is it ever okay to quit a job without a new job lined up?

by Alison Green on December 31, 2012

A reader writes:

Is it over ok to just quit your job but without another job lined up because your current job is seriously awful? Or is it ever okay to quit a job over a terrible commute? I’d give notice, but are these red flags for future employers that you will not be able to overcome?

As someone who’s currently in graduate school, I’m wondering if I can “get away” with quitting (in this economy) without another job or if I would find myself jobless forever.

Well, there are two issues you want to consider here: how long it will take you to find another job, and whether it’s going to be a red flag for employers in the future.

In general, I strongly urge people not to quit a job without another one lined up, because finding another one can take a long time — a lot longer than people expect it to. In this job market, it’s not that unusual for a job search to take a year or more. But that’s not the only problem; there’s also this: Even if your finances allow you to go without work for that long, simply being unemployed — especially for that amount of time — may make it harder to find your next job, because employers tend to prefer to hire people who are already employed.

As for whether it’s going to be a red flag for employers in the future, it probably will be for some. Rightly or wrongly, employers tend to assume that people don’t quit jobs without another lined up unless (a) they were about to be fired, (b) they actually were fired and are just saying that they quit, or (c) they’re potentially someone who walks when things are frustrating, which is worrisome because of course every job will be have frustrations at one point or another.

Now, of course hiring managers do know in theory that some jobs (or bosses) truly are so terrible that a reasonable person might quit with nothing else lined up. But it can be hard to tell from the outside if a situation truly rose to that level, or whether the person’s bar for frustration is low. Hence the red flag.

To be clear, it’s not a deal-breaker by any means — but it’s going to raise questions for some employers, and potentially make your job search harder.

That all said, because you’re in grad school, you might simply be able to say that you wanted to focus more on school for X period of time. (Of course, that only works if you’re not job-searching immediately after quitting.)

Overall, though, as long as you’re not being harassed or abused or asked to do anything illegal, unethical, or unsafe, you’re far better off job-searching while you’re still employed.

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{ 121 comments… read them below or add one }

Construction HR December 31, 2012 at 3:12 pm

In 2005 I was told that I would be out of work 1 month for every $10,000 in annual income I was seeking.

The economy was better then.

Can YOU stand the wait?

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Sabrina December 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Yeah I think it’s closer to 3 -4 months at least. But I think it’s getting better. Or at least everyone I know has better luck than me! :)

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Coelura December 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Your other option is to get on with a contracting company & work contract for awhile. This fits with the theme of needing more flexibility to focus on school. It might also be a better fit with a graduate program. But that depends on your field. My field has a very healthy contract job pool, so I would be able to work contract for awhile.

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Steve G December 31, 2012 at 3:38 pm

In 2008 I did something that seems so stupid and risky now – quit a job (Boss was never happy with me, but would never be, the way the position was structured everyone kept failing one after the other, I found out months in…..) with no job lined up.

There was a catch-22 to the horrible economy – finding a “real” job required so much time I found it impossible to do on top of another job. I ended up spending 7+ hours a day on the job search, and ended up with 7 weeks between the jobs. Having a job, I never would have had time to go on so many interviews and visit personnel agencies, or the stamina to read through so many job ads……

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Abbie January 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm

I ended my employment on 12/31/2012; after working 6 years for my former employer. It was very hard, since I loved my job and my co-workers. However, after 6 years of being personally minimized by my bosses sexual comments, never given credit for my accomplishments, and receiving a performance review via instant message, I had it, and left without having another job. Is been almost a month, and so far I have had 2 person to person interviews, and 4 phone interviews, but not offers. I agree it is very time consuming, and hard to keep motivated. I am trying everything I can to get the job I want, but the waiting part is killing me.

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Deepak Gambhir May 13, 2013 at 10:51 am

Even I resigned…nothing in hand…dont know wat to do

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Anonymous July 19, 2013 at 10:06 am

We share the same story , i have no offers in hand , and i do not know when am i going to find a new one . Perhaps only time will tell . Please update if you have got one now .

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Sasha August 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Dis the same and it’s really hard to survive and no job offer to be seen in the near horizon with only the hopes in hand

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Jenn December 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Don’t do it. Seriously. It’s really, really, really bad out there. And you don’t usually realize just how bad it is when you’re currently working. But trust me: it’s reeeeeally bad.

Get another job first.

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Anonymous_J December 31, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I fullly agree with this. I, too, have an awful job, and I have looked at all options and decided that it’s best to stay where one is (no matter how crappy–unless you are in true physical danger or they are doing illegal things) and look while employed.

Then again, maybe the OP has a safety net–some savings, a spouse or partner who can support them, is living at home, etc.

If you have none of these things, though, I recommend holding your nose and staying put while you look!

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Anonymouse January 2, 2013 at 10:30 am

Even with a safety net the situation can be really really stressful. I agree, you’re better off just sticking with the income and avoiding a gap on your resume until you find something else

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Anon December 31, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Sigh…I wish people wouldn’t do this. Please reconsider.

Unless the situation is truly out of control, like someone hit you or grabbed your behind or something, please suck it up and actively look for a job, get one, give your two weeks notice and bounce.

I’ve worked for jerks and it can be tempting to just walk out…But you are potentially doing yourself far more damage than you are doing to the jerk. Believe that. You don’t know how long it will take you to find another job. You don’t know how long your savings will last. You don’t know if some crazy emergency, like a big car repair or an emergency plane ticket or a pipe goes in your house will pop up. Potential employers will assume you are a flake or a trouble maker, or you really got fired and lied about it, which will prolong your job search.

Look out for yourself. Shore up your resume and cover letter, start actively looking. Yes, you can work and find a job at the same time. No it isn’t fun, but people do it ALL THE TIME. Don’t put yourself in a potentially long-term bad situation over a short-term problem. Everything is but for a time.

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E. December 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm

What if u r on the brink of being fired? I was, and was amicably fired, then asked to resign and was allowed to do so. To get unemployment (which my employer wanted me to have, but it was not up to her), I simply worked a temp job and THEN filed for unemployment. Boom. That became my last job. Totally legal.

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Sam December 31, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Don’t quit without another job lined up. The longest job search I’ve ever had occurred when I was unemployed. (I’m literally shuddering just thinking about it. You should see the grimace on my face.) Why was I unemployed? Because I hated my old job, was in grad school, and had a 60min+ commute each way….

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Anon December 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Me too. I was laid off in 2008 and it took me 16 MONTHS to find another job. Once I got the job…I started getting calls out of the blue asking me to come in for interviews for different jobs. On top of the bad economy (still), there is a bias against the unemployed. No, it isn’t fair but no one said life is fair. Don’t quit without another gig lined up.

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Elizabeth West January 1, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Sorry, but “no one said life is fair” isn’t good enough. This bias against unemployed people in this economy is wrong. WRONG. There are no excuses.

