Whether you’re planning to go into business for yourself or change jobs, or you’re tired of the same old 9 to 5, don’t make the mistake of leaving your job without planning ahead. If you’re ready to quit your job and want to know how much you should save up before you do so, consider the following tips.
Have an ICE Account (or a Fuck Off Fund)
You may have two or three names saved in your phone preceded with the acronym ICE — in case of emergency. Keeping an ICE savings account with three to six months of living expenses is something many financial planners recommend. Six months would be the ideal. The more you make at your current position, the longer it might take you to find a new one.
When considering what constitutes your living expenses, you should look at what it will cost for your rent or mortgage and essential utilities. Cable or dish television is not an essential. You may need to eliminate some of the comforts you enjoy while you have a steady income if you decide to quit your job or find yourself unemployed. Look at where you can cut back or eliminate some of your current expenses to start saving now.
Practical energy saving habits such as turning unused lights off, having a programmable thermostat and washing only full loads of clothes or dishes in your dishwasher can cut your electric or gas bill. Other essential expenses, like auto insurance, may be lowered by getting a new quote or bundling coverage with home or rental insurance. If you’re paying a high interest rate for credit cards, you may be able to call the company and get it lowered.
Look Before You Leap
Don’t make an impulse decision to quit your job after a rough day at work. If you have problems on your job that could possibly be resolved, give your employer the opportunity to make things right. Ask to speak to your supervisor about your concerns, financial needs or assistance with your workload. Sometimes a weekend away from the job is enough to make you realize that a rash decision to leave may not be the wisest.
If you decide you simply can’t stay at your job, don’t burn that bridge on your way out. You might not use your former job as a reference, but if you eventually return to work in the same industry you don’t want to be blacklisted. Ask a trusted co-worker how past resignations were handled. Give your employer the courtesy of at least a two week notice, but be prepared to be immediately escorted out the door.
If you didn’t sign a non-compete agreement when you were hired, consider doing some consulting work or starting your own business. If you did sign one, be aware of any enforceable time limits. Some companies consider anything you wrote or created while employed to be their property. Removing something to use in your portfolio that is company property could get you arrested if you signed a proprietary property agreement when hired.
You must abide by anything you signed when you were hired, especially a confidentiality agreement. If you have personal files on your work computer, which isn’t a good idea, make sure they’re removed before you give notice. No matter how angry you are if you leave on bad terms, don’t damage any company owned equipment or format the hard drive on the office computer. Vandalism is illegal and it can make it difficult to find future work or clients. And if you have access to your company’s social media accounts, please refrain from expressing your anger through them.
If leaving for another job, obtain evidence of your hire in writing before giving notice to your old job. Your employer may want to see what they can do to convince you to stay. They may make you a counteroffer, so know how you will respond if they do. Counteroffers typically are financial, so if you are leaving for reasons other than money, realize that the situation may not change if you stay. The increase in pay might be nice for a while, but you may eventually leave anyway.
Regardless of your reasons for wanting to quit your job, think it through. Impulse decisions, especially if you are the primary breadwinner in your family, are rarely the best solution.