Take this job and shove it! Wouldn’t so many of us love to do that? Leaving a job that is no longer a fit for you can be one of the most liberating and terrifying experiences. It’s not a decision to take lightly, but it’s also not one to put off for too long. Maybe you have outgrown a position, feel stalled in your career or are looking to make a shift in industries.

Most people will tell you not to leave a job unless you have another one. MOST Of the time I tend to agree with this. Of course, everyone has different financial circumstances that determine their own situation.

When I work with people who want to leave their job I ask them to consider three questions:

How long have you felt like you wanted to leave?

This is a really important question. There are some people who have been trying to leave jobs for 10 years! For others, it may be a few weeks and may be triggered by an event or a phase. Understanding how long you’ve been looking to take the leap helps you get real about how long you’ve been tolerating job dissatisfaction.

I once volunteered to do job search coaching at a large event in New York City. A young woman in her 20’s came over to me. She said she wasn’t really happy in her job and she didn’t feel she was “moving up fast enough.” I asked her how long she had been there. She said: 6 months! I was a bit shocked. Careers don’t move as fast as Google searches, and sometimes we truly need more time to fully (and fairly) evaluate a job.

On the flip side if most of the people in your life are tired of hearing you complain about your job for years – this is a BIG sign it’s time to think of leaving.

Could you survive the next 6 months if you didn’t work?

This is the big money question. Finding a new job is no longer a quick process. The job search process can take 3-6 months or more. I’m not a personal fan of draining your savings. Here are a few tips for navigating the financial transition from one job to another (particularly if you don’t have the ability to lean on the income of a partner or spouse, or if your household can’t make ends meet on one salary)

  • If you are planning on leaving a job, start a separate emergency account and put a little money in each week. This should be separate from your main savings account. Start a cushion for yourself as you prepare for a change.
  • I also tell people to consider “stepping stone” jobs. These are the in between jobs you may take until you find your next big career move. This could be temp work, part-time work for a friend, or temporary or contract work.
    • IMPORTANT: Make sure you build in time to be applying for jobs and going on interviews. This is why I suggest finding something part-time or flexible while transitioning.

What are your deal breakers for your next job?

In the same way you don’t want to date the same type of person makes you want to tear your hair out, its really critical to notice what you won’t tolerate in your next job.

Ask yourself: “What are my top 2 or 3 deal breakers for my next job?” Maybe it’s having flexible hours or being able to work more with people. Sure some of these may look like a wish list (an even perhaps idealistic!)

Why even do this? This will help you perform a smarter job search, find organizations that are a cultural fit for you and provide you with great questions to ask perspective employers.

These are questions you need to consider, but catch yourself if you start OVER thinking it!

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