You’ve heard it a million times: “Never quit a job unless you have another one lined up”.
And sometimes, that works out. Sometimes you have the time, energy and resources to conduct a job search on the side. But sometimes, life seriously gets in the way and you find yourself stuck. There absolutely are times when it’s not feasible to keep going in your current role while pursuing an under the radar job search.
Some people can get so burnt out by their work that they just don’t have the energy to job hunt, or the motivation. When dragging yourself into a job you hate day after day takes everything you’ve got, there’s not much left to impress a potential new employer with.
We understand that people need to think realistically about these things as well. We don’t all have the luxury of a few weeks off work to ‘find ourselves’ before jumping back in. Don’t let that thought trap you though. If you really need time out (like, really), there are usually ways of managing it, even if your finances take a hit or you need to check out what support services may be available to you.
The fact is, there ARE some situations when it’s perfectly acceptable to quit your job before having another gig lined up. Let’s take a look at some of the main ones.
- Your health and well-being is suffering
Your health and safety is more important than your job – end of story. If you are in a workplace that is making you sick, or puts you at risk of physical or emotional harm then it’s time to leave. Some examples are: physically unsafe work practices or environments, any kind of workplace bullying or harassment, and even chronic stress. You’d be surprised how common work-induced illness is. Researchers from Harvard and Stanford Universities released a study showing that even just workplace tension can take 3 years off your life. So if you’re suffering in some health related way – you may need to quit the job, take some time to recover and start your job search later. If your finances can’t take a hit like that, check out what social services may be available while you are in between jobs.
- You’re in a toxic work environment
Maybe your boss is a bully, or your colleagues are outright mean to you. Perhaps the company culture itself is demeaning. Whatever the reason, toxic workplaces are not good for you. You find yourself surrounded by negativity, you start to feel terrible and your self confidence might take a hit too. How are you going to deliver quality work in an environment like that? It might even be impacting your home and personal life and just getting you really down overall. Sometimes even conducting a job search when you’ve been feeling off for months can seem too difficult. Sometimes you just need to stand up for yourself, realise you’re better than this and decide you’re not taking it anymore. There are plenty of jobs and workplaces out there where you can be happy. Don’t get stuck in the trap of thinking you need to stay when a workplace is seriously messing with your mojo.
- You’re at the point of doing anything else
We like to call these ‘Lifeline Jobs’. For whatever reason, you just cannot handle the thought of staying in your current job. Even serving out your notice time seems unbearable. If you’re at the point where you will start babysitting or delivering newspapers to make cash while you look for something else then it’s time to go. If this is you it sounds like your work situation is rather hellish. Get on outta there! Many a successful, clever person has taken a stress-free part time job or helped their friends with babysitting or cleaning or running errands, to take some out for themselves and reconnect with what they really want to do before launching themselves back into the game.
- Your current job is all-consuming
Sometimes you get stuck in a position that consumes your whole life. It’s not a job, it’s a prison sentence! Before you know it you are working 60 hour weeks, covering other people’s duties, taking work home with you and finding you have no time for anything else.
You can’t even comprehend using your free 10 minutes at night time to look for a job. That time is dedicated to the wine or beer or TV you need to escape from what is undoubtedly a crazy and unhealthy way to live. You can barely focus on your own well-being, let alone conducting a full on job search! If you’re stuck in place like this then it’s time to jump ship. You’ll probably need a few days (or weeks) of doing absolutely nothing to get your brain working properly again and your blood pressure under control, before you even think about a new job search!
Don’t let well-meaning family members or friends convince you that you need to ‘stick out’ any job that is harmful to your health or well-being. YOUR body knows best. If you’ve taken a bit of a battering then you simply might not be in a state to job hunt.
Check in with yourself – reflect on whether you can effectively job hunt in your condition or if you need a recovery period first.
If you do have the energy and resources to start searching for something new on the side, then great! But if you don’t, it’s no reason to beat yourself up. The working world ain’t going anywhere. You deserve to have the chance to take a breather and build yourself up again. You deserve to get excited about the next chapter of your life!
So, that old adage: “You should never quit a job until you have another one lined up.” We’re challenging that one right now. We’re adding a disclaimer: “Unless the job is making you ill, you are terribly miserable or you are wasting away in a toxic environment”. In these cases, we say leaving is not only appropriate – it’s 100% the right thing to do.