5 Things You Must Do Before You Quit a Job

There are different factors that might drive you to quit a job. Maybe your boss is a nightmare. Maybe your colleagues are spiteful and competitive. Maybe the work at hand is boring, or the stress of constant deadlines is pushing you over the edge.

No matter the circumstances, when you're fed up at work, you may be tempted to march into your manager's office and quit on the spot. But before you tender your resignation, here are five important moves you should make.

1. Explore your options at other companies

It's not unheard of to quit a job without having another one lined up. In fact, many people have an easier time focusing on a job search when they're not tied down to an existing job. That said, it pays to at least do some preliminary legwork on the job-search front before leaving your existing employer. That way, you'll have a good starting point to work with, thereby minimizing the amount of time you're potentially unemployed.

Before quitting your job, spend a couple of weeks seeing what's out there and identifying some other companies you might apply to. At the same time, it never hurts to do a little networking and subtly inquire about opportunities.

2. Assess your emergency fund

If you're planning to leave your job without having secured another one, you'll need money to pay your bills while you look for work. Remember, when you quit a job voluntarily, you're not eligible for unemployment benefits or severance pay, so you'll need access to some cash in the interim.

To this end, take a look at your emergency fund and see how healthy it is. If you don't have enough money in there to cover a few months of essential living expenses, you may need to hold off on quitting until another offer presents itself.

3. Use up your vacation time if you can't get paid for it

Chances are, as an employee, you're entitled to a certain number of vacation days each year. Some companies will pay workers for unused time off they've accrued if they decide to leave their jobs -- but not all will. Therefore, see what your company's policy is, and if you can't get paid for those unused days, take them. You might as well.

4. Give proper notice

When you've had enough of your job, you may be inclined to quit and leave on the spot. Don't do it. If you don't give proper notice, you can pretty much kiss goodbye to the idea of your employer serving as a reference.

Instead, depart professionally by providing two weeks' notice. You never know when you may need to reach out to your former employer or manager and call in a favor, so there's no reason to burn bridges.

5. Figure out what you'll do for health coverage

If your health insurance is tied to your job, quitting means figuring out coverage on your own. And if you don't have another job lined up, that could be an expensive prospect. That's because your choices will be to either buy a plan yourself and cover its premium costs solo or get coverage through COBRA.

COBRA allows you to retain your former coverage for up to 18 months after separating from an employer, but it means paying the full cost of your monthly health insurance premiums, which may be substantially more than what you paid while employed (especially if your employer generously subsidized those premiums). Therefore, have a plan for health coverage before you leave your job so you're not left scrambling.

There's nothing wrong with quitting a job you aren't satisfied with. Just be sure to think through some of the logistics before taking that leap.

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