You hate your job. The signs are all there: you live for the weekends and spend Sunday night dreading the coming workweek, hit the snooze button 13 times before you finally get out of bed and then spend all day counting the minutes until it’s time to go home. Whether your misery is caused by a tyrant of a boss, horrible co-workers or simple boredom or frustration with your actual work, when your unhappiness is creeping into other areas of your life, it’s time to move on.
Examine your finances. Unless you have enough saved up to cover your expenses for a few months, you won’t want to quit until you do. When you choose to leave a job, you don’t qualify for unemployment, so you won’t have any income until you can get another gig. Talk about your situation with the hubster and others who can help too -- they may be able to come up with a way for you to leave before you have another job without ending up in the poorhouse.
Dust off your resume. While you’re still employed, take time to update your credentials with your most recent experience. Start building a portfolio of the work you’ve accomplished in your current position as well, so you’ll have it to show prospective new employers.
Identify the companies where you think you might be happier working, and start building a network of contacts there. Using social media sites like LinkedIn, you can start putting out feelers to other companies; don’t forget to tap into your existing networks as well, such as your friends, family and fellow alumni. Don’t complain about your current job, but let people know that you’re interested in learning more about their companies and any opportunities that might become available.
Begin applying for jobs. In a tight job market, it can take weeks or even months for companies to make hiring decisions, so the sooner you get your application in, the sooner you can be working at a job you like.
Make a plan for what you will do after you quit. Sitting around in your pajamas and watching daytime television is legitimate for a day or two, but beyond that, you need a plan. Enroll in a course, sign up to volunteer, commit to cleaning out your closet -- anything that will fill the hours that you’re not spending looking for work and will keep you motivated.
Give your boss at least two weeks’ notice that you plan to leave, in writing. Don’t get into the reasons why you’re leaving (“I hate you and you’re mean”), as being honest probably won’t get you a good reference down the road. Simply state that you plan to leave on a particular date and thank your boss for the opportunity.
Offer constructive feedback in your exit interview. Even if you hate your boss, don’t say that. Think about the reasons that you were miserable at work and offer suggestions for fixing those problems in the future. It may be too late for you, but you might prevent future employees from wanting to pull their hair out after attending four back-to-back meetings devoted to nothing more than planning future meetings.
Send your boss a thank-you note. That will help leave a lasting good impression. Even if you were unhappy, thank your boss for giving you a chance. That may help when you need a reference.
- Before you throw in the towel, take a close look at why you are miserable at work. Pinpointing exactly what you hate and looking for ways to solve those problems might actually renew your passion for the job.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer on topics including lifestyle, education, and business. She is the author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), and her work has appeared in Lewiston Auburn Magazine, Young Money, USA Today and a variety of online outlets. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.