A Checklist for Quitting Your Job

June 18, 2013

quit your job checklistOne of the most pervasive dreams in our culture is that of quitting your job. Whether you plan to quit and retire to some beach somewhere, or quit and start your own business so you can be your own boss, leaving a mind-numbing job might be at the top of your bucket list.

It’s important to realize, though, that quitting your job isn’t something that you can just do on a whim. You need to be ready to take that step. Here is a checklist that can help you as you get ready to move on to a new stage of your career:

1. Get Your Finances in Order Before Quitting Your Job

Before you quit your current job, you need to make sure your finances are in order and that you’re not making any of these money mistakes. Are you on solid financial footing? You should be living within your means, have a solid emergency fund built up, and be ready to cut the less important expenditures from your spending. Before you hand in your resignation, be sure that your finances are ready.

2. Diversify Your Income

While you don’t need to have side income that overtakes your “day job” income, it can help to have a little diversity in your revenue streams. Look for other sources of income, beyond what you have at your traditional job. One popular approach these days is to do some freelancing work in your area of expertise.

Depressed real estate markets have given some people an opportunity to buy apartments or duplexes for cheap and rent them out. If those don’t appeal to you, you can often get a part-time/seasonal job to help hold you over.

If your entire income is going to be in jeopardy when you quit, you need to have a little something to help pick up the slack.

3. Create a Plan

Before you quit, make sure you have a plan in place. You want to make sure you have a plan for earning more money, as well as a backup plan. Know what items you will cut from your budget. If you are starting a business, have a plan to direct you through the process. Think things through before you quit your job.

4. Have Something Else Lined Up

If you are switching jobs, you should have something else lined up before you quit your current job. This means that you should have an offer, in writing, from someone else before you leave your current job. If you are starting your own business, it helps to have the basics in place before you leave your job. If you’ve started a home business working a few extra hours in the evenings then you’ll have a foot in the door at least. Get the ball rolling, at least a little, before you quit your traditional job.

5. Refresh Your Network

Before you quit your job, make sure your contacts are up to date. Make contact with people in your professional network before you quit – just to catch up (you can ask for job leads later). Make it easy for your friend to refer you for a job.

If you have already renewed the relationship prior to quitting, you will be in a better place to let people know you have left your job down the line. An updated and supportive network can help you find a new job, or provide you with leads if you are starting your own business.

Also, keep in mind that you should try to quit your current job on good terms. Give your boss two weeks notice, and be a good worker until the end. If possible, you will want to add your former boss and co-workers to your network.

So, are you ready to quit your job? Leave a comment!

This article was originally published on October 17th, 2011 at MoneySmartLife.com


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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6 Responses to A Checklist for Quitting Your Job

  • Ashley @ Everything Finance

    I think that #4 is also key and something people don’t necessarily do. If you want to quit your job to freelance it’s critical to have some contacts before you quit your day job.

    • Ben

      Hey Ashley, I agree. I think the best way to ease into a freelancing career is to start it on the side and build it up over time while still working a job.

      It was nice meeting you in Chicago!

  • Derek

    A very precise list… I think number 4 being the most important. Unless you have enough saved up, you better have the new position lined up first. Nice job.

  • UltimateSmartMoney

    If you eventually get an offer from another company, you can always use it to start a negotiation with your current company to either match or beat the offer. If they believe you are critical resource, they have no problem at minimum matching your offer. At the same time, ask for retention bonus.


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