If quitting your job in a bad economy scares you, you have good reason for your fear. In 2012, unemployment across the United States remained at about 8 percent -- and in some areas, the average is even higher. When you quit, you put yourself at risk of being one of the many on the unemployment line. To stave off the fear and the unemployment, plan ahead as much as you can.
When you voluntarily leave a job, in most cases, you're not going to qualify for unemployment benefits. Hopefully, you've been saving a percentage of your salary throughout your entire career and have some savings in your back pocket, but if you don't, start right away. Ideally, you should have 12 months' worth of living expenses saved up before you quit, advises The Financial Samurai.
There's no guarantee that you'll find a job right away; in fact, it took unemployed people more than 20 weeks to find a job in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The best course of action, then, is to start looking while you're still employed. Search for jobs during your off time; don't use your work computers to do your job search -- or you risk your current employer finding out. Also factor in the time of year you plan to quit; not many companies hire during the last few months of the year, according The Financial Samurai.
If you've taken the steps above and now have another job waiting for you, good for you -- you don't have many worries about your future prospects. However, it's never a good idea to burn bridges with any employer. If it doesn't work out with the new employer, you'll need someone at the job you quit to "vet" you and provide you a good reference. You may have a good reason not to provide references when you're job hunting while still employed with the company, but if you've already left and start looking for a new job, the prospective employer may worry when you don't provide any references. You may hate your boss, but try to find a co-worker or manager who will be willing to say nice things about your performance in the future.
Gaining an ally is not the only loose end you need to tie up before you quit your job. Another part of keeping your bridges "unburned" is finishing the projects you've started, and giving your current employer a fair amount of time to find a suitable replacement. Two weeks is common; though you may need to give your employer a month or more if you're in a complicated position that requires a lot of training. And though you may really hate the job, avoid blowing up, talking trash or quitting at the last minute. In a tight economy, you need to be extra-careful to maintain your reputation.
- The Financial Samurai: What Should I Do Before Quitting My Job? 15 Things To Consider
- U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Search of the Unemployed By Duration of the Unemployment
- U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics: Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
- State of Oregon: Unemployment Insurance (UI): Issues That Could Affect Benefits
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.