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Ask a Manager January 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Well, the point is to understand how the economy and hiring works so that you can make the best choices for yourself and maximize your chances of a good outcome. Whether it’s fair or not is sort of beside the point — or rather, that’s a whole different topic than how to manage your career.

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Emily December 31, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I did myself terrible damage staying in an awful job. It gave me clinical depression and a long-term anxiety disorder.

I guess you have to decide where your boundaries are, what is causing the job to push against them and what can be done about that. Explore plans B, C, D, etc. while you are still sane, and save every cent you can while you can.

I think it’s helpful to get some help with the above, as it’s difficult to make objective decisions under pressure.

Can you stay with a friend to reduce the commute? Can you find a mentor to help with work problems? Can you take a vacation to get some perspective?

Contract work via friends got me out of the awful job in the end. I wish now that I’d left sooner because of the health problems the job created.

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Miss Displaced December 31, 2012 at 4:20 pm

I guess I take the “other” view.
If the job is truly SO terrible, then be fearless and quit. (Just make sure you can survive financially for a while if you do!)

I wish more employees would take this stance and not put up with jerk bosses and demeaning or abusive situations. There is something very empowering about WALKING AWAY and standing up for yourself if the situation is that bad and no employee or potential employee should be punished for leaving a uncomfortable situation. This is an “at will” working world after all, is it not?

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Anonymous_J December 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm

It’s not empowering when you end up losing your home and starving. Nothing empowering about that at all!

I, too, wish more employees of bad companies would do this. Unfortunately, our society is constructed and operates in a way that makes this–and ultimate survival–impossible for many.

If I could afford to walk, I would have walked YEARS ago! :(

Instead, I’m taking the long road of looking for another job first. I have no safety net.

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Ask a Manager December 31, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Absolutely walk away from bad situations — but I think the point is to find something else before you do, so that you don’t end up in a worse situation (unable to pay bills or forced to take the first job offered to you even if it’s a bad fit, for instance).

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Jamie December 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Yes, it’s at will which ,eans she can walk – but that still doesn’t mean it’s always the smart thing to do.

Like another poster I walked without something lined up in 2008. You’re right, I felt really empowered when I walked away – there is something to that. But that feeling was very fleeting for me, replaced by panic which hit me on the way home and the guilt I felt for my husband suddenly becoming our sole breadwinner. I was able to temp for 80% of the four months I was between jobs…but I don’t do we’ll with panic and uncertainty and personally it’s nothing I’d ever do again – excepting an unlikely lottery win.

In general leaving without something lined up is an empirically bad idea because employers find candidates much more attractive when currently employed. But whether you should leave or not depends on your ability to cope and your financial resources…it’s such a personal call.

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Anon December 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Far more empowering to walk into the jerk’s office, close the door behind you and give your two weeks notice, with a nice new shiny job with a better title/pay/commute/etc., tucked away in your pocket. People give people who couldn’t care less about them way too much power. Believe me, you walk out and the jerk will push your work on someone else. You aren’t “getting the man” you are just possibly setting yourself up for trouble.

No, don’t settle for crap on jobs – find a better one!

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Jamie December 31, 2012 at 4:43 pm

All of this x1000.

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Anonymous January 22, 2014 at 6:18 am

Only a good friend can refer right job for his company or any other sources

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E. December 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm

You are right, and what kinds of ppl get to do this? Ppl like me who saved up their whole lives so they could do it. Yes, I am also blessed with a caring family to help. But those who squandered have to live with it. That is why I BEG ppl to save…when u do, u are not at the mercy of a psychotic maniac.
Anyway, good post. I am with ya.

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E. December 31, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Oh, my note was in response to Miss Displaced.

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EngineerGirl December 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm

It may feel good to walk away, but it is not empowering. Empowering is getting another job and then giving a minimum of 2 weeks notice. That is the socially acceptable method, and ensures that you will be seen more favorably by future bosses.

I would struggle hiring someone that just walked away unless there was physical endangerment. Walking away is a sort of mini temper tantrum, and I see it as juvenile. Adults discuss things to work them out. When they can’t work them out they find ways to move on.

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Maia December 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I would struggle hiring someone that just walked away unless there was physical endangerment.
What about emotionally-damaging situations? An employer doesn’t need to be slapping around their employee for the situation to be unbearable.

Adults discuss things to work them out. When they can’t work them out they find ways to move on.
Isn’t leaving ‘finding a way to move on’? How else would you “move on” without quitting?

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EngineerGirl December 31, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Been there. I worked every connection to get a new assignment and then transferred out.

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jmkenrick January 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I think by find ways to move on, EngineerGirl was referring to finding another position.

But either way, I think her point is reasonable. When there’s lots of good people applying for positions, it’s totally understandable that employers will avoid people with the red flag of having just walked away.

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Jamie December 31, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I think it’s important to note that while I’m sure there are others who, like EngineerGirl, would judge walking out…many wont.

There is an advantage of being employed while looking, no doubt, but personally I think when it’s appropriate to quit without something lined up is a very individual decision and its not my place to sit in judgement. For EngineerGirl physical endangerment is the line. I had a different line, everyone can have a different line and that’s valid for them.

If someone has the means to meet their commitments if they quit, I don’t think other people should minimize valid reasons of leaving a job as a tantrum. That’s harsh, IMO.

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another alison December 31, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I guess my problem with the walker-outers is twofold: 1) In general, I value toughness pretty highly. Physical danger aside, I want to work with people who can take a lot of crap, because we have to. 2) The two people closest to me who did this did it because their bully fathers told them their managers weren’t giving them good treatment -meaning raises and promotions fast enough. Neither one found something better, so maybe they weren’t so special after all. Someone else also thought he was awesome but stayed unemployed 10 months after walking out of a retail job. I haven’t personally seen many people do this for legit reasons. Not that it doesn’t happen, but my views and expereience would color my opnions of candidates.

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EngineerGirl December 31, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Judgemental? You bet! My industry requires someone that can accurately assess risk and find ways to mitigate it. My question: why would you take such a risky path when other options are available? If you could tell me a line of reasoning where this was actually the best choice given the situaion, then fine. But I’ve yet to see it.

The problem, as I see it, is that most people assess the risks poorly. They assign consequences too low, and they assign probability of staying unemployed too low.

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K January 1, 2013 at 11:17 am

But you don’t actually have a complete picture of the risk the candidate was taking by leaving their job. You don’t know their personal financial situation – whether they have a trust fund or a spouse to support them or just saved incredibly well. And you’re not going to have a complete picture of what their previous job was like either. You’re assuming that they bore a similar risk profile to you when you decided not to leave your previous jobs and didn’t evaluate it accurately, but that might not be the case at all.

