee records before leaving the company. If there are any future opportunities or issues with your final payment, you can be connected.
FAQ – Checklist Before Leaving A Job
What Do I Say When Quitting A Job?
1. Tell your employer why you want to quit, although you don’t need to overexplain. And think about how to respond when your boss offers a pay raise, promotion, or more benefits to keep you staying.
2. Give constructive feedback if asked. Leave the negative comments to yourself.
3. Tell your boss that you will help source and train the new hire.
4. Thank your employer, supervisor, colleagues, and other people who have worked with you. Show your appreciation.
Is It OK To Quit A Job?
Yes. It’s perfectly OK to consider a new career. You are not the first one and definitely would not be the last one to quit a job. If you are ready to move on, do some good planning for a graceful transition. Feel free to review this checklist before leaving a job.
Should I Tell My Boss Why I’m Leaving?
Yes. Due to respect, you should explain why you are quitting your job to your employer. Also, your official resignation letter will need to include good reasons/proper excuses. Some companies might even request an exit interview.
Should I Use All My Sick Days Before Quitting?
It depends. If your company is willing to pay for unused sick leave when you quit, you can choose to get paid. However, if you feel comfortable using up all your sick days before the resignation, then go for it. Just do NOT give any hints that you are going to quit.
Final Thoughts – What To Do Before Quitting Your Job
When you decide to quit a job (you hate) gracefully and pursue the work of your dreams, it’s essential to take the time and prepare your exit plan.
So you can quit your tedious 9-5 (or 9-9) job and take the leap with great confidence.
Preparation could also help you stop over worrying about the future.
I sincerely hope this checklist for leaving a job can help you have a smooth transition.
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