Planning to quit your job? 3 key things to think about first

Handing in your notice is a big decision. By planning it properly, you can ensure your career change goes smoothly while making the most of new opportunities and rising wages.
Written by Pallavi Kenkare, Associate Editor
Image: sharpshutter/GETTY

Considering quitting your job and moving on to greener pastures? Reports indicate that now is the time. As the Great Resignation continues to sweep the US, the job market remains strong. There were 11.3 million jobs open in May 2022 alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

However, quitting your job can be arduous and anxiety-inducing, if not downright unpleasant – and with multiple moving parts, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. If you're thinking of making your next career move, here are three key things to keep in mind before submitting your notice. 

1. Make sure you're financially stable

Perhaps the most important thing to consider before resigning from your job is your financial state. Ideally, you'd want to resign from your current job and accept a new position that offers equally or more attractive compensation. This position might be achievable at the moment – Willis Towers Watson, an insurance consulting company, reports that employers are budgeting an overall average salary increase of 3.4% in 2022. Indeed, within the tech sector, the average salary for professionals hit a record high of $104,566 in 2021, and has continued to rise through 2022. 

However, this is the best-case scenario, and isn't always possible. If you are going to resign without another employment offer, there are other factors you should consider. Do you have an emergency fund containing enough money to sustain a basic lifestyle for three to six months, as you job hunt and figure out your next steps? If you do, you could be in a comfortable position to resign from your job. Another consideration: are you currently in debt? If you are, keep in mind that any period of time after your resignation will be a period of time you may not be able to contribute money towards your loans, while interest continues to accrue. This will impact both your purchasing power and your ability to pay down your debt. 

2. Consider your benefits

If you plan to submit your resignation and begin a new job, make sure to ask about your new company's health, vision and dental coverage and monthly premiums, as well as mental health and career development benefits. These should be major factors when considering a new position, and are slowly hitting mainstream career offerings. For example, over the next two years, 94% of HR leaders surveyed in a SoFi report said they will have a budget for employee financial wellbeing benefits and three-fourths said their budgets will increase. 

Further, you should inquire about your new company's 401(k) and match policies. Ideally, your new company's match policy should be equal to, or better than, your old employer – and if it isn't, you should consider negotiating for a higher salary or starting bonus to cover the discrepancy.

SEE: Want flexible working or better benefits? Here's how to negotiate with your boss

If you are quitting without another employment offer, you will likely no longer be able to access your company's health, vision or dental insurance. To solve this problem, many turn to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Cobra will allow you to extend the coverage your previous employer offered, but will charge you both the premium you were paying and the premium your company covered, as well as an additional fee. Keep in mind that, although COBRA can be a great interim solution, it is pricey in the long run. 

3. Think about your relationship with your current employer

Before you leave your company, it might be worthwhile to ask yourself if leaving is the best or only option. For example, if you think you are not being compensated sufficiently and have a job offer that extends a better salary, you could be able to use your offer as leverage and negotiate with your current employer for a higher wage. If you have a difficult professional relationship with a coworker or manager, you may seek your HR Department's advice and support before leaving your job altogether.

SEE: Boomerang employees could be your best bet for fighting the talent shortage

However, if you simply do not desire to work with your current employer any longer, your next step is to give your employer notice of your resignation. Though two weeks is the traditional notice period, you may choose to give notice even earlier in order to ease or assist with the burden of hiring a replacement for your role, as well as to give yourself a less hectic transition period. Remember the importance of leaving your company on good terms; the fewer bridges you burn, the more options you afford yourself in the future. 

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