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Ask a Manager January 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Well, that’s true, but you’ve got to make a lot of judgments in hiring based on limited information that may or may not be true. The hiring manager’s role isn’t to be precisely fair, after all; it’s to find the person best likely to be the right fit for what they need, and some of that includes making judgments based on limited info about who’s too high of a risk (and those judgments might be wrong, something I think most hiring managers are comfortable with as a trade-off for taking on too much risk). So the point, I think, is for job seekers to understand how all this can be perceived by employers so that they can manage their choices accordingly.

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K January 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm

That makes sense to me in terms of the red flags you list in the post, but makes less sense to me in terms of assuming that a candidate who walks away from a job with nothing else lined up is a bad assessor of risk. Requiring a candidate tosufficiently overcome the presumption that they got fired, were about to get fired, or were a whiny prima donna makes sense. But there’s too many variables in each individual’s financial situation to assume that they made a per se bad financial decision in leaving their job.

Unless the answer is that it’s so hard to overcome the presumption that they’re a prima donna or were about to get fired that it’s inherently risky regardless of your financial situation. I’m not sure I buy that though.

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Ask a Manager January 1, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Ah, I see — I missed that you were replying specifically re: the candidate’s own risk assessment!

Mike C. January 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm

How would you ever know that there was physical endangerment issues when all job applicants are told never to speak ill of former employers?

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Anon January 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I’m late to this party post and like Miss Displaced, I have an admiration for peeps that can just up and quit when they’ve had enough. I’ve only done that once and it was in high school.

To each their own of how they choose to leave a bad job situation. Everyone has a threshold.

After 3 months in my former new job, I realized it was a bad fit and toxic environment.that was causing me serious anxiety.

My choice was because of management. Once I knew the issue, I started reaching out to my network and letting them know I was looking.

My managers had no idea that I was looking. The final straw for me was when a manager called me into a meeting and continued to stress how shocked he was that I didn’t apologize to him about an error (long story) made with a client’s account (an error I was told by him that other team members had made as well).

A week later I had a new job offer (more pay, better commute) and I turned in a 1 week notice along with setting up documents for co-workers that would take over my accounts. A two weeks notice would have been too nice in my case.

It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made . My empowerment was that I had something much better waiting for me and I no longer had to put up with a lot of BS.

The look on management’s face when I told them I was leaving…..

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Anon March 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Have you ever worked in the service sector? You don’t just “work things out.” It’s either “do things my way or leave” It’s not juvenile to remove yourself from an impossible uphill battle.

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ItSucked April 20, 2013 at 4:22 pm

What if you walk out after 10 years? I do regret that I didn’t try to find another job first, but I got so tired of my boss telling me everything I did wrong and what I was going to be written up for before I was supposed to go on vacation. She did it all the time, for the five years she was my manager, and always before my scheduled time off. It felt like she was just being petty, or like a form of harassment. Then after she’d tell me everything I was doing wrong, she’d tell me to have “a nice vacation.” This was a repetitive thing.

One day I was scheduled to come in earlier for my shift, and she actually drove by my apartment in the morning to see if I was on my way. It was absurd. I tried to be mature about things and talk to her about it, I even tried to talk to HER manager about things, but she would make my discussions with her sound as if I was being disrespectful just for questioning her tactics. Her boss and HR always turned the other cheek because of her longevity with the company (my longevity apparently didn’t matter).

Aside from a few contract assignments, I’ve been without full-time employment for a little over a year. I don’t have a history of walking out on a job. I have a solid resume, and I’d like to think my 10 years with my former employer won’t be looked down upon. If an employer wants to judge me for walking out, then I doubt I’ll want to work for them anyway. From personal experience, such employers rarely treat their employees very well. Sorry for the lengthy post.

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Dr. Speakeasy December 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Except – Graduate school, depending on the program, can require a full time commitment. Is the OP eligible for any assistantships or work-study jobs? That might help her bridge the gap to graduation and coming out of a grad program may give her a natural re-entry point to the job market.

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perrik December 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm

This. Graduate school is an automatic justification, should you ever be called upon to explain why you left the position. I left a decent-paying job without a new one lined up because I couldn’t take the stress any longer; it was a terrible fit and stressed me out to the point of hospitalization (luckily the job had terrific health insurance). However, I could legitimately say that I left to focus to complete my undergraduate degree as a full-time student, because I did.

However, I could only do this because my husband has a solid job that pays well *and* I had put aside enough cash to cover tuition and coffee. If you don’t have this safety net, think very carefully before you jump. If I couldn’t sponge off my husband, I wouldn’t have quit before finding another position.

Also, +100 to seeking a student position to fill in the gap. My master’s program offered graduate assistantships and I was selected for one – that included a stipend, free tuition, and some resume-building work that led directly to my current contract job.

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Sam December 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm

“Graduate school is an automatic justification, should you ever be called upon to explain why you left the position.”

Unless the OP looking for another job immediately and still in grad school.

Assistantships are a great idea. Although the salary may be low, assistantships usually come with free or reduced tuition.

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perrik December 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Assistantships are relatively rare in masters-level programs, but they are out there. Even if there is no formal one in place, you can approach faculty to see if they need help in spending their grant money… er, with research.

My stipend was not exactly luxurious – $10k for the academic year, all taxable – but full tuition remission is a fabulous thing.

Good point about how it would appear if you were looking for another job immediately. That makes it harder to say with a straight face that you quit due to academic commitments. “Oh, so what guarantee do we have that you won’t leave us because your classes got in the way?”

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fposte December 31, 2012 at 10:18 pm

It’s really variable, though–we have a lot of student hiring opportunities at a master’s level (though not all assistantships), and a lot of our work isn’t grant-funded.

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fposte December 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm

I was thinking that too. They’re not necessarily going to pay much, but they’ll be more than nothing. (I was wondering, though, if the OP might be an online student, since the possibility of student employment didn’t get mentioned.)

I do think it’s true that if you have a field change coming out of grad school that there’s less weight on your previous employment history, but I also think that’s not the same as no weight, and that nobody’s guaranteed a job in their field regardless of their grad degree. You also haven’t mentioned if you’re already looking for a job, and I think that even starting to search might make you feel less stuck in your current situation.

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Sandrine December 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I, too, hate my current job.

I considered quitting many times, but after reading AAM and commenting with various related aspects on different posts, I came to realize and actually accept that while I feel miserable, I might as well suck it up for a bit more to avoid doing something so drastic that I would be out of money quite fast.

I am lucky enough that my boyfriend owns his place and makes a decent living so if we didn’t have any particular projects I could probably quit to look for a job “full time”, but I have my own bills to pay added to the projects we do have, so I’ll stay for a bit.

The good thing is we have two “free” days off per calendar year, so if I get called for interviews, I’ll have those two bonus days to use to attend interviews. I also have the luck of working “early” shifts so the latest I can finish is 4PM, which leaves time for evening interviews.

Now to find a nicely tailored suit for my big behind ;) …

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Kay December 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I quit a job last March with nothing else lined up. I’m still looking for full time employment while waiting tables part time. Though I sometimes regret it, my old job was making me physically ill from the stress. Think long and hard about what you’re willing to endure because the market out there is a beast.

