September of 2011 brought in the highest number of resignations in a one month period since November of 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This may come as a surprise considering the weak jobs market – it was recently reported that unemployment filings had exceeded projected forecasts.

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So what gives? What did 2 million Americans in September know that the rest of us didn’t? Or, were they just irrationally acting on a whim? There can be many possible answers to these questions, but the most important question to answer is: were they ready?

One untold secret of tough economic times is that they are the best times to start a business for four main reasons:

  • Brand Loyalty is weakened.
  • Lowered overhead costs.
  • Bigger employee pool.
  • Competitors are suffering too.

Could this large percentage of people leaving their jobs be dreamers hopefully to finally start that business they dreamt of? Some of them possibly, but definitely not all of them. A lot of people do not have the same company loyalty more commonly associated with older generations, and even more are looking for a job that fits their lifestyle, i.e day care centers, flexible hours and variety of projects.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, prosperity coach Randy Gage, brings up a good point, “Playing it safe is the new risky, and being risky is the new safe…today, staying with one company is the riskiest thing to do. I think what’s happening is a lot of people are saying, ‘I don’t trust corporate America is going to take care of me anymore.”

If you’re one of those people at a big corporate job thinking about making the leap? It’s important to make sure you are emotionally and financially ready.

Are You Ready to Quit Your Job

First off, think about why you are quitting. Is it something you can control? Are you not getting paid enough, engaged by your work or getting along with a coworker? If it’s something you think you can resolve with HR or talking to your boss, you should first try to work together in order to find a way to stay at the company. If not, be sure not to burn bridges and consider these steps:

1. Figure Out What You Want To Do

Do you want a new job? Do you want to take a break? Whatever it is you choose to do, it’s important to first set up a schedule outlining what it is you want to do. For example if you would like some time off to write or do any other hobby make a goal of how much you get done i.e. 10 pages a day or go fishing once or twice a week.

Sometimes when you have this game plan you can find side work for supplementary income. If you want to look for a new job, force yourself to apply to 10 companies a week, or more if you are able to. By creating schedules to stick to you won’t fall off the face of the earth when you don’t have anyone to answer to.

2. Budget Your Monthly Spending

Deciding to quit a job shouldn’t be an overnight decision, unless you have a better one lined up. If you want to quit without first securing another job, you have to see how much you need to survive for at least 6 months. Some may argue 3-4 months is a good amount of time to get a new job, but you want to account for emergencies as well.

3. Whittle This Number Down

See how low you can bring your monthly spending. Cut out everything extra including eating out, drinking, traveling, shopping etc. When you aren’t getting an income, unfortunately you have to give up all these things to survive on your savings.

4. Put it Away (Preferably in a High Interest Account)

There’s no getting around it, APYs stink right now. But in order to really dedicate yourself to this plan you need to put away money and make all the extra on it you can. It most beneficial to use online calculators to compare good savings rates, CD Rates and so on so you will not be tempted to touch the money you put away, while simultaneously earning on it.

5. Sit Back and Save for a Year

A YEAR!? Yes, a year. Listen, as I said before, quitting your job is not a process that should be taken lightly. If you give yourself a year, you can save up the money you will need to live off of for the few months you figure things out, pay off some debt and really evaluate if want to leave this job.

Quitting a job may seem like a really risky, but if you are smart with your finances and have a plan, there is no reason why quitting may be the best decision you’ve made in your life.

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  • The article lists four main reasons its good to start a business in a down economy. I believe reason #5 would be: “You have a lot of free time on your hands, so what else are you going to do.”