Looking at the title of this article, some of you might already have an answer in mind: No! Absolutely not. No way. That would just be foolish, right? Who would give up their steady paycheck in the middle of the healthcare apocalypse? But the truth is, it's a little more complicated than that. Given we spend the majority of our time at work on a daily basis, it's important to consider more than just the paycheck and benefits when you are assessing whether or not you should quit your job right now. If you're in the midst of making this decision, I've got you covered with some key things to think about or act on before taking the leap:
1. Consider why you want to quit your job.
Is it for a better opportunity? Is it due to a toxic work environment? Are you trying to avoid upcoming layoffs? Are you simply no longer happy? Is your mental health being affected? Determine the real reason you want to leave. It's important to be as honest with yourself as possible.
2. Evaluate other options before leaving.
It's easy to hopscotch right into handing in a resignation, but I recommend evaluating what else can be done before walking out. All organizations have their challenges, and if the challenges where you are can be resolved, it saves you from taking on new issues at a company you're not familiar with. If it's your work subject matter that presents the issue, discuss your role with your manager to see if there are opportunities to shift your focus.
If your workload has increased significantly and you are unable to meet the new requirements, discuss with your supervisor what work needs to be prioritized, and what work can be distributed to the rest of the team. If it's an issue with your direct supervisor, investigate whether you can be moved to another team within the organization.
3. Determine your game plan.
Create a defined path forward for leaving your job. Identify the companies and specific positions you may want to pursue. Conduct a self-evaluation to assess the work that you will find fulfilling in a new role. Take an inventory of your existing network and current connections to determine who may be able to make introductions at your potential employers or help you secure the new position. It's also important to revise your career documents (resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter) to align with the positions you are applying for, incorporating relevant experiences and accomplishments to ensure you will be able to stand out in the candidate pool.
4. Assess your financial stability.
Are you in a place right now where you can be unemployed for a period of time? Unless you have another secured offer in place in writing, quitting your job can prove to be risky from a financial standpoint. Determine whether or not you can take on the financial burden of being without employment for an undefined period of time, given there is no guarantee of when you will be able to lock in a new role. Evaluate whether you have an adequate amount of savings to sustain you while you're unemployed, as the job search can take anywhere from three to six months. If not, you may want to consider holding out at your workplace a little longer.
5. Evaluate the mental and emotional toll of finding new work.
Given 2020 was an extremely difficult year, and 2021 may not see much improvement until probably Q2 or Q3, determine whether you are ready to take on the emotional impact of a job search and starting a new role. It takes time to get up to speed in a new role, earn credibility, and build new experience. Therefore, evaluate whether or not quitting your current role will bring you additional anxiety and stress in the midst of the pandemic.
So if you were seeking an easy "yes" or "no" answer to the question "Should you quit your job during a pandemic?", there isn't one. It truly is a personal decision based on your personal and professional goals. Yes, you can absolutely quit your job successfully during the pandemic because companies are still hiring, but it does require you to take time to evaluate your choices and weigh your options before leaving your job.
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