Making the decision to quit your job isn't easy. After all, leaving the comfort of an already established routine, especially in times as uncertain as these, is a challenge only the bravest can take on. And so, if you've worked up the courage to leave your job, congratulations! Still, there are a few very important things you need to do before you quit. And below are six of the most important.
1. Think about your next move
Stress has become an unavoidable part of many jobs. Still, even though you feel like storming off and never looking back, you might want to find a bit more patience if you don't have a plan. Once you hand in your resignation, your salary and benefits will stop coming in while the bills probably won't.
Think about what you want to do once you quit your job. Do you have other employment options? Is there a better offer waiting for you? Even if the answer to these questions is no, you should still devise some course of action for when you become unemployed. Be it freelance work, starting your own company, or hunting for a new job, make sure you’re mentally and financially prepared for what’s to come.
2. Visit the doctor while you still can
One of the reasons quitting seems so daunting is that you’re not only leaving your job but also all the privileges that come with it. Most commonly, this includes health insurance.
If you don't already have something better or at least similar waiting for you, it might be a good idea to take advantage of the benefits you have while you have them. Schedule a check-up with your physician, eye doctor, dentist, or any other health professional. Even if you don't have any issues at the moment, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. After all, health care can be costly, and you never know what the future has in store for you.
3. Remove personal information from your work computer and phone
Removing personal information from your work phone and computer is one of the most important things you should do before you quit your job. If you’ve had them for a while, it’s highly likely you used them for not-so-work-related things from time to time. Whether it’s personal calls, pictures, or your search history from when you were bored on the job, make sure to remove all evidence.
Okay, this might sound a bit harsh. But still, these devices will probably end up in someone else’s hands after you leave, and you don’t want to seem unprofessional just because you forgot to log out of Amazon on your laptop. Moreover, remember to do this even before you inform your boss of your decision. This will allow you to take your time and be thorough so that you don’t miss anything potentially embarrassing.
4. Take care of your finances
Your finances should be your top priority among the many things you should do before you quit your job. Handling this aspect of resignation timely and carefully is of the utmost importance.
One thing to do is inform yourself about your 401(k). You should either be able to transfer it to an IRA or withdraw it. Make this decision wisely! Additionally, try to devise an emergency fund for any expenses that might come up while (if) you’re in between jobs. You might have to organize a move and, even if it’s a local one, you’ll need some cash to ensure proper preparation for the stress-free process. Once you plan a budget, everything will flow much more smoothly.
5. Acquire some references
A few good references will be indispensable once you start searching for a new job (if you quit before securing a new job). Therefore, before you hand in your resignation, make sure to talk to your colleagues and ask them if they’d be willing to write some recommendations. This is yet another reason why kindness and consideration are better than anger and rash decisions. If you were civil and polite to the people you worked with, they should be more than happy to help you out, even though you no longer wish to stay in their company. In your new employer’s eyes, this will present you as responsible and give you a better chance of landing the job of your dreams.
6. Be kind to your replacement
You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled if a pile of paperwork and a bunch of unfinished projects were the first things you encountered at your new job. Starting anew in an unfamiliar environment is overwhelming enough, and everyone would appreciate a gentler beginning.
With that said, try not to be selfish when the time comes to leave. A human being will be replacing you, and unless you want some bad karma on your shoulders, make sure to tie your loose ends before you quit. This means finishing everything you’ve been working on, sorting your files, and organizing your workplace. Moreover, try to help your successor as much as possible by training them, giving them valuable pointers, and being kind. Warn them of everything you think is necessary, but try not to scare them with your own negative feelings or experiences.
It seems like more and more people are choosing not to waste their time in positions that no longer serve them. However, no matter how miserable your soon-to-be-ex-job used to make you, staying on civil terms with the people you used to work with is essential. And so, taking the above six actions will make sure you keep your composure and leave your job gracefully—and help smoothen the transition to whatever new position is awaiting you in the future.
Doris Brown is a retired employment counselor. Over the years, she has acquired valuable experience that she now likes to share through her articles to help people manage their careers.
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