We’ve all heard the standard line: “Never leave a job without having another one.” Yeah, that’s certainly the ideal way to conduct a job search. But the fact of the matter is that there are some situations where you just can’t stay in a job any longer. Maybe the pain of the job is such that it’s ruining your family. Maybe the company is deeply unethical and you couldn’t in good conscience stay with them any longer. There are a number of reasons why sometimes you have to break that cardinal rule.
So what do you do in that kind of situation? Follow these steps to help you make the transition, launch your job search quickly, and get your career back on track.
Get Your Network Lined Up ASAP
Before you even reach your last day on the job, you should start getting in touch with your network, lining up connections, and finding what your options are. Make a goal never to eat lunch alone during this time. Face to face is always better, so meet people whenever you can. Tell them your situation and ask for more contacts. When they know how dire things are for you right now, they’ll be more willing to think of ways to help with your job search.
Prepare Your Resume
Get your resume ready to go immediately. You don’t want to waste time in this crucial period futzing around updating and tuning it. If you can in any way scrounge the money, speed up the process by paying a professional to do your resume. Chances are he’ll do a better job way quicker than you’ll be able to — especially since you’ve got your mind going so many other directions at the same time.
Look for Work in the Meantime
Try to take the pressure off of your job search by looking for work that can help you pay the bills for a while. Sign up with temporary agencies — these can be a great way to network anyway. Vigorously seek freelance work, which can also open doors to full-time work in many professions. If nothing else, even a part-time job at the corner coffee shop can be a good way to get by, especially since such jobs typically have flexible hours that can be great for a job search.
Cut Your Expenses
Look for ways to chop your spending until you get things stabilized. Sit down with your significant other and find ways to reduce how much money is going out the door. You may be surprised — she could very well be willing to do whatever it takes to let you leave a job, if it’s making your household deeply unhappy. She may see it as a small price to pay.
Don’t succumb to depression during this time. It can be difficult to keep positive, but it’s absolutely crucial that you do so. Optimism is the fuel that opens opportunities and keeps your job search moving. Keep lots of things going on at the same time, that way you have more chances of hearing good things or getting encouraging news. And constantly remind yourself, that many people emerge from such setbacks saying that bailing out on their lousy job was the best thing they ever did.
It would be great if we could all follow the textbook method of leaving a job only after we’ve found another one. But real life isn’t always so neat or simple. That, however, doesn’t mean the end of the world. Plan your job search strategy accordingly and you could very well come out better than before.