How to Quit a Job You Hate
In this article I am going to discuss how to quit a job you hate (successfully!).
If you’re a working adult in America today, there’s a very good chance that you don’t love the work that you do and you are looking for or at least thinking about other job opportunities. According to a recent study, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of American workers are not engaged at work, and another 18 percent are actively disengaged—meaning that close to 90 percent of employees come to work and put in their time, but don’t necessarily give their best work or best ideas. That makes me really sad.
My firm belief is, if you are going to spend 30, 40, or even 50 years working, it should be doing something you love or at least something you enjoy. Maybe you don’t love every aspect of your current job or every single job you will have, but you should love the line of work that you are in, and if you find a job you don’t love as you are working your way through your career, you just use it as a stepping stone to move on to a job you do love.
So if you are in a job that you no longer enjoy (or that you never did) or that you even hate, then don’t stay there! You’re not stuck unless you choose to be. Here are the simple steps you can take to quit a job you hate and find a job that you are passionate about and engaged in and that will be rewarding and fulfilling.
How to Successfully Quit a Job You Hate and Transition to a Job You Love
There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to quit a job you hate! Do not just quit before you have other employment lined up (unless you are independently wealthy ;))! If you do, you will have no income and will be in a financial mess! The likely financial problems are not worth exiting a job without another job in place, even when you hate that job you want to quit! Below I will share how to quit a job you hate the right way so that you can successfully and smoothly transition to a job you will love!
1. Start looking for another job or employment opportunity to jump to.
First, again, do not quit your job until you have something else lined up that will provide you the income that you need! Even if you really do hate your job, stick it out until you find something else where you can adequately support your family. That doesn’t mean that you have to have your dream job lined up before you make a move, but you have to have some other opportunity in place. And then from that new job you can look for an even better, longer-term position.
2. Work on building up your emergency fund.
As you look at other career options so that you can quit the job you hate, start to build up your emergency fund (EF). Work to get to a fully funded EF of three to six months’ worth of expenses. That way you will be much better prepared and have a lot more options in the event that something happens and you do have to quit your job before you have another one lined up (but again, try to avoid this option at all costs) or you choose to take a job that means a pay cut or a move to a higher cost of living area or something similar.
3. Make finding your next job a full-time job (or dedicate as much time to it as you can).
If you want to quit the job you hate successfully and find a great job to replace it, you’re going to have to put in the time and effort to make that happen. I know it sounds extreme, but if you can spend 40 hours per week looking for your next job, do it! That will decrease the amount of days it takes to find your next (great!) job. Especially if you are working only part-time, then you should make finding your ideal job your current full-time job—until it happens. Again, the more time you can put into it, the more quickly you are likely to see results.
4. Make sure your resume is up to date, accurate, and free of grammatical errors and typos.
When you begin your job hunt, make sure to update your resume so that it is accurate and current. And this should go without saying, but don’t make anything up!
Also make sure that the text is clean. As a professional editor, I understand how easy it is to overlook a typo! But I’m also a little surprised at how many grammar problems and typos I’ve seen in resumes over the years. This is one of the most important documents you will ever create—so take the time to make it as good as possible.
Ask a friend or family member with a good eye for detail to read it over for you and not only help make sure it’s clean but also give you pointers for what you might improve (passive voice you could make active, less important information you could cut, ways to reorganize the information to be more powerful or logical, how you could make the text more persuasive or interesting, numbers and percentages you can include to better showcase your accomplishments, and so on). You might also want to hire a professional editor or proofreader to review your resume for you. Upwork and Craigslist are good places to look for help.
5. Include measurable accomplishments on your resume (include concrete numbers and percentages whenever possible).
As mentioned briefly in the step just above, to help you show the value you would bring to their company, be sure to include (but again, don’t embellish!) numbers and percentages wherever you can. Don’t just say “Helped to reduce overhead and increase profits.” Instead, say “Helped to reduce overhead by 22 percent over two years by finding a new shipping vendor. Helped to increase profits by 14 percent last year by introducing a new streamlined product review process that was adopted by my department.”
6. Work on your interpersonal skills.
If there are areas that you feel you could work on to improve your interpersonal skills, work on them before you quit the job you hate! If you are naturally more reserved, for example, make a conscious effort to put yourself outside of your comfort zone so that you will gain experience in those kinds of situations. On the other hand, if you have heard from friends or family that your personality is a little abrasive or your behavior is overall a little overly loud or boisterous, work on toning things down a little. If you haven’t had as much actual in-person interaction as you would like because you do most of your communicating electronically, find ways to reverse this trend.
7. Network! Talk to as many people as you can about your job search.
If you are determined to quit a job you hate, then now is not the time to be humble or shy! Now is the time to be bold and confident. That doesn’t mean you should brag or be arrogant, of course, but you can’t be afraid to promote yourself. So let all of your friends and family know what kinds of opportunities you are looking for. Post it on social media. Send an email. Text. Call. And ask if anyone knows of anyone in the industry or company that you are interested in and if they could write you a letter of reference, make a quick call on your behalf with an inquiry about potential job openings or leads, or even introduce you to a person they know over lunch or a similar setting. Network with everyone you can as much as you can. Remember Kevin Bacon and the six degrees? Put that principle to good use. You really probably are not very far from where you want to be—you just have to find the right person to help you make the change happen.