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JennS December 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I ended up having to leave a job without another full-time one lined up, as I was a teacher and didn’t want to stay for another full year. But, AAM’s advice is great (as always); if you can stomach the job or the commute, and use the promise of a better job as the motivation for your search, stick with it, and get your resume out to your network. It’s definitely tough out here, and I’m headed into my fifth month of active job searching and networking (looking to get into university administration) with only part-time jobs to help my household income at the moment. Good luck in your search!

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Skylark December 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm

The problem is even if you have a good reason for quitting, HR experts advice you never to mention it in interviews, never to ‘dish’ on your former employer, particularly if it makes them look bad. Yet, of course, the hiring manager will still go behind your back to talk to that very boss to get his/her candid and allegedly more reliable opinion of you and ultimately whether you should be hired.

I guess I’m saying, do everything in your power to hang in there and not quit before you have something else in place.

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Rob Bird December 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm

It would be interesting to know what the OP means when they say their current job is “seriously awful” or they have a “terrible commute”.

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E. December 31, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Sometimes it is so unbearable – your job – that it leaves u with NOTHING left with which to get a new one. I have done it, and the relief I felt told e all I needed to know. In my field, I have been able to freelance steadily for the same clients this past year. And I speak of it enthusiastically in interviews. Having said that…yes, it is DEADLY out there. I am indeed about to hit a year of underemployment. Still, I would do ANYTHING for money before I would be that unhappy again. I need to look at some patterns in myself, though, since I have left jobs twice, jobless. I worked for one five years and one for ten years.

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anonymous December 31, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I did this once, early in my career. I realized the job was making me physically ill. I mean- I would show up at work, begin vomiting and go home sick. Once I got home I was fine. Once I made that connection I couldn’t imagine still being there in 6 weeks and I had to give 30 days notice.

The timing was ideal for me. I was young and other than an apartment had no real expenses. I was in a field that was in high demand and knew I could find another job easily- and I did. I gave my 30 days notice at my 90 day eval (which was all positive) and had found a job by the time my notice period was over. Once I gave notice I made some phone calls and had a job lined up within a week.

I have kept this job on my resume and if it is mentioned it is always with a “Oh, I had a job like that once too.” It has never hurt me professionally.

The thing to keep in mind is that the economy was much different at the time (about 20 years ago) and I was in a field where you could simply call the head of the department you wanted to work for and say you were looking for a job and have an interview by the end of the week. That is not the case for most people- isn’t even the case in my field any more although it doesn’t take months to find a position even now.

I wouldn’t do it again, personally.

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Steve G December 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm

So even though it turned out perfectly, you wouldn’t do it again?

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Anonymous January 1, 2013 at 3:00 am

It’s a different environment now.

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Not So NewReader December 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Sometimes we just have to walk out with no plan B. I had a boss raise his hand to me. (He said at the end of the night do X. I did X. He saw me and yelled what are you doing X for? His hand went up and I went out.) That was it. I was done. It has been twenty years and I still know I did the right thing. The next boss made it to my “list of top three favorite bosses” in my life.

Can you change something about your current setting to make it work in some manner? An awful job combined with a bad commute is very draining. Can you do something to ease the commute? Can you work less hours or days, would that help matters?
Look at all the variables in your situation and see if making some adjustments would help. If no, then you pretty much know what you got to do. What I like about this is that it helps me to feel like I really tried. Only you can decide how much you can hack. I have friends that would have quit long before I did. And I have friends that are STILL doing my old job years later. Differences in people.

We should do a thread here on job survival. “How did you help yourself to endure at your bad job?”

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K. December 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm

That would qualify as an abusive situation, I think. I’d walk out too if I thought my boss was going to hit me.

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Janet December 31, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I’ve quit twice without having another job lined up but in both cases I was relocating. The first time it took me 3 months to find a new job and that job turned out to be much better in pay and skills than my previous job and the second time it took me just 2 months to find something else – that was during the recent economic downturn so it didn’t take long to find a job but the position I eventually found was lower in pay and stature than my previous job. I think the relocation helped explain it away for potential employers so I didn’t have any problem getting interviews.

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Anon January 1, 2013 at 11:20 am

I’m glad you mentioned this. I may have to relocate in several months and quit my job without having a new one lined up because my husband will be going to grad school in a new city. It’s hard enough dealing with the uncertainty without reading all these comments saying how “deadly” it is out there. I’m glad your experience wasn’t so bad.

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just me December 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Can you try temping ? Maybe an agency can help you get a temp position ( or even perm ) but it is something that you can technically say you are working, because you are. Even if the jobs are 5 week stints or 3 month stints or a week it shows you are a worker.

I think we all get the urge to want to walk out. It is OK to think that and be irritated with your job. But please at least find something and give the company at the very least a week notice.

Be the better and bigger person. Sounds corny but true.

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Kim December 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I quit a job working for a severely dysfunctional employer in March of last year. I worked there for 5 years and was one of the employees who had been there the longest. I was having panic attacks with increasing frequency and it was beginning to scare my husband as I had also recently had my first child. I quit in order to stay home with my daughter while actively looking for work. It’s been nearly 10 months now and while I’ve had quite a few interviews and made it to the final round in a lot of cases, nothing has quite been right. Another thing I wasn’t expecting is that a lot of employers are paying MUCH less than I expected. Like 25% less than I was making, many aren’t even offering health insurance. At this point I’m even willing to take 10-15% pay cut, but I can’t afford childcare with a 25% paycut. My husband and I didn’t anticipate it would take this long, and we are blowing through savings. In January I’m going to start providing childcare in my home for a friend but I fear the longer I am not doing a “real job” the harder it becomes to get hired, even with the “excuse” of being a stay at home mom. It’s hard to say if I regret it or not. On some level, yes I regret it, but when I really think back to how much anxiety I had and how miserable I was for years I think it was really the only decision I could have made.

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Anonymous December 31, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Specifically about quitting over the commute, unless your office moved or they transferred you, this would be a flakiness red flag for me for sure. You knew what you were getting and you had the whole tenure of your employment to look for something else. Getting fed up and leaving without a new position looks immature.

