Exit Strategy: 6 Questions to Ask Before You Quit Your Job

exit strategyReady to quit your job? That may be fine. But what is your exit strategy?

No matter how dissatisfied or ill-fitting your current job is, you probably need the money and/or stability. And that’s not all. Studies show the longer you are unemployed, the more difficulty you’ll have getting hired. Fair or unfair, that’s the reality.

So if you’re considering quitting your job, keep in mind that it’s best to have a new job lined up first.

Before you quit your job, develop an exit strategy by asking (and answering) the following six questions.

Why do I want to leave?

This sounds like a simple question, but dig deep for the answers. List all the reasons yfor your dissatisfaction with your job and be specific. Your list may include things like being underpaid, inattentive management or a long commute.

Now list everything you like about your job. Maybe you enjoy the people you work with or the clients you serve. Having a concrete list you can look at and evaluate helps lessen some of the emotional elements of your decision. Use your pros and cons list to help you identify what might be salvageable and what to look for in your next job.

Do I need to leave this company to get what I want?

Sometimes it is easier to stay where you are and try to work things out before jumping ship. Have you tried talking with your manager or is manager part of the problem? Who else can you turn to for advice on how to remedy the situation?

If you are feeling bored, can you find additional assignments or projects to take on at work? Don’t overlook activities outside of work. Volunteering may fulfill your desire to take on more responsibility. You may even research courses that would enhance your career.

Maybe you need a mentor, This would be a great time to identify someone you respect, inside or outside your company, and ask if they can help you with important career decisions.

What is my exit strategy?

Landing a new job is a lot of work and will take longer than you want. If you think all you need to do is apply for jobs online, think again. There are a lot of people out there looking for new jobs right now.

Set your exit strategy in place including how you will land your next job. Give yourself a deadline and dedicate time each week to meet with people you know and network with people you’d like to meet.

You’ll also feel like you have more control over the process if you proactively reach out to people and target companies you like.

What companies are a fit for me?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could search companies by culture? You can’t…yet. But you can read anonymous employee reviews on Glassdoor.

The best way to find the right opportunities faster is to search companies who are likely to hire people with your skills and background or at least have the types of roles you are interested in. Begin researching these companies.

You may have heard about the hidden job market. This implies that the best jobs are never advertised, but instead filled through word-of-mouth. How do you find out about these opportunities? By talking with people.

Use LinkedIn to identify people you can contact inside companies you are interested in and conduct informational meetings. Learn what they like about working there, how they got their job and other questions.

Who can I turn to for help?

List all the people you know who can help with your exit strategy. Friends, family and don’t forget past co-workers. These old work pals probably work for a company that interests you. Let them know you are open to new opportunities and be as specific as possible as to the type of role and companies you are interested in.

Recruiting agencies are another option. Reach out to recruiters who specialize in your area of expertise and let them know you are in a confidential search.

How can I survive in my current situation?

Even if you decide to leave your job, unless you have saved enough money, of course, you still need to hold on to it,  Do you have six months of savings you don’t mind burning through?

As for your sanity, think about what you need to do to survive in your current job. Avoid pesky co-workers, avoid conflict and don’t let your work or attitude slack.

After all, you want to leave this job on your terms, not someone else’s.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa.


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Hannah Morgan hiring prosAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa. And follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!



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