Updated: Sep 10, 2023

4 Questions to Answer Before Switching Jobs That Indicate You're Ready to Quit

Switching jobs can be a great experience, but you've got to keep a few things in mind in order to find success. Read on to learn more.
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For a lot of people, the daily grind starts to catch up after a while.

Those who have been working the same job for years likely know all too well just how taxing an experience it can be to show up each day when the passion leaves the building, and while this isn't always the case, it's a common issue among professionals in today's world.

Even if your job pays more than you ever thought you might be able to earn, the stress and anxiety that could potentially be present can be enough to cause one to fall to their knees over a long enough period of time.

As anyone who has ever left a job knows, doing so can be easier said than done. This is especially true for those who are already making good money, as the risk can be immense.

Still, many people find themselves in a position where the pull to switch careers up can be overwhelming, in which case they often begin looking for a new job.

Even in today's competitive job market, the need for change can be extremely persuasive.

If you're currently in a state where you feel as if you've had enough of the job you're working (no matter how much it pays), you've got to ensure that you're taking the right steps before making any quick decisions.

Jumping into a situation blindly is one of the biggest mistakes a person can make, and the repercussions can be immense.

Take the following tips into consideration, however, and you'll be well on your way towards breaking the monotony of your current job and forging a promising new career.

1. Can You Afford to Switch Jobs?

One of the most important things to think about before you make a push towards taking a new job is whether or not you can actually afford to do so.

When you're in a hurry to transition into a new job, it can sometimes be necessary to take a pay cut. No one wants to make less money, but sometimes the pull towards getting a new job can be so strong that compensation takes a backseat.

Even so, you need to take all of your financial responsibilities into close consideration before you make any quick decisions, as you don't want to end up in a position where you'll be shorting yourself at the end of each month.

Expert Advice
James Allen, CPA, CFP<sup>®</sup>, CFEI
James Allen, CPA, CFP®, CFEI
Founder, Billpin.com

What would be the ideal level of financial preparedness for someone who is thinking about quitting?

Don't leap before you look at the bank ledger. Quitting without financial backup is like skydiving without checking if your parachute works first.

So what's the ideal preparation? At least six months’ living expenses as a safety net.

Bills won't pay themselves while you're job hunting or decompressing pre-transition. Consider obligations too - mortgage, cars, student loans. Have a plan to keep up with payments when paychecks stop.

Build up savings so you can shift careers on your terms, not out of desperation. Financial freedom affords flexibility. But, budget realistically for your needs and priorities. With smart planning, you can take career risks confidently.

For best results, it can be helpful to work with a financial advisor who can take a look at your current situation and provide you with insight about what you'll need to make salary-wise in order to avoid falling behind.

Even if you're dying to get out, making a decision that leaves you with less money than you need each month is akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

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2. Is There Room for Upward Mobility in Your New Job?

If the position that you're thinking about taking is one that will leave you with less money than you make at the moment, not all hope is lost in terms of recovering financially.

The most important thing to recognize is that a new job should always come with the possibility of moving up in the ranks, in which case you'll no doubt see a salary increase.

In this way, transitioning can be much less stressful, as you'll know that there will be more money down the road.

Be sure to discuss the position at length and ask whether or not there is a chance for upward mobility. If the answer is no, you'll want to look elsewhere.

3. What Do the Benefits Look Like?

Many people who end up taking a pay cut by switching careers focus on the negatives.

Indeed, it's not easy to watch your bank account begin to diminish as a result of bringing in less money each month, but it's important to remember that salary isn't everything.

Sometimes, benefits count just as much as salary, and if you can find a job that comes around with a strong benefits package, taking the pay cut may actually be more worth your while than you originally thought.

This is especially true for those who currently work a job that doesn't come along with a good amount of benefits, as health insurance, 401k and other benefits are often worth their weight in gold.

Always sit down and do a comparison of what you stand to gain vs. lose before choosing the route you're going to take next in life.

4. Will the Job Improve Your Resume?

In many cases, people who switch careers do so because they're looking to climb the professional ladder.

Doing so often takes years of hard work, and the more you can do to streamline things, the more likely it is that you'll achieve your goals.

If you're currently making a lot of money but your job title isn't exactly what you'd like it to be, making the switch to a new career can be an effective way to move towards the top.

When approaching a new position, always ensure that the title you'll end up with will be superior to that of the job you're leaving.

If you're currently in a coordinator position, for example, look to make a switch that will make you a manager of some kind.

Many people don't realize that, even though title can be arbitrary, the benefits of having a strong title on one's resume can be immense. Always try to move upwards title-wise, as there's simply no time to backtrack in this regard.

James Allen, CPA, CFP<sup>®</sup>, CFEI
James Allen, CPA, CFP®, CFEI
Founder, Billpin.com

Quitting with class is an art. Do it right, and you secure professional karma points. Do it wrong, and you torch bridges brighter than a marshmallow roast.

Give proper notice, usually two weeks, but longer for senior roles. Offer to tie up loose ends or train a replacement. Document your work and leave things organized. Resist the temptation for smack talk, hostile emails, or stealing staplers on your way out.

Switching jobs is something that should never be done without the right amount of thought and deliberation, but in some cases, it's one of the best moves a person can make.

Adhere to the advice above, and you'll be far more likely to achieve success than if you were to simply jump in unprepared.