You know it’s bad when those 5 words have become your mantra. I, like many 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings, etc, was stuck in a major career rut. I had a flexible schedule, I was good at my job, I was getting paid enough to live a comfortable life, and I loved my co-workers. I was thankful to have my job..
BUT.. the catch? Wrong industry, wrong job, wrong fit. I wanted to work in the tech industry and wanted an entirely different role. In short, I grew to hate my job because it was not what I wanted to be doing at all. Logic dictated, that it was time to find a new job. Prior to prepping for this, I scoured endless blogs on the topic and realized there was a very skewed perception on how to properly quit a job and the steps to attain a new one.
So here is my gift and advice to those of you who are similarly in my situation: I’m going to help you quit your job tomorrow.
1) Figure out your passion, fast.
“I hate my job, I hate working here! ARGHHH I WANT A NEW JOB!”
“What do you want to do?”
“I don’t know.. I just want a new job.”
Um, no. That’s not how it works. In order to take on your ideal career, you have to focus on what makes you happy and what your strongest skill set is. Then focus on a field that fits your interests and start researching potential jobs for you. Read through job descriptions to see if you genuinely could do the tasks listed. Once you find a good job description – use that as your standard to what jobs you will be hunting for.
2. Make time for your job hunt.
But you probably have no time to work on it, huh? You probably also don’t have time to apply to jobs every day. After work you must be so burnt out from your day job, you just want to go to the gym and cue your netflix. Okay look, I get it. It took me months to make myself actually muster the courage to start working on my resume. Then I abandoned that because I needed 2 weeks to watch the every season of Lost. Then I worked on my resume again after a few months.
My point, is if you have a day job, you are going to be exhausted and disgruntled when you come home. The last thing you want to do is to apply for a new job. However, thats exactly what you need to do if you ever intend on finding a new gig. Make yourself devote 2 hours a night to applying for jobs. I started off applying to 1-2 jobs per night for a month, then slowly it became easier and I was able to apply to many at a time. Point being, man up and make time.
3. Work on your resume. And then work on it again. And again. And again. And again.
Your resume is your bait. A shark doesn’t want boring, monotonous, bland, generic bait. A shark wants the BEST, most appealing, and attractive bait out there.
The first time you work on your resume, you’re going to feel so proud of yourself. Then you’re going to send it out a few times, and get good feedback and bad feedback. Incorporate all of this feedback and keep working on it, until it becomes a cycle. Review listing, adjust resume, apply to job, and repeat. Also save and label all of your resumes and cover letters. I used Google Drive to organize all of my various versions, which was nice because I could access it from my phone or any computer at any time to job hunt.
4. Do not quit your day job.
Growing up, I was raised to value financial independence. I’d been financially independent since college, and didn’t want that to change. I didn’t have parents that would support me and my habits while I sat at home “figuring it out” on their dime. One thing I read a lot of while my initial job hunt started was “I was risky, I quit my job, and have never been happier” – that idea scared me. Though I knew finding a new job in a new industry yielded its risk, I didn’t want to deplete my savings by quitting without any other options.
At the same time, I understand the desperation of disliking your job so much that you want out – however, don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Channel all of that energy to job hunting even more rigorously. Also, make a list of your current and impending finances so you can make a budget, this will aid you once you determine the salary range you are seeking in your next job.
Once you start flooding the market with your resume, you’re going to get calls. Phone interviews, in-person interviews, 6th round interviews, Skype interviews. My advice: Do them all. The more practice, the better. Chances are if you’ve been in a steady job, it has been a while since you’ve interviewed. Practice explaining your skill set, and how you can apply them to the job you are seeking. If an interview prolongs itself to several rounds, so be it – do every round with the same focus and preparation as the last. Job seekers have the upper hand in today’s market, but don’t forget your talent and worth – so learn how to market it well!
6. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments.
Whether this means opening up your job search to similar, if not identical roles, as part of getting your foot in the door to a desired company, or if this means taking a pay cut to get that ideal role – don’t be afraid to give a little. You have your focus set on your ultimate goal, and so long as these adjustments are in align with that, you will fine.
7. Give Proper & Respectful Notice
Trust me, I wanted to go out like a G. I wanted to walk in to my managements office, have a poster board of me in a paradise-like background, throw up a peace sign, and say “I’m out this b-oardroom”.
But I didn’t. Instead, I reflected on all of the good things I learned at my job, and wrote a thoughtful resignation letter, and provided the appropriate notice to my employer. Main point here: Don’t burn bridges. Even if you will never go back to this job, do the right thing and remain respectful.
8. Dont Expect Your World to Change
Congrats, you did it. You busted your behind and put in relentless effort to making sure you found the right fit. BUT, it’s just the beginning. Be prepared to start from the ground up, establish yourself as a hard worker, and under promise & over deliver. Have faith, work hard, and utilize your passion to the fullest! Put in enough effort and I am sure you’ll be uttering those 5 words in no time at all.