We didn’t feel much like setting personal goals for this year. Resolutions like “dry January” and “cut out all sweets” aren’t really sitting with us right now. They may in a few months, but as we are looking to be kinder to ourselves, the only resolution that seems adequate is to figure out what we really want. It got us thinking about times in the past where we have felt so stuck in a situation that we were unable to find any happiness. Naturally, that turn of thought led us to the ever-intimidating question of how to quit a job.
Having resigned myself, I often get asked by others, how did you do it? How did you quit? Being stuck in a position where you are no longer thriving and inspired is one of the toughest circumstances. Its difficulty is compounded by responsibilities such as children who are relying on you to put food on the table. So, before I go any further, I want to take a moment to acknowledge how fortunate I was to be in a position - financially and emotionally - to even consider quitting my job.
That being said, I humbly offer up four pieces of advice that helped me to make one of the most important decisions of my life.
Go with your gut but be practical.
From the first time the idea of quitting entered my mind, I never doubted whether or not it was the right decision. Let that gut instinct drive you. If it feels right, it likely is. Of course, there were the constant mental gymnastics - the “Hows,” the “Whys,” and “What ifs.” They were endless. Rather than be deterred by these questions, I set out to answer them. Even though the decision to quit was solidified, I still needed to make sure that I was in the best position to do so - to ensure that those relying on me (e.g., fellow coworkers, family, and friends) would not be left in the lurch when I resigned.
Write your resignation letter and date it.
Someone very close to me gave me this advice when I explained that I didn’t even know where to begin with quitting. She said to start by writing my resignation letter and dating it. It was the best advice that I have ever been given.
And so, I did it. I wrote my letter and dated it June 26th, 2019, ten months from the moment I had made the decision that I would start my own company. The stars aligned and the universe came together to give me the courage to walk into my boss’s office. I did not have to utter one word; my quivering lip and shaky hand gave it away.
Tell your boss and your team in person.
After giving my boss the news in her office, I had to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever done - tell my team, one by one, that I was leaving. I had spent 12 to 15 hours a day, five (sometimes seven) days a week for eight years with the same people. They were my family. We were full of dysfunction, love, and a lot of anxiety about our jobs. We were the NYC version of Lord of the Flies, running around our very own island, just trying to survive. We will be forever connected by all-night strategy sessions, tears from client feedback, and much needed late-night therapy on the floors of our offices.
How you tell teammates the news will likely be very individualized experiences. I felt comfortable letting some know in the kitchen when we were taking a quick break. For others, I broke the news over a coffee or lunch, somewhere outside of the confines of the office.
Write with intention… and rosé.
I was never into visualization or manifesting anything, but I’m here to say writing things down with intention works. I had forgotten about the date I wrote in my calendar, but the day I decided to hand in my letter happened to be only a few days away from my original date. Even though I was in a position to do so, the decision to leave my job to start my own business was not easy. It took a lot of rosé and 80s music to muster up the courage to write a plan. But, it was a plan that was founded in gut instincts; that answered the “Ifs,” “Ands,” and “Buts”; that included telling my colleagues in person; and most importantly, that was written down.
When you’re ready, the world is ready to guide you. And sometimes, all it takes is a pen, paper, and a dream.