10 things I learned when I quit my job without a plan

Career Decision
21 Oct 2022

'I quit’, I said with a certain relief in my voice and it was clear to my superior as well. Well, it sounds dramatic. But this was something I had been thinking about for a long time. And finally found the courage to do. I had given the job everything I could, and I had no complaints about the company either. As I quit my job without a plan, it was quite similar to the drifting of two people who journey together. No hard feelings either way. 

Sometimes, it's so evident on what you should do. You wake up each morning, dreading the fact that you have to walk into the office—same old everything, same old faces, same old walls that creep anxiety into your spine, same old path that brings in an overwhelming desire to just head back home and save yourself a day's worth of losing energy and faking it through and through. Sometimes, it's very clear on what you should do. Just quit, my mind would tell me each day but my body wouldn't listen. I commended my ability on not taking the plunge without a plan, but there was only so much I could do.

My mind gave in, and I quit. There was no turning back after. 

The one thought, however, which was stabbing at my heart was ‘Now what?’ I had quit my job without a plan. I had no idea of what lay in my immediate future or in the distant one. There was a definite certainty about the step that I had taken but it was similar to taking the car out for a drive and then not knowing which road to take. Lost! Yes, I was indeed.

Fast forward to today and I have much to express and so many lessons that I've learned, which I need to reveal.   

Quitting my job saved my life

This might sound like an exaggeration, however, sometimes we don't give ourselves enough credit. Some jobs drain us of our mental health and making mere everyday tasks difficult. Some jobs make coming to work harder than it should be, and this will mentally create a block for any employee from performing to their fullest potential.

I'd like to add that by quitting my job, I put myself first and above everything else. I dreaded working in my previous office and I dreaded performing even the smallest of tasks because I felt taking any step dragging me down. I felt depressed, and I didn't like pushing myself to an extent where I had to pretend to like something I very clearly did not. I was entirely burned out by the time I made my decision, but I personally know that there are several people out there who do not quit even after burning out, and end up working through their mental health—discarding it like I almost did. What we need to focus on here is how important it is to consider our mental healths before our work. If our mental health does not cater to our working atmosphere, then we cannot perform. And ultimately, that is the entire point of it all.

And I can say this very clearly that if I had continued working in my previous work atmosphere, living itself had become a chore. I saved my life by quitting my job.

Can you afford to quit? How much should you save up?

As much as I'd want to tell you that quitting is easy and doesn't require any planning at all, it's not all that simple. It's always best to save up close to at least three months' salary before you quit, because it's an area of uncertainty when you do quit and don't have an offer. If you have an offer, then there's nothing to worry about. However, if you don't, you will need some money saved up.

Having a reservoir to protect you when you leave your job will give you financial security so that you can further your plans and find something you're looking for. You won't be in a hurry to settle down again, and make the same mistake of finding a job just for its money. With some financial comfort cushioning your decision, it'll be ten times easier for you to make a lasting decision that can impact you in the most positive of ways. Live your life in a way where you are aware of exactly how much you need in order to live your life, and make cuts if necessary.

However, quitting a job that's literally sucking the life out of you takes commendable effort, and if you're planning on going along with it, which I think you should if you're really not happy, then I would like to present the 10 most important things that mattered when I quit my job without a plan.

#1. The leap of faith was not only necessary but important 

You may have heard it a million times but breaking out of your comfort zone is extremely important. Feeling vulnerable, scared, and uncertain of the future is extremely important. It prepares you for the worst, it may even show you the worst, but when you come out of it, your personality would have evolved for the better.

#2. Helps you identify your true support 

The fact of any uncertainty in life is that it certainly helps you identify your true friends. The initial backing of people you know may start to fizzle out if you get into a slump or if your slump continues for long. But those who stand by you during this period would stand by you at every moment.

#3. Shows you a different side of yourself  

When you do not have a backup plan and have also quit your job, the days do start becoming longer and hope thins out. And god forbid if you get into a desperate situation, then it reveals to you, the side of your personality which hadn’t known before. You may feel scared of yourself.

#4. Approval doesn’t matter  

There will come a moment of clarity, in a situation like this, when you would realize that someone else’s approval never mattered and the times you beat yourself for thinking how others perceive you had been a waste. At the end of the day, how you feel about yourself and what you think about yourself is all that matters.

#5. You matter most

Ultimately, if your job isn't making you happy or keeping you satisfied—two of the key things that your job must ensure, it's time to move on. Put yourself above every other factor. It isn't worth it if you keep holding on to something, knowing that it's eating you up from the inside. 

You are the one who matters more than your job does, and it's only when you feel mentally up to it that you can invariably do well in your job too. Being unhappy on the job declines performance, and this, in turn, declines your overall attitude that you bring to work too. Don't do this to yourself.

#6. Do this and know what's next

More often than not, it's when you put a stop to something do you realize where you want to begin next. It's intrinsic, but the voice will call out to you and will eventually show you what you are really interested in. Sometimes, we need to eliminate the wrong answers before we get to the right one. And there is absolutely no shame in doing so. The longer you take, the surer you can get. And if it's just once, it's like hitting two fruits with one stone!

#7. You are not your job

Sometimes, when you look at things from a distance, you realize that there isn't much you are contributing to—if you are not happy in the first place. Quitting a job seems difficult for us because sometimes, we become the job. We get so caught up with how we are going to work every day, meeting the same people, doing the same things—on repeat—we fail to realize that there is more to life than just our work. 

We talk about our work, we go to sleep thinking about our work and if these are not sure signs that this is toxic behavior, then nothing else will hit the board like this. You are not your job, your job is merely a small part of your entire life. Make sure you affirm this through to your mindset.

#8. Find yourself

Sometimes, we get lost with what doesn't matter. We get so comfortable with the daily lives that we fail to see that there's more to us than what we are doing. We won't even realize we are unhappy until we introspect, and when we do realize it, it hits us out of the blue. It's best to know who you are before figuring out what you need to do. It's absolutely alright to take your time with this, and it's absolutely alright to take a break from work, especially if it's making you feel worse. 

If your work induces existential questions and probably a crisis in you, it's best to take a step back and rethink your choices. Find yourself, so that you can find happiness as well.

#9. Better ideas, better life

If quitting is not a sure sign of finding and exploring new ideas, then nothing can be! Use this chance to learn more about your own interests and about the world. Maybe, this will give you a chance to explore things you may have never heard of before or have only ever wondered with a farsighted thought in mind. Maybe, you can work something out and land on an idea that can change your life for the better!

After all, it's always better to choose happiness over routine, and what's better than a break to decide that for you? Ideas can change your life, and sometimes, a clear head can give you ideas you never thought you could conjure! Walking out of my job changed my life for the better and the fact that I am able to write about it is a sign that it only got better for me. So, why not?

#10. It makes you stronger, confident, and ready for the next adventure  

When you face difficult times and then emerge out of it, you emerge stronger and more confident in your own abilities. And this is a fact which has been time-tested and almost universally agreed upon. A leap of faith is, sometimes, what it takes to learn how to fly.

While I may have provided only a few of my learnings here, the fact is that the experience helped me grow as a person in ways I cannot put into words. Things changed, life changed, my perspective changed, but it changed for the better. Cheers! 

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