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Pws December 31, 2012 at 9:00 pm

My husband quit his job at the end of 2007 after about 4 months with nothing lined up — it was his first job out of college, at a startup in a big city that offered a very attractive package and show during recruiting but was a pretty miserable place to work in reality. Not very surprisingly this place had an incredibly high turnover rate and became fairly well known throughout the local network for it. Husband was just so fed up with the work, forced overtime, poor management, and for a couple of months, a forced pay cut of 1/5 of his salary, that he just decided to turn in his notice and leave the same day. Probably the best thing he ever had the guts to do. Now this was before the economy took an even worst turn and he ended up job hunting for another four months before finding a position at a very small company for a paycut and questionable benefits (for couples and families — single coverage was OK). But despite some dysfunctional management at this company too, his actual team was fantastic and he learned an incredible amount from his team leader, who basically gave him the tools and groundwork for moving his career forward. He stayed for 3 years, ended up getting 3 significant raises while employed there, and left last year for a larger company in a different industry but doing the same work, with actual benefits and meaningful work. So for him, things overall had a pretty happy ending but of course, there are a few caveats. Like I said, his first job search happened before the economy tanked even harder. And he does work in a somewhat specialized field, so even with additional competition in the field, it’s probably still not as densely packed as other industries. He took a pretty big risk the first time around since he quit pretty early and with limited experience to show on his résumé. The second time around he definitely waited til he had something lined up but the working conditions weren’t bad, just not ideal for where he wanted to be after 3 years, plus he was at a point where it made a lot of sense to make a move career wise anyway.

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Ivy December 31, 2012 at 9:42 pm

I am going to disagree with most people here, but I say, if you have the money saved up, do it. I got laid off from a job I was unhappy with and had thought about quitting for a long time, and it was very liberating.

It is really sad that in American culture it is suspicious to not have a job… We are so obsessed with working that we forget to live and be happy. Honestly, I would say screw any prospective employer that looks down on you for quitting a job without another one lined up. It is none of their business why you quit… If it is the right decision for you, that is all they need to know.

There are so many other cultures where taking an informal sabbatical is completely acceptable and encouraged. I think that our mindset and society needs to change and we need to put our happiness first, instead of our work.

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EngineerGirl December 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Taking a sabbatical is not the same as just quitting. In the first, you are ending your job and going on to something else. In the second, you are ending the job with nothing lined up. They are not the same at all!

Sabbaticals usually are for doing research or for exploring new possibilities. There is still “work” involved with sabbaticals.

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Ivy January 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I think you are thinking about a formal sabbatical, i.e. when college professors take a semester off to work on a project.

Sabbatical has many definitions, and I am just talking about an informal break from work.

My point is that in American culture, it is frowned upon to not have a job. Whereas, in other cultures, it is completely acceptable to not work for a while because it is the right move for you.

The OP should be able to say “I quit my job because I needed a break from working,” and that should be an acceptable reason. Unfortunately, in our society it is not and would be viewed as suspicious.

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Ellie H. January 1, 2013 at 9:44 pm

+1

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Anonymous December 31, 2012 at 11:13 pm

An informal sabbatical, is basically walking away from the job, NOT the same thing, I did this, in 2010, biggest mistake ever, I had money saved up, and decided I was going walk away from a job that basically left me burned out. I would have been more marketable by sticking it out and job searching while still employed. It took me 18 months to find a job, mind you i am much happier but also I lost 2 years of income, never will I do such a stupid thing again,

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Kelly December 31, 2012 at 11:16 pm

I have never successfully found a job while still employed. How ’bout them apples? I’m on my third professional job post-college in 4 years, both times I quit I was moving to another state and although I was making an effort to get interviews where I was moving to, I never heard back from anyone. It was only after I moved I was able to secure a new job and only then several months later. Thankfully I had savings I could live on. I doubt I would ever do it again, but I can say I admire the long hours someone must put in to find a job while working a full-time job because job-hunting IS a full-time job in my experience! Plus all the times people call you during the day, all the interviews (phone interviews, multiple in-person interviews, skills tests, etc.) I don’t know how people manage it without it looking suspicious.

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Anon January 1, 2013 at 11:24 am

It’s true. Scheduling phone interviews and going to in-person interviews while you are employed is a huge pain in the butt. Seriously stressful, but the alternative isn’t much better.

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TL December 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm

As one of the unemployed, I’d highly recommend that if you’re at the end of your rope with this job, that you still try to stick it out while hunting for a better one. The economy isn’t great, and quitting may be a red flag to employers if you’re going to be looking for another job immediately. (If not, then “quit for grad school” is as good a reason as any, and probably won’t weigh too heavily against you after graduation.)

That said, only you can determine what’s unbearable for you, especially if you have a financial safety net available. I stuck with a contract job that was making me absolutely miserable, partly because I was afraid of not getting anything else. Someone else might say that I was able to “tough it out”, but I don’t necessarily think I’m better off for having done that. On the one hand, it gave me a (minimal) income, which I hadn’t been able to get for a while. On the other hand, I had a safety net, and in the end I think it was detrimental to both my mental and physical health, even though there was nothing illegal or abusive about the workplace–just an incredibly draining, stressful environment.

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Chaucer December 31, 2012 at 11:34 pm

I, too, hate my job. While I hate the industry (retail,) I am blessed with an awesome boss, so it helps motivate me to work hard as I search for my first professional job after college. Also, I am hoping that my hard work there will translate into good references from my boss and other supervisors.

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mel January 1, 2013 at 12:59 am

Haha I did the whole Chandler Bing “you gotta get the FEAR” deal when I was in retail. It was just getting to the point where I’d cry outside of the store before entering and seriously consider laying in the street when I left. So I gave them a month of notice and quit with nothing else lined up.

Those two months of unemployment were the best two months of my life! I didn’t even wear a watch. I spent a month visiting with family and friends and camping (it was summer – yay!). Because I’m such a money-saver and was given a good cheque when I quit, money wasn’t a huge stressor.

But these are super low-rung jobs that will just hire anyone. The next one I got is this dishwasher job for even less pay than before and zero benefits. It was pretty much just a walk in, get hired situation.

I can’t imagine this working out well for someone with standards.

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Jess January 1, 2013 at 1:42 am

I am going to go against the grain here and say if your job is truly making you miserable, go ahead and quit. Everything will probably be all right in the end.

A year ago, I had a job that was really compromising my sanity. One night, I found myself contemplating suicide solely over political issues at work that seem ridiculous to me now. Instead, I went in to work the next day and quit. Almost immediately, I recovered from the depression I had been in, I started temping and one year later I have a permanent job (at one of the places I temped for) that is a great fit for me and even pays almost twice as much as the last one.

I’m not saying it’s all gonna be buttercups and roses – I had a few crappy temp jobs in there- but it can be done. People are so scared now, they’ll put up with anything for fear of becoming ZOMG unemployable forever!!! It’s sad. You have to respect and take care of yourself first.

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anon January 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

I’m so glad it worked out for you. I agree that when it comes to job searching, there is deep, deep fear. All the horror stories in the news make people feel like they have very few options. It’s very sad.

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Ivy January 1, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Thank you! I strongly agree.

It really depends on the individual. You have to be a strong person to do it, and make sure that you have the resources and support, but it can be done.

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mel January 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

yes! This is exactly why I quit the first time. Eventually it got me thinking what I was going to do with the money I earned if I’d killed myself anyway. Suddenly, having that job wasn’t the most important thing in the world anymore. Having the time to be unemployed and soul-searching can be a wonderful healing process.

