By Kailey Brennan
You might find yourself in a situation where you need to leave your job immediately. Whether it’s for your own safety, mental or physical health, or maybe you have realized the job is simply not what you thought—it might mean quitting without a backup plan. And that’s okay! Some may tell you to never quit your job until you have another one lined up, but if you find yourself in a situation where you simply can’t stay, trust yourself.
However, despite your decision, you may yourself saying, Holy crap, I quit my job. Now what am I going to do? Take a deep breath and rest assured—we’ve been there and have got you covered.
1. Put it all in perspective
First things first, I’d like to remind you that your job does not define you. Your job isn’t who you are, it’s simply what you do. You don’t need other people’s approval to justify your decision to impulsively quit your job. Odds are, they are actually impressed or even jealous that you had the courage to take a step towards change. To quote my mother: You don’t need to justify, explain or defend. Be confident in your decision and proud of the leap of faith you took to better your life.
2. Create mental space
Sometimes you are so burnt out by the situations you dealt with at your old job that you aren’t quite ready to start job-hunting the moment you quit. You may feel like you lost your mojo or like your spark has been dulled. Take this time without a job to create healthy mental space for yourself.
First and foremost, listen to your body. Our bodies often know us better than our minds do. Rest if you need to. Cut out social media for a day to allow space to focus on what you actually want out of life. Take a long walk. Meditate. Organize your living space so it’s comfortable and decluttered.
Before spending your energy on job hunting, creating space mentally will help you decompress, find your center, and stay positive/ Plus, it can give you the stamina to pursue your next career.
3. Keep a journal
Journalling is a highly effective tool for reducing stress and anxiety, enhancing overall well-being, and boosting creativity—all of which you will need in this next chapter of your life. If you quit your job without a plan, keeping a journal throughout the aftermath is a healthy way to organize your mental space while getting your anxieties, questions, and negative thoughts onto the page. In addition to examining your shifting perspectives, relieving tension, planning your options, and considering multiple outcomes of your situation, journalling can even strengthen your immune system.
Journalling also helps you when you are ready to job search. If you are at a loss for which direction to take your job hunt, writing down lists of your interests, career goals, and dream company culture can help you narrow your focus.
4. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile
Even if you aren’t ready to dive into your job search yet, start by updating your resume and Linkedin profile. These can be time consuming projects but necessary to your upcoming employment search. Make sure your resume is up to date and fully reflects your latest skills and accomplishments.
Your LinkedIn needs to be up to date with a summary and a note that you are currently looking for a job. Maybe add a few new connections while you are at it. Unless this job gap lasts more than a year, there’s no need to explain it on your resume.
5. Schedule time to job hunt
With all this free time, you might feel like you need to spend every moment applying for jobs. Please don’t do that. Instead, schedule time to apply for jobs throughout your day with breaks in between. Following a clear schedule will keep you focused and organized and creating space for breaks will help prevent discouragement and burnout.
And remember, you don’t have to apply for every job you see. Consult the list you made in your journal to narrow your focus and remind you of what you truly want out of a job.
6. Pick up a side gig or part-time work
Taking a part time gig while you are searching for full-time employment is a great way to keep money coming in—decreasing the pressure to get hired immediately. Use this time to explore your interests: Maybe you love to cook and have always wondered what it would be like to work in a restaurant kitchen. Maybe reading is your thing and want to try selling books at a local bookseller. Maybe you always wondered if you could make it as a writer or designer.
Part-time hours give you time to keep applying and scheduling interviews while you try out something new.
If you aren’t worried about money, why not take the time in between job searches to take a class? Explore your interests even further by learning a new skill. Local community colleges or recreation centers have a range of classes from art to graphic design to technology to kick boxing. Use this time to find out more about yourself and maybe even build up your resume.