Your boss once again berated you in front of your coworkers, and worse, a client. Your boss sabotaged your work to make you look bad. Then, stole credit to make herself look better. Afterward, everyone in the office got a raise, except you. You’re ready to speak your mind and quit—who cares whether you have a new job to go to on Monday morning? Actually, you should care. Most of the time.
Sometimes, you do need to quit. If your doctor, your spouse or your gut is telling you your life is at risk if you remain at your job—then walk out that door. A job that creates high levels of emotional stress, forces you to do back-breaking physical labor, prevents you from sleeping or forces you to forego needed medication may not be worth the risk of a heart attack or worse. Sadly, the recent death of someone very close to me may be partly to blame on his job. Family members had begged him to quit but he passed away before he could take that step.
But most of us, no matter how bad the situation, can and should keep working until we have a new job lined up.
Look at your budget. If you’re not independently wealthy or have a five-figure savings account, swallow your pride and keep working. It’s harder to qualify for unemployment benefits if you quit. Even if you get unemployment benefits—and that’s not guaranteed—those benefits are temporary and won’t replace your entire income. Instead of quitting, channel the energy you use complaining about your bad boss and/or coworkers into looking for a new job. Make sure you do your looking and networking during your off hours.
Look at how you’ll feel. Even with a sterling resume and a big pep talk before every interview, jobless you risks sounding desperate or edgy compared to the next candidate who still has a job. The longer you’re without work, the longer that gap on your resume, the more needy you may feel—and act.
Look at how you will appear to a potential boss. Remember the time you had a choice of everyone in the singles bar but were attracted to the guy or gal who was clearly with someone else? Yup, hiring managers feel the same way. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Would you prefer to offer a job to someone who already has a job and is looking to move up…or someone who’s ‘between jobs,’ aka out of work.
Consider the temptation to accept another bad job. If you remain jobless for weeks or months, you may be tempted to accept an offer that’s not ideal in terms of pay, benefits, the boss or other working conditions. Then you’ll find yourself starting over at the top of this story. Once you start looking and hearing about salaries and benefits, meeting potential bosses and coworkers, you may decide the grass on your side of the fence is greener than you thought.
Finally, cut expenses to save money as you work to land your dream job. And when you do land it, spend your savings and your between jobs time on vacation raising a toast to your new gig. When I got a new job, I negotiated a three-week gap, enough time for two weeks notice at the old, bad job and a week free. I spent that week at the beach letting go of anger and recharging my battery without burning any vacation days. I walked into my new gig on Monday morning with a smile, ready to work hard and succeed.