Before you quit your job….
There are 5 strategic things you can do right away that will clarify your next steps and set you up for success before you pull the trigger on leaving your current job.
#1: Identify exactly what is working and what isn’t.
Getting specific is really important because you want to be able to articulate exactly why you’re leaving and thus, what you’re looking for next.
I’ve worked with people who took a little time to get specific, and it helped ensure that they moved intentionally into a better matched role or environment. This allows you to see this as a problem solving opportunity to improve your overall work experience, rather than a temporary replacement from one misaligned job to another.
One way to do this is my Wheel of Work Exercise. Do the exercise here in my free clarity mini-course. If you’re into the personal development space, you may have heard of the Wheel of Life, a popular coaching tool to assess 8 areas of your life and create a more well-balanced life experience.
To guide awareness and transformation in the area of career specifically, I’ve adapted this model into something I call the Wheel of Work. Instead of career being only 1 spoke of the wheel, career is the entire wheel. I love this exercise because its emphasis is on your level of satisfaction in each area. This will help you notice what could be the most important area(s) of your work life that you want to improve on currently.
You can do this by choosing 8 areas of your work life that matter the most, and rate each area on a scale from 0 to 10, 0 being not satisfied at all , and 10 being fully satisfied.
Go back and jot down notes as to why you gave it that rating
For each area, put a dot where you’d like to be. That gap in between is your area for growth! Which areas have the biggest gap vs the smallest? What areas are rated the lowest vs the highest? Reflect on specifically what you are unhappy with and what different solutions you could brainstorm to solve that.
#2: Explore opportunities within your current role or company
I know this isn’t always aligned, and you’re leaving because you want a fresh start.
But something I wish I knew in my 20s was that it is much easier to get hired when you’re already an established employee within a company, than to make a complete jump into a new industry, role, or company (sometimes all at the same time).
Thus, it’s really worth the consideration if you’re thinking about making a career change or doing some more exploration.
How to do this:
- Identify specific teams you’d like to learn more about, or specific skills you want to develop.
- Brainstorm 2-3 ways that you can explore in low-risk ways each week (ie. shadow a person for a couple hrs every week, participate in a project, do an informational chat, enroll in a course to upgrade your skills or professional development plan)
- Schedule a time to speak to your manager and present your interests, ideas, and timeline. Ask for their thoughts and how you any of these could be implemented
If this doesn’t work or if your current role or company just isn’t right for you, at least you’ve made your wishes clear, and offered a line of communication.
#3: Cultivate your network
Over 80% of jobs are landed through networking. And so the best time to set yourself up for success, is actually right now. When you’re in a job.
Why is this?
First, you are still in the ecosystem of the company, actively working in the industry. People are more likely to connect with you when you share that commonality at the moment, so you can share your experience, offer support, or stay in touch. If you’re interested in a career switch, for example, you can use LinkedIn to search for people who have successfully switched careers from your current company into a role or industry you’re interested in. Now is a great time to reach out, introduce yourself, and start building some rapport with them.
Choose a few other teams and departments that you’d like to get to know more about, and reach out to some people that you admire or have heard good things about to grab coffee, do a Zoom chat.
Also, your current network is an appreciating asset. Over time, your network will get promoted, start companies, work with key people, and grow. Investing time and attention to your network will have increased gains as time goes on for you too. Build a list of the mentors, advocates, client, and colleagues in your company that you’ve valued most or have valued you most. Schedule time with each of them 1-on-1 to connect, hear how they’re doing outside of the usual work structure, and express your appreciation for their support or mentorship.
If it’s appropriate, and you feel comfortable doing so, you can share some of your future goals or areas you’re interested in. Ask them to see if they know anyone that they think you should speak with or know to learn more. And always ask “is there any way I can support you in your goals in the next few months?”. Remember when building rapport and relationships, it is about being present, offering value, and planting the seeds. And when it’s time to leverage your network, you have people that already know, trust, and like you, that can put in touch with people or give you glowing recommendations.
If you’ve already decided to leave, Express your intention to stay in touch, and ask what is their preferred way to do so
Finally, while you’re in a job, it is also the time to start connecting with recruiters who recruit in your industry. Pull up a list of recruiters who recruit in your industry, and send them an invite on LinkedIn. Start building a list of companies you’d be interested in and start to find recruiters or any warm connections you could leverage to introduce yourself, and express your interest in learning more or being considered for current or future openings.
#4: Have a clear plan for what you’re going to do next.
In a study in 2017 by Columbia University and the Federal Reserve banks of New York and Chicago, they examined the job-seeking activities of 2,900 people ages 18 to 64 (https://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2017/04/how-do-people-find-jobs.html)
They found that:
- Those still employed were more likely to receive an unsolicited contact from a potential employer or a referral from a contact.
- Their response rate from employers was four times that of unemployed applicants.
- They got more than twice the interviews and three times as many offers per application.
- Candidates hired from another full-time job were offered, on average, an hourly wage of $27.11, versus $15.68 for those unemployed
It is best to either have a job lined up or have a career change strategy and plan in place.
If you’re interested in putting a plan together, watch my exclusive training on the 3-part framework on designing your dream career. I walk you through the 3 critical parts that you need in order to design a sustainable and fulfilling career.
#5: Be prepared financially for uncertain situations
Whether you have a job lined up or not, it is important to always have enough in your bank to support your basic living expenses for 6 months or more. If you already have this, great. If not, consider creating an exit plan that involves you saving a specific amount of money in the next few months to support your career transition or future goals.
The length of a job search could last anywhere from 3 months to 2 years, depending on many variables. If you’re doing a career change that involves a change in industry, core skill sets, or location, your cash runway should be on the longer end.
Even if you land in a new job or already have one lined up, you never know how that will go. I’ve seen people get into a new role and realize they don’t like that either, or an unexpected company organization occurs and you’re facing possible unemployment. Obviously these are worst case scenarios, but this does happen, and I want you to be prepared and be able to support yourself.
When you have financial security, you’ll be able to be more intentional about your strategies, explore more actively, and only say yes to aligned opportunities. Dealing with financial insecurity as well as a job search or career change, which already involves a lot of uncertainty, could be really stressful.
So, make sure you can take care of yourself financially and have a comfortable cash cushion to support your next steps.
💡YOUR TURN: Are there some actions you can take away from this that helps you clarify and strategize your next steps?
Share them in the comments! Good luck and I’ll see you in the next video.