How to Let Go of Fears When Quitting a Career without Another

Updated: Sep 15, 2019

How to Let Go of Fears When Quitting a Career without Another Lined Up

Thinking about quitting your job in the near future? Got a lot of fears surrounding the career change? No worries, you’re definitely not alone. And if you don’t have another job lined up, I can understand your fears. I’ve been there...several times.

Sometimes what we're afraid of doing is what will set us free. I was afraid of quitting my job without another one lined up. But I was so burned out from my corporate job.

It was to the point that it was hard to bring myself to make time to job search, update LinkedIn, write cover letters, schedule interviews, and so forth. It’s no joke when they say job searching is a full-time job.

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So I quit without another job lined up.

I did it at least two times in my professional career. Each time, I still landed on my feet. It was a scary emotional roller coaster ride, but things eventually worked out.

I used the time off to get my health, sanity and life back in alignment. And it sparked my interest in getting my finances in order too. I realized that I did not want to rely solely on an employer for a paycheck and health insurance.

Eventually, I kept working on my personal finances and I was able to reach retirement at 35! Yep, I got FIRE’d….financial independence retire early (FIRE) that is.

So there was that unexpected benefit from taking time off to heal. What came out of that Eat, Pray, Love soul searching journey was the start of my path to FIRE.

Quitting without another job lined up is not recommended. Ever.

However, you know yourself best. You know when you've hit a breaking point.

Throughout life, there will be multiple quits. Whether it’s in career or personal life. From a job to friendship to unhealthy habits, quitting is part of evolving.

What do you fear most when it comes to leaving your job?

When it comes to job changes, there is usually an existential crisis that follows. Many of us derive a sense of identity from our careers. The solution?

Diversify your identity. For instance, outside of my 9-5 job, I’m a blogger, yoga teacher, Reiki Master, friend, mentor, entrepreneur, etc.

What are you running towards?

It’s one thing to “run away” from your current job. But if you don’t have anything to run towards, things can get tricky.

Not to say you need a solid Plan B in place but at least have productive activities planned in advance. Here’s why...

Too much of a good thing isn’t always good.

For instance, free time. It may seem that not having to wake up to an alarm to fight rush hour traffic is living the dream. But over time, unstructured days and no meaningful activities can lead to anxiety, loneliness and guilt.

How to Release Fears When Quitting a Career without Another Lined Up

I’ve been there! To prepare for “too much of a good thing”, have a plan for your time off. Allot a set amount of time to job search, explore different career tracks, experiment with different side hustles, spend time with family and friends, attend networking events, travel, and so forth.

What my current fear surrounding my upcoming quit?

Currently, I’m working through a major fear surrounding my next quit. I’ve been strategic as much as possible but it will still be a leap of faith due to all the unknowns.

Though I reached retirement at 35, I found that not working led to isolation and sadness. I grew anxious without a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

At the time of this blog being published, I don't have a job lined up. There has been lots of rejections thus far as a mid-career transition has been tricky.

Ideally I would like to have an offer in hand to have that new chapter to look forward to. It would also take some pressure off of moving to a new city without knowing anyone.

I don't like being unemployed yet I no longer enjoy my current job and city. Plus, it doesn’t help that the winter here on the East Coast has been awful.

So I'm deciding on when to cut the chord...maybe this is as strategic as it can get for now. Take a leap and moving without something to go to vs. continuing to spin my wheels here.

Will continue to stay curious and walk through doors that do open!

Letting go of fearing the unknown:

In the past, I quit my corporate job several times without a Plan B. Things worked out each time but it was definitely scary times.

What made it even more tough? Not having support from family and some close friends. Here’s the reality of what happened one time after I quit...

Even when the finances were in order, everything else in my life fell apart after my last job quit in 2017.

From an unexpected breakup to my dad getting into a car accident to ending up in the ER myself while traveling in Europe.

This all happened within a month.

In my mind, I equate being "jobless by choice" with the notion that the worst case scenario is going to happen in my personal life.

So when I wanted to relocate across the country, I had to really think things through. Even being financially independent, I had huge mental blocks. I was fearful of October 2017 repeating.

The key is to mentally, emotionally, physically and energetically prepare as much as possible in advance. Even without a Plan B lined up, you can still do a lot of heavy lifting.

So do yourself a favor and give yourself options. Start with getting your finances in order ASAP so that you have more options!

Ease fears around finances by getting your money squared away in advance.

Start by understanding your financial position in order to prepare yourself for the months following your resignation. This includes having a plan for debt management to planning ways to create positive cash flow.

Set up a protection plan. What’s the worst case scenario? How are you going to protect yourself with your current resources, cash flow and insurance?

Remember, it’s not just about having all kinds of (sometimes unnecessary) insurance. Have at least a 6-month emergency fund to cover living expenses.

Here’s how I built my emergency fund in under 6 months.

Start with end in mind, then work backwards:

What are your short-term goals (5-10 years)? Specifically, what’s your planned timeline to re-enter the workforce? Do you plan to buy a home in which you would need more liquidity in assets for that down payment?

What are your long-term goals (10 plus years)? Do you see yourself staying in the same industry? Same city? Starting a family?

In order to financially prepare in advance as much as possible, here are some of things to consider.

  • Health care coverage: Look into and

  • Part-time opportunities, side hustle income, passive income?

  • Expenses: What can be cut starting now?

  • Can you establish an emergency fund in addition to saving money for extended time off?

  • Do you have money in a brokerage account? Money in brokerage can be converted into cash before your quit to minimize risk of market volatility.

Need more tips to prep for your upcoming quit?

Pivot your career to align with your ideal lifestyle. Easier said than done? Perhaps.

Changing jobs within the same industry can be challenging. Pivoting to a new industry can be even tougher and take longer.

So what do you do to shorten the lengthy process of job searching? Step aside, James Bond. Allow me to handle this question with a Pintastic strategy.

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