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BR January 1, 2013 at 7:39 am

If an employee gives two weeks’ notice and the employer chooses to let the employee go after the first week, does that mean the employee was fired? How would one address this when applying for a new job?

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EM January 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Nope, you haven’t been fired. You quit first. I don’t even think you need to bring it up at all. Your separation from the company eas voluntary. You proposed one end date, and they responded with one sooner.

This is standard practice in some industries. Others less so, but it still happens.

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V January 1, 2013 at 7:50 am

Most of the advice to quit without something lined up is followed by a personal anecdote that depicts situations that seem much more serious than what the OP seems to be going through, and which are certainly not the norm. Although OP didn’t elaborate, the tone and length of her letter do not suggest that this is an extreme situation that is causing her physical or emotional harm, etc. it’s still a personal decision, but it’s also irresponsible IMO to encourage someone to do this without taking a long, hard look at whether their situation warrants it. For those of you who quit a job with nothing lined up and it worked out well, please understand that this is not typical and may have happened in a very different economy.

OP: I would do whatever possible to avoid being one of the job seeking unemployed. As Jamie mentions above, however, only you know where that line is. Please take the economy into account when making that determination.

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mel January 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Obviously it doesn’t work for everyone, but the question was: Is it EVER okay to quit a job without a new job lined up?

Without these extreme situations, the answer would be “absolutely never”. Why give an exclusive answer to such a broad question?

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Riki January 1, 2013 at 10:41 am

Generally speaking, as others have said, it’s always better to find another job before leaving the current one. It’s the “safe” thing to do.

That said, the answers to these questions really depend upon your situation and/or the amount of risk you’re willing to take. It might take a year to get another job. Could you realistically support yourself during that time without a steady income? It is amazing how quickly a bank account can run dry when it’s not being replenished regularly. If taking out more student loans, relying on unemployment insurance or “figuring it out as it comes” is how you plan on supporting yourself, then you need to hang in there with that awful job until you secure something better.

Anyway, being in grad school gives you an easy and acceptable explanation as to why you quit your job should any interviewer ever ask. All you have to say is that you wanted to focus on school. I’d avoid mentioning the terrible commute, though. Your terrible commute could be the interviewer’s normal commute, and then you’d just look like whiner. Best not to go there.

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Jamie January 1, 2013 at 11:24 am

I agree to stay away from mentioning commute. I understand these are valid concerns, but it’s something you should vet and decide whether you can do it or not…but to bring it up can raise (perhaps unfair) questions about your reliability in weather or if your transportation circumstances change.

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Elizabeth West January 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Not to mention the fact that when you went in to interview for the job, you should have already gotten a reasonable idea of the commute. If it’s outrageously long, you would already have known that. It’s not hard to decide if this is a dealbreaker. For me, in my old car, it would have been.

I still have anxiety about driving even across town in my newer car because it’s so ingrained in me that “OMG what if something happens and the car breaks down, how will I get to work?” On the other hand, it’s nice not to have to lie when they say “Do you have reliable transportation?”

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ABC January 1, 2013 at 11:48 am

Adding to most of the voices here. Dont quit without a job lined up. Unless you have extremely marketable skills(in which case you would find a job in a jiffy once you start searching), its a cold world out there. Don’t.

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Seal January 1, 2013 at 11:56 am

Ten years ago I left a horrible job/work environment without having another job lined up; it was easily the best thing I had ever done for myself. BUT, this was something I had been planning to do for close to a year, so I had a plan and enough money saved to support myself. I took the summer off to clear my head, then got a temp job and took some Web programming classes in the fall. By the following January I had a new and far better job with the place I left, but in a different department. Ironically enough, I was hired in large part because of my reputation. Apparently after I left my old job the entire
department fell apart; most people, including my new boss, realized I was the one who kept things running. I always enjoyed running into my former colleagues after I started my new job; none of them would make eye contact with me and a few resorted to hiding whenever they saw me coming. Quite amusing.

I don’t know that I’d be willing or able to do the same thing in this economy, though, unless I was going back to school. Even then I’d probably still want to have something lined up at least part-time.

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Elizabeth West January 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I would not have done this if I had the choice. But the company I worked for hired a new executive, who started cutting people. There were two of us laid off the same day, with no warning, right after lunch. I have since heard that more people were cut, some of whom had been with the company for years and were very hard workers.

My plan for this year was to save more money, as much as I could, and job hunt as much as I could. I had already started by revamping my resume (I usually keep it updated anyway, just in case) and reopening my account with the local career center. Then, boom! I was out.

The rest of 2012 has been the worst year of my life. I am convinced becoming unemployed was a factor in ruining my long-distance relationship. I am not hopeful for the new year. At least the stupidest Congress in the history of politics has allowed me to get a little bit more UI. But I highly doubt I will find anything even close to decent. And being alone is going to make it even more hideous.

‘Course, I could be totally mistaken. If so, I would never be so happy to be wrong.

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Jen M. January 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Elizabeth, I’m so sorry to see you suffering so much. I really wiash there was something I could do to help!

I will keep you in my prayers.

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Jen M. January 1, 2013 at 6:17 pm

*wish* there was something I could do…

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Job seeker January 1, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Elizabeth, I do not know if this is good advice or not but I am going to share this with you. Yesterday, I was at a medical place and the wait was very long. As luck would have it, a lady was waiting there also and we started talking. She was there to have a drug test for a new job. She had been an executive administrative assistant and was now starting a new job. I told her my story and she suggested this for me, maybe this will help you too.

She has been in the workforce for years and never been without a job long. She suggested I get a very good cover letter together and sent it along with my resume to various doctor’s offices. Even if there are no job postings just sent it to the hiring manager. She even told me how to word it. She also told me that I should specifically state I wanted part-time. She specifically told me to make sure to tell them what I could offer them.

What does anyone else think? Was her suggestion good or not?

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Ry January 2, 2013 at 7:16 pm

At a hospital or medical clinic, it’s typically very, very difficult to get a new position created. There’s lots of red tape. It doesn’t matter how badly they want you; each clinic or unit is only allotted a certain number of FTEs and a business plan must be submitted by the manager, sometimes multiple times. It might be different at a small private clinic. I don’t believe this would work.

However, you can identify the hospital systems or outpatient clinics in your area, create accounts in their online HR systems, and apply for everything that suits your skills. Just check each site weekly-ish and apply for the new positions for which you qualify.

My experience is really only relevant to US medical systems. Maybe you could find a spot in a private clinic or concierge practice. Also, the new freestanding urgent cares sometimes hire people with no medical experience but with business experience, FWIW.

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Anonymous January 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I don’t want to sound insensitive but I’ve seen many mentions of this breakup in your other comments here and I don’t think this is the forum for it. People come here to discuss workplace issues. I think there are other forums for relationship issues. I am sorry you are hurting, many of us are hurting for different reasons, but I would like to ask that we keep the discussion focused on what we’re here to talk about.

