Should You Ever Quit a Job Without a Backup Job?

Should You Ever Quit a Job Without a Backup Job?

By: Daniel Steingold | September 01, 2016

Sometimes we have a job that we hate. Like, truly, truly hate. Maybe it’s the working conditions, work environment, or simply a horrible boss or coworker. You may be so desperate to quit that you do so without having the prospect of a new job to replace the old one.

While it’s generally advised for you not to quit a job without having another one in your back pocket, there are certainly situations in which it’s fine to do.

This post will cover when it is and isn’t okay to quit a job without a replacement job.

When It’s Okay

If you’re working in a truly toxic environment, and your health— mental, physical, etc.— is being compromised, it is thought by many to be acceptable to leave a job without a backup plan.

In addition, if you know for certain you’re going to be let go, it’s not a bad idea to leave on your own terms. The more work experience that you have, the easier it’ll be for your narrative and credentials to be trusted in subsequent job interviews.

Many people, for example, have multiple passions and pursuits outside of their 9-to-5 job. Deciding to pursue one of these ventures while quitting your job can be risky business, but it can be the right decision.

If your current job is simply too demanding, and your well-being is paying for it, it can be advisable to send in your two weeks’ notice.

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A joint study by Harvard University and Stanford University last October found that workplace stress can cut nearly three years off of your life expectancy. It’s clearly not worth killing yourself to make a decent, much less subpar, salary.

It is important to note that if you are struggling on the job, there is a good chance that your employer has at least considered letting you go on the basis of low productivity or morale. That’s not to say the situation is your fault, but if you’re constantly quarreling with a coworker— particularly one with seniority— you should be able to see the writing on the wall.

If you feel like you’re experiencing one of these types of situations, and simply need to have all the time that you can to actually apply to new jobs, it may be advisable to quit without a backup job.

You will always need good reasoning for having quit your job, but as long as you do, it probably won’t be held against you in the job search.

Also, quitting a job in order to go back to school is usually fine in itself. However, it is important to emphasize that you should still give your former employer two weeks’ notice.

When It’s Not Right

Although circumstances vary, it is generally not advisable to quit a job without a backup plan when you don’t have a lot of experience.

This is particularly true for fresh out-of-school college graduates and those who just recently entered a new industry. Without experience in a field, it will be much more difficult to find a new replacement job.

It’s especially important to not quit a job without a backup plan when the economy isn’t thriving. If you have bills— as most people do— you will likely find a less than hospitable job market. According to Inc. Magazine, there were only four to six interview candidates for every 250 job applications in 2015.

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Furthermore, the perception of you impulsively leaving a job can look rather brash and selfish to many potential employers. Views on you quitting your job can vary from employer to employer, but at the very least, it will usually inspire fear that you’d easily leave the employer in question.

If you believe that you can manage working at your present job while searching for a new one, that’s by all means preferable. There are definitely ways to try to lessen your load at work, such as asking to not work overtime.

Ultimately, the dilemma of quitting a job without a backup job or plan is a very personal decision and can only be determined on a case-to-case basis.

One thing that many don’t fully consider are the personal consequences that come along with quitting a job. Work often plays a big role in our personal identity, and that’s something easy to overlook.

This makes it doubly important to consider everything when attempting to make a job change.

When it’s all said and done, you should listen to your intuition, as that’ll often provide you with the answer you need. Once you’ve made your decision, trust it.

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