8. Cold call companies directly to find out if they are hiring or if they will be in the near future and to ask for an informational interview.
Finding people that you know to help you and put in a good word for you is the most effective job search method, but if you are not able to find anyone with a connection to the company (or ideally, one of the companies) you want to work for, then find the contact information that you need online and call their HR department or the department you want to work for, if you know which one it would be.
When you get hold of the right person, ask about future hiring and request an informational interview with someone in a position to make hiring decisions or to influence hiring. It’s just possible that they will be won over and offer you a job, even when they don’t have any current openings. Or if not, at the very least you can leave a great impression for the future.
9. Search on job search websites and industry-specific online job boards.
There are a lot of good job search engines. I personally prefer indeed.com. Industry-specific online job boards are another great option. Here are 10 industry-specific job boards worth checking out.
10. Research potential companies before you interview so you will be better prepared.
Spend a good amount of time Google-stalking your prospective companies to find out more about them and their place in the industry and company culture and so forth. When I applied for my first job out of college, I spent at least a few hours reviewing the company’s website to learn about them so that I would be well prepared for my upcoming interview. And I think it showed, by the kinds of thoughtful questions I was able to ask and the responses I was able to give. (I got the job. :))
11. Do practice interviews.
To prepare for upcoming interviews, ask a friend or family member (or a few of them) to ask you potential interview questions and give you feedback on what you can say or do to improve. For example, they might let you know if you have any strange mannerisms, such as tapping your fingers or feet or avoiding eye contact, that you should avoid doing while answering interview questions. Even if you don’t get asked many of the same (or any of the same, for that matter) questions as you answer during practice, the most important thing is that the practice can help you be confident preparing and giving answers.
12. Seek an internship (paid or unpaid) or even volunteer with the company you really want to work for.
If there aren’t any immediate openings available at a particular company, or if you perhaps don’t quite yet have the experience needed to land the job you really want, then ask if there are internship or volunteer opportunities at the company you want to work for. If they don’t currently have an internship program, express your heartfelt and sincere interest, and ask them if they might be willing to start one. And if that isn’t a possibility, then ask if volunteering is an option. I know of at least one case where someone worked as a volunteer for an organization with the hope that she might show her worth in order to be hired for a full-time position, and it worked.
And even if you complete the internship and the company you really wanted to work for long-term still doesn’t have any openings, you will have gained invaluable experience that you can use to boost your resume and find a great position with another company. And in the meantime, you can ask that the company that you interned with keep you in mind for future opportunities.
13. Consider relocating if needed.
If there is a career field you really want to enter or a career path you really want to pursue, you may need to be willing to relocate. If the labor market is a little oversaturated where you are in the industry you work in or just in general, you will have an easier time looking for other opportunities in different communities or even out of state or across the country.
14. Don’t give up.
If you aren’t successful in finding a job that really lights your fire, don’t give up! Set a reminder in your phone to look again in three or six months. Or set a reminder in your phone to look one evening a week, if you’re really serious about making a switch. You can also set up alerts on websites like indeed.com so that you will be notified when new job opportunities come up that meet the criteria you set. Some companies have their own job search sites, and you might also be able to set up an email alert that way, as well.
15. Consider if you might need to receive more schooling or training to get the job you love.
If you are applying for positions but not being invited for interviews or not getting the job after the interview, you might need to consider if you are getting passed over for other more experienced workers. It might be time to look seriously at increasing your education by going back to school or arranging for other job-related training.
There may be online courses available through sites like Lynda.com, Skillshare, Udemy, or Teachable that might help you gain the skills you need. Just try to ensure that whatever money you spend will have a good ROI (return on [time and money] investment).
16. Consider if self-employment might be your best option.
When I graduated from college, I had no interest in being self-employed because of the inherent risks of not having a steady paycheck from a relatively stable company. Now, 15 years later, both of the companies I have worked for have had layoffs, and because of that and other experiences I’ve had, I believe that working for a company might be the riskier venture. Or at least it is probably just as risky, in its own ways, as being self-employed.
If you are in a career field or have the needed skills and training where you can work for yourself, consider if that is a viable option. When you are self-employed, you can have many “employers,” so if one of them drops you, the result isn’t so devastating as is the possible reality of getting laid off and suddenly losing all of your income.
Not to mention, there are many other benefits of being self-employed, such as being able to be your own boss, being able to set your own schedule, being able to work from home potentially, being able to set your own rates, and more.
17. Give your soon-to-be ex-employer the courtesy of a two-week notice.
Once you have accepted a position with another company, if at all possible, even if you really are unhappy with your current employer, give them a two-week notice so that they will have some warning and be able to begin the process of finding someone to replace you.
If you follow these 17 tips for how to quit a job you hate, you really will be able to successfully transition to a job you love! It may take some time, but it will happen!
Don’t lose heart! You don’t have to be stuck in a job you hate! Even if you are in a job that you feel is soul-sucking, where you are today is definitely not where you have to be in five years or three years or even one year. Your world could be completely different in a matter of months if you will keep a positive outlook and keep your eyes open for the opportunities that are out there.
I leave you with my honest, heartfelt, and best wishes as you look to find a job that will feed your soul and your passion and energize and uplift you!
If you are in a job that you hate or that you really dislike, what are you doing to change your situation? Which of the tips above do you feel could best help you right now to find different employment? What can you be doing now to best prepare to transition to another job? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts! I would love to hear from you.
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