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Lynne January 1, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Comment threads veer mildly off-topic all the time, and mostly are more interesting for it. And most of Elizabeth’s comment *was* related to work, so I don’t think you can even call it off-topic (certainly no more so than plenty of other comments I’ve seen here). Really, if you don’t want to see any off-topic comments, the only totally effective strategy for that is to simply avoid looking at the comment thread…

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Jen M. January 1, 2013 at 6:19 pm

With all due respect, some of us commenting here are regulars and have been aware of Elizabeth’s situation for a while.

Losing a job does, indeed, impact ALL parts of one’s life, not least relationships. It is also harder to cope when one is missing even part of one’s support network.

Please excuse us if we want to support one another, even in the aspects of our lives that are “off topic.”

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Jamie January 1, 2013 at 6:25 pm

Very well put. I wish life could be compartmentalized so easily, but work bleeds into life which bleeds into work…no surprise when up think of what a huge part of our lives are taken up by working or looking for work.

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Lynne January 1, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Yes, exactly – and I should have also said, Elizabeth, I really hope things turn around for you this year. 2012 was pretty cruddy for me too. Surely this can’t last!

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Rana January 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Agreed. I *want* to know how Elizabeth is doing, because I care about her!

How hard is it to skim past a few side comments, anyway? There’s no need to play blog police; trust that Alison can handle her own comments if she feels they’ve gone in an inappropriate direction.

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Anonymous the 2nd January 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm

I am not the Anonymous above but I am a regular reader of AAM and of the comments here and a sometimes commenter myself. I have to say that I share the sentiment Anonymous wrote. It reminds me of a friend I had who just kept talking about how unhappy she was for months. At some point it’s not healthy or helpful to keep complaining about things and those who are listening might even be enabling the person in being stuck. What is Elizabeth going to DO about her situation? I’ve read her comments about being down in the dumps for many months now and have read very little from her that is forward looking or positive. What is she going to do differently to change her situation and her outlook? Those are the things that are important. Yes, there is a time and a place for wallowing when you’re unhappy but after a point it’s time to figure out how to move forward. I find these comments disturbing at times because her focus has been so relentlessly dour. I fear that she’s digging herself further into a hole and would like to see her move out of it. Her comments upset me for her and worry me. I don’t think she sees how she’s coming across from the outside but it legitimately makes me fear for her well being.

Elizabeth, I don’t say this to be unsupportive but to be supportive. (Yes, believe it or not). Sometimes the real support isn’t the friend who lets you cry on their shoulder as long as you want but it’s the friend who tells you “enough now, it’s time to figure out what you’re going to do about all this”. I wish you nothing but good things in life but I do not think you’re using this blog in a way that is healthy for you (or for those of us reading.) Maybe you can talk to a counselor for help in moving forward. My heart goes out to you because you are suffering and I do not think you are being healthy in letting yourself be so negative in your outlook day after day and month after month.

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Ask a Manager January 2, 2013 at 9:46 pm

This is well said, and I think it makes important points for anyone who finds themselves unhappy over an extended period of time (or for the friends of those in that situation).

I love that people here often support each other when they’re going through something difficult, but I also don’t want us to lose sight of the fundamental aim of this site: It’s to improve your professional life and get more of what you want from your career. I do think there’s sometimes a point where commiserating becomes less than helpful, and I’d consider it an enormous sign of support for each other if after a certain point we’re able to channel discussions back to what actions people can take to get out of a bad situation.

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Tricia January 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Elizabeth, I’m so sorry to hear about how awful this year has been for you. I hope 2013 will prove to be better and happier for you :(

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Esra January 1, 2013 at 7:56 pm

2012 was definitely not a great year all round. I hope things turn around for you in 2013! I broke up in 2012 too, and damn it’s hard going it alone.

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Dulcinea January 1, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Hey Allison, if someone’s situation DOES fall into one of the exception categories you list (ie, harrassment or abuse) and that someone then quits their job without another lined up, how should they then handle that in the job search? Is there any appropriate way to explain that in a cover letter? How about in an interview? How do you deal with this type of situation without talking negatively about your old employer (obviously a no-no)?

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Ask a Manager January 1, 2013 at 3:09 pm

No, you definitely don’t want to address it in the cover letter. If it comes up in an interview, you’re generally best off finding some other explanation to avoid the issues that I discuss in this post:
http://www.askamanager.org/2008/04/how-to-answer-why-did-you-leave-your.html

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Anonymous January 1, 2013 at 7:42 pm

I disagree with AAM, but ONLY because of the fact that this person in in grad school (and even then it depends, see below). Being a graduate student is a major time commitment, not just in hours per week worked, but also in years. A decision to quit a job now has very short term effects, however doing well in grad school can have very long term effects – it may effect EVERY future job this person may have.

This of course depends on what this person is going to school for. If it’s an applied master’s type of degree or if this person is going directly into the commercial sector, keeping a job in the field is very important, because in these types of position work history is more important (usually) then academics, then the advice that has been posted by AAM and others is very good advice. If this person is going for a PhD and is staying in academia, where doing well in grad school is important, because most people have only a handful of jobs over their lifetime and being in grad school (and not doing badly) is seen as part of your job history, and if the job is effecting their work in grad school, the better long term decision is just to quit.

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Sharon January 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm

In most of the US, it’s perfectly legal to exclude someone from the candidate pool because they’re not working because unemployed people aren’t a protected class. I know if I were a hiring manager, I’d give someone who quit without notice the side-eye, since there’s a better than average chance that person is a drama queen who may flee my team at the slightest provocation.

Ask yourself how long you think your job search will take. Your answer was probably naively optimistic, so now ask yourself how you’ll cope if it ends up taking, say twice that long to find any job at all, or five times that to find one in your chosen field.

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Anonymous August 16, 2013 at 12:02 am

Sharon how do HR people look at someone one who quits, with multiple months notice after trying to negotiate a better work arrangement?

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Mr. X January 2, 2013 at 3:46 am

I left my previous job without another one lined up because my company moved and the commute was killing me. The company was awful to work for anyway and I was going nowhere.

At the time I left, I was looking for a new job (with no luck unfortunately) and I tried to get some telecommuting working with my boss. The arrangement wasn’t going to work out in the long term and I decided to call it quits before it cost my my sanity and health.

I was also going to business school part-time in the evenings, which didn’t help matters. School by itself wasn’t a problem, but compounded with the long commute, it was getting bad.

I’m now focusing on school and expanding my horizons. I’m going to start contract work, find a full-time job closer to home, and be more aggressive on networking.

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Joey January 3, 2013 at 8:55 am

You know, I typically dont buy the quitting a job because of a bad commute with nothing lined up. I mean unless the company moved or there’s some unforeseen circumstance isn’t it the same commute you signed up for when you took the job? So is it really terrible if you were content with it when you took the job? So for me, I wonder if (a) you didn’t really pay attention to the commute when you accepted the job, or (b) there’s some other issue and you’re hiding behind the commute. Now of course if you quit to take a job with a better commute that makes sense.

