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Exit Strategy: 5 Steps To Quit Your Job The Right Way

Don't quit your day job without a plan. Start here.

Workin' Girl

So, you've been in a position for a few years and you've come to the realization that it's just not where you want to be. Or you've been killing it, bringing in top numbers, getting good reviews but still haven't been promoted. Maybe you've been in an industry that's just not a good fit and you want to finally pursue your passion.

Sis, you don't want to overstay your time at a job you hate, or worse, end up becoming miserable, disengaged or a candidate for termination. And you definitely don't want to quit without a plan. Start with these five steps to gracefully exit and successfully transition into your next career opportunity:

How To Quit Your Job The Right Way: 5 Steps

1.Set An Exit Date

Thank you bye

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When you set a date, it adds accountability and gives you something to look forward to. Be realistic and consider factors like your current financial status, the type of industry you're in, the current climate at your office, and how much more you can take. Also, the joy of knowing that you plan to make a move will give you that confidence boost you need when something happens at work that reminds you why you're leaving in the first place.

2.Set Actionable Goals

Black woman thinking writing in notebook

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Create actionable daily and weekly goals that will help you get to the job or company you want. Whether it's enrolling in courses for certificates, seeking out knowledge that will make you more marketable, or committing to sending at least 10 resumes a week, be sure you're actively working toward your goal daily or weekly. Keep track of your efforts via journal or log them electronically in a Google calendar. Set alerts and reminders, and include an accountability partner such as a career coach, mentor or trusted friend.

3.Keep Showing Up

No longer interested

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Remember your why and continue doing excellent work at your current job. Knowing the purpose of your efforts and focusing on excellence will ensure you leave your current job in good standing. The current job is paying your bills and you should think of it as a blessing. When at work, remain professional and continue to take advantage of opportunities to expand your knowledge and soft skills. Great recommendations or reputation will only help you in the long run.

4.Network, Network, Network

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Attend networking events and join organizations related to the industry you want to transition into. Not only will this boost your spirits and present opportunities to socialize with like-minded professionals, but you might also come across the job opening of your dreams. Commit to attending at least two networking events a month. Also, create your own personal business cards and carry resumes if the event is focused on new openings.

5.Stack Your Coins

On a budget

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Stack your money and save it in an exit fund. You may find that you simply want to resign, relocate, or take some time off to truly examine what you love. While working, set aside funds via an online bank or savings account that you won't be tempted to tap into. Keep track of your retirement account and the company contributions in case you need to one day tap into your 401K. You can also consult with a financial adviser or a professional at your bank to set a savings goal for the day you are ready to make your move. Having a lump sum to fall back on is yet another confidence boost for the days you loathe going to work every day.

Take charge of your career by being the master of it. Creating an exit strategy will make things that much easier for you when you're ready to say goodbye to your current gig.

Featured image by Shutterstock.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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