So you have probably given this quitting idea some thought. You are unhappy for one reason or another. Overworked, underpaid, minimal vacation time, and probably hundreds of more reasons. I completely understand because I have been there. Now that this sneaky little fantasy has entered your brain, there is no turning back because you are obsessed. You spend free time (at work) researching travel destinations and backpacking gear. If your company did a quick check on your search history, they maybe would see this coming. So, alas, it is time.
Quitting your job is just as stressful as working said job. Planning is key in order to make a clean, amicable exit. You may not be leaving the corporate world forever after all, but embarking on a much needed break. What are the first steps before heading to your boss’s office and calling it quits?
Make sure all of your affairs are in order.
What do I mean by this? Are you the only one who does your job at your company? Do you have a bunch of important papers from what you’ve worked on for the past x years? Make sure your files are organized and ready for handover to your replacement. You want to make this as easy as possible for the company and it will help minimize the possible guilt you could feel about leaving. Also make sure your personal affairs are in order. Does your employer provide your health insurance? Maybe squeeze in one last doctors appointment before making a run for it. Consider the benefits you will lose when you part ways with your company.
Have a rough plan of what you’ll be doing upon departure.
Yes, you are leaving a job without another job lined up. That’s ok! How spontaneous of you! But you don’t want to have nothing planned. You want to travel, duh, but have you thought about where? When will you leave? Do you have enough money saved up? Would it be beneficial to put in a little more time at your job to save more money? Can you get a different temporary job to build up your funds? While others may consider your decision reckless, I am here to tell you it is not, provided you have put some deep and logical thought into the choice you are making.
Write a letter of resignation.
And be careful when you print it on the office printer. I am not an authority on letters of resignation, but make sure you have one. It makes you look professional which is key for future recommendations from your employer.
Give yourself a pep talk and do the deed. It’s quitting time.
The morning I decided to quit, I spent a good chunk of time shaking in my office. I would get up periodically to check if my boss had arrived. When he still wasn’t there I would g-chat my sister and say, “he isn’t here yet.” This cycle continued for the better part of an hour. Finally it was time. My sister said I could do it; I just needed to tell myself I could do it. I went to my boss’s office, letter of resignation in hand, timidly plopped it on his desk (don’t do this, be confident), and embarked on the blabbering journey of an unrehearsed speech. When it was all said and done, my boss’s first words were, “Wow, did you practice that?” He took my resignation so well and told me I was doing the right thing. Now this reaction is not a guarantee, but it surely made me feel lucky to work for someone so understanding. The next step was to repeat my entire undocumented spiel to HR. Of course I could not remember a lick of what I had previously told my boss and I had to start my schtick from scratch. What I do remember is that it culminated with the oldest line in the book, “It’s not you, it’s me.” Go me!
You are free!
Ok, so you probably gave a courtesy two weeks notice and still have work to do, but the feeling of relief is indescribable. Congratulations! Depending on the timeframe you set for yourself, go ahead and rent out your apartment, get your travel vaccines, pack your bags, do a zillion other little destination-specific tasks, and go! There is a whole world out there waiting for you.