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Jason January 14, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I understand when you say don’t walk away without finding another job. I’m sure everybody will try their best to have a new job lined up. However what should somebody do when stuck in a hopeless job and not able to find another job?

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Ask a Manager January 14, 2013 at 8:35 pm

You really shouldn’t quit without another job lined up, for all the reasons in this post. If you’re having trouble finding a job while you’re employed, it’ll only be harder once you’re unemployed — what will you do for money if it takes a year or more?

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Jason January 14, 2013 at 9:36 pm

What will be your take if I say the current job is physiologically making it more difficult to find a new job. I do find in many places that people seem to find another job pretty quickly once they are out of the stressing environment.

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Ask a Manager January 14, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Same as in the original post.

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John C January 22, 2013 at 10:54 am

I actually did this very thing not too long ago. I was working at a position where we just got a new boss, and, long story short, we were working ridiculous hours. To the point where 100 hours per week were becoming normal. We no longer had any days off. The icing on the cake was that management was so rude about everything. Our new boss literally told us we would only be working an upcoming weekend “over my dead body.” Friday rolled around and about an hour before we were all supposed to leave we were told that we were required to work on the weekend. I was fed up, and I put in my two weeks notice that day, adding that I would not work the upcoming weekend.

On the positive side of things, I was able to save some money because of all the overtime. I was also going to be getting my BS soon.

On the other hand, I completely miscalculated how long it would take to find a job. And how much money I would need.

I began sending my resume out to companies and applying for a ton of jobs. I always kept things positive, and told potential employers that I left to finish my degree. I got some responses, but most of them were not exactly what I had in mind. One thing I learned is that no matter what, you will always be able to get an insurance sales position. Especially if you are willing to work completely on commission.

None of that was working, so I applied for a position through a temp agency about a week ago. I’ve got an interview later this week, and, although it isn’t 100% what I wanted, at least it’s something.

Long story short, really consider what you’re doing before you do it. Looking back, leaving the job I had was a bit premature. At the same time, there was no way I could put up with that kind of abuse. It sucks that it’s taken so long to find anything, but at least I can say that I’m not being treated like a slave anymore.

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Anonymous D February 21, 2013 at 7:52 pm

I quit my job of almost 8 years, a few months ago and it was the best decision I made for myself. The job was not horrible but the constant changes in upper management, and the poor treatment from my immediate superiors was such that I had to say…8 years is enough.
As stated in earlier comments, it is crucial that you SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! It is also good to return to school for courses or have work on the side while you are seeking employment. On the few interviews I’ve been on, I’ve only been asked twice about why I left my previous place of employment. Since it is crucial to write resumes tailored to a company, I’ve found they forgo asking for reasons I left to ask instead why I want to work for them.
Although, I haven’t found my “dream” job yet, I am hopeful. I am blessed to be in an industry where what I do is in demand so it helps.
I agree that it is better to be working while looking for your next job but if your current job is causing unnecessary health concerns (mental, emotional and physical) or leaving you with little alternatives (unable to talk to management for ways to create keep an effective peaceful work environment)…make sure you have a plan and LEAVE!!! Your life is worth more than that.

( I second what John C said as well…)

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Jack May 12, 2013 at 6:09 am

It’s been very interesting reading these comments, if anyone can offer me advice it would be handy…

My situation is that I am doing a well paid job, I have some savings and I am very fortunate to have family putting a roof over my head. In other words, if I leave my job I will not be in financial difficulty.

This is not the sector I wish to work in. I have recently gone through an interview process for a job I really want, I made it to be one of the last 2 candidates out of 200. My employer has handled this amazingly well (I was honest and told him about the interviews). Knowing that I got so far I am now 100% committed to applying for similar roles, some of which I have called up about and already looks like I have a good chance.

The drawback of staying I my current role is that it is a long commute from where I live (it is the legacy of having lived much closer to it until a breakup, which is another story). Also, it is a demanding role which needs me to be thinking about the medium term business plans of the company etc. My thinking is I will have far more time for interviews and searching if I quit. Also, if I stay there too long my productivity will decline, as I will not be giving all my focus to the medium term plans of the company. I have had this dilemma for a few months but now really think if I am honest about why I am quiting, I will be able to focus on tying lose ends, handing over projects properly and getting a good reference. The longer I stay I am worried I will become sloppy. My plan is to quit ASAP! Any advice on this?

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Lucy August 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm

My partner is in the military and we are not married but have to move every 2-4 years. I have had to quit my job to move with him and now can’t find a new job. I started looking as soon as we knew where we were being relocated to and that was months ago. Now I am being told I am overqualified for temp work but there are no jobs in my field in the place moved to. We are not married so I am not eligible for any of the military’s spousal programs, and because I quit my job I am not eligible for unemployment. I have a BA and a Master’s degree and 10 years experience in my field. Basically I had to quit to move with him and now I’m being punished thanks to the crappy job market and employers making judgments about me that are unfair because I quit a job.

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Pete December 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I quit my job over the summer with no new job lined up. I felt that my role and skills were deteriorating by staying at this company. In addition, I did not have a good working relationship with my boss. I had tried to job search while at the job but was working very long hours and not successful. So decided to quit to focus on job search. Now 4 months later I have been through interviews but not successful yet. Given i have worked nonstop for +15 years, it is an extremely frustrating process and I sometimes wish that I had not quit. On the other hand, I have learned a lot about the job market which I would not have been able to do if I had still been employed. The future will tell whether this was a good move or not. One thing I would recommend is to (1) search while working if time available and talk to people who have gone through the process to learn from their experiences or (2) work in 2 steps by taking a temp job or consulting job and then use this as a platform to look for new long term role.

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Kathy December 3, 2013 at 10:13 am

Pete — I was in a similar situation. I quit my job of 10 years in February 2012 without anything concrete lined up. I tried to do it the “right way” by looking for other jobs while employed but my hours interfered with that. I became so fed up with being taken advantage of by my employer and was very burned out on the job that I walked away. Sometimes I wish I had not left as well despite how miserable I was there. Employment has been off and on since then, mostly temp jobs. The only pro out of the situation is being able to attend school full-time. I’m now looking for part-time work until I earn my degree.

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guest February 11, 2014 at 7:04 pm

I always quit when I felt is right and I was always Offered a job! I searched only once, and that was without results. When I Focused on what I wanted (freedom, time to do things I love – FOR FREE) I was always contacted by employer/ LEAVE! JUST put your details on the internet and LET BE CONTACTED. Believe in yourself! Do not enter the spiral of worries!!! Do not ask others for shoulds and shouldn;ts, do not put yourself in such position. You have the right to be happy. The faster you release the worries the sooner you find something better. The reason that you do not find anything better is excatly because you are worried. IT is so simple, people, why you make it complicated?

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