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how to know when to leave a job

Should You Look For a New Job Before Resigning?

CNBC reported last March that there were 11.3 million job openings in February, which was 5 million more than the number of unemployed workers. However, the number of people quitting their jobs has continued to remain above historical averages. Resignation levels have been high since mid-2021, when pundits and the media coined the phrase the Great Resignation. 

If you want to leave your current employer to seek greener pastures or, perhaps, a more employee-friendly environment, it remains an excellent time to do so. Perhaps the more relevant question is whether you should find a job before quitting your current one. If you are uncertain whether to re-sign vs resign, here are some thoughts to help guide you. 

How to know when to leave a job:

Financial Considerations 

Finances are crucial when it comes to looking for jobs, and resigning before having a new job can lead to financial stress. Consider several factors before making a decision:

  • Loss of Income: If you leave your current job before securing a new one, you need to be prepared for a period wherein you won’t generate income. This is a critical aspect to consider because the time it takes to land a new job can be unpredictable. It could take weeks or even months, which may put a major dent in your savings or leave you unable to pay all your bills. So, it’s crucial to have a solid financial cushion in place if you choose to resign before you have a new job lined up.


  • Health Insurance: In some countries, health insurance is tied to employment. In these cases, it may be best to look for a new job first before leaving your job to stay eligible for subsidized health insurance coverage and avoid piling up out-of-pocket health care costs that may arise while you are between jobs. 


  • Unemployment Benefits: For the most part, quitting a job without new prospects can make you ineligible for unemployment benefits. These benefits require that you lose your job due to no fault of your own, and voluntarily leaving your job doesn’t meet this qualification. 


  • Retirement Benefits: You may need to secure a new job before quitting your current one if you don’t want to miss out on retirement contributions like your 401(k). 


Non-Financial Considerations

Aside from finances, should also consider other factors related to your current and prospective jobs. Here are some aspects to think about:

  • Work-Related Stress: High stress levels can lead to mental and physical health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and even heart disease. If your job is causing you excessive stress, it’s essential to consider whether it’s worth staying. Remember, no job is worth compromising your health. So, if you have enough financial leeway to cover your needs, and you’re stress levels are high in your current role, you might consider quitting before you secure another job.


  • Networking Opportunities: Being employed while job searching might make it more challenging to network effectively. Leaving your job could give you more time and flexibility to attend networking events, meet industry professionals, and make time available for interviews.


  • Career Progression: Staying in a job that offers no room for growth or improvement can hinder your career progression. You may be spending more time working in a job that won’t help you reach your long-term goals. If you feel stuck or unappreciated, it may be worth taking the risk to find a job that offers better opportunities.

Explaining Your Circumstances During Job Interviews

If you have a history of leaving jobs without having another one lined up, recruiters and potential hiring managers may be curious why you did not find a job while still working. It is essential to state why you left your job and what you have done to prepare yourself for your chosen next move.  

Let’s say that you decided to leave your job because your commute became too long. Explain to the interviewer that you have been networking with people in your field, taking classes to gain job skills, updating your resume, and researching various companies in your target industry.  

If you left your job because you had difficulty getting along with your boss, explain to the interviewer that you have taken personal development courses and focused on building your self-confidence. You could also note that you have been networking with people in your field and researching various companies in the industry. 


Hopefully, you now have a better idea of whether you should quit your job to pursue a new job opportunity before receiving your dream position. If you are planning on leaving your current job without having another one lined up but are not sure about it, you should definitely research possible career paths first and plan how you will take action, before submitting your resignation.

If you are now certain of what path to take, we can help! At Pathwise, we provide career development solutions that can help you be successful. We’ve built all that experience into our offerings and drawn from the wisdom of our advisory panel of career thought leaders. We’re here to make it easier for you.

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help. Check out our website to learn more about the coaching and career services we offer or email us at [email protected].


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