In my career, I have quit jobs 3 times without having another in hand. This is not a motivational post to inspire you to do the same. Quite the contrary. I do not recommend doing this just for a lark. But I would like to share what worked for me.
It is only with the luxury of hindsight that one can connect the dots or see patterns. Here are some common themes I can now see:
1) Each time it was a thought- through decision. Even in some trying circumstances, I didn’t quit in a huff
2)While I say thought-through, I realize there was a strong element of intuition every time. There was no internal dissonance about the decision. Daunting? Undoubtedly. But I was at peace, the inner equilibrium was not under attack.
3)Despite the apprehensions, I was optimistic, hopeful, and looking forward to the next step. Some call it +ve Mindset, or Attitude, or even Energy and Vibrations. I believe this is critical to attract and receive opportunities.
4) I was realistic. I had budgeted for 3-6 months in my mind. This helped me stay calm. Well mostly! When I did have an occasional panic attack, I was able to tell myself that I have more time and that I just need to be patient.
5) I was clear that I was moving towards (or creating) better ‘life’ outcomes, profession being a very important, yet one part of it.
6) When I quit the first time, I barely had any bank balance. I had to depend on my parents. I didn’t take any money from them, but I was living with them so my living expenses were covered. The other two times I had a nest egg in place – not large, but enough to keep me self-sufficient and confident (with occasional dips naturally!)
7)I had a supportive family. They didn’t get my decisions, but always stood by me.
8) I had started the job search before I quit. While searching, I was looking for just ‘better’, not ‘perfect’ opportunities. This helped expand my vision and playing field.
9) My memory isn’t perfect here, but I do not remember being very concerned about career gaps. I do remember an interview or two where I was comfortable talking about having quit already. But guess what? Except one time, I did land jobs without having a visible career gap. And even had the luxury of declining offers.
10) I had faith – in God, the Universe, the divine plan, whatever. I knew I wasn’t meant to remain unemployed forever. I was afraid, but more than that, I was grateful, that I had the luxury of making the choice to quit, not having dependents, not being desperate. This was my superpower. If not for going against some conventional rules (how can you be an unemployed MBA! ) and my ego (how come I’m not getting a job! What will I say if someone asks what I do?) I had little else to be truly worried about.
How did I get the jobs I did? Well, that’s a story for another day. But please tell me, do any of the above resonate with you too?