It’s not ideal to leave a job and not have another lined up, but it happens. Whether you were laid off or decided your job wasn’t right for you, it’s hard to know what to do in that strange in-between time.
I left my last job in broadcast news without a clear plan — all I knew was that it wasn’t for me, and I needed to move on. I don’t regret that decision now, since I know I would have only prolonged my unhappiness, but I do wish I hadn’t been so hard on myself during that transition. Once I’d made the move to leave, I had moments of panic: What if there were no other jobs? What would people think of me because I’d quit? What did I think of me because I quit? Marcy Twete talked about quitting on Monday, and made some good points about knowing when to quit.
But once you’ve quit or been laid off, how do you cope? Paolina Milana at the Daily Muse offers 5 survival tips when you’re between jobs. She focuses mostly on those who have been laid off, but I want to also address those of us who quit. Quitting a job in today’s economy seems crazy to most people, so those of us who have quit face a special battle. With this in mind, here are some tips for surviving life between jobs:
- Recognize that there is nothing wrong with you. You’re not crazy for quitting and you’re not a loser for being laid off. That’s just your negative voice talking — don’t let it take control! More people than you realize are being laid off, and there are other people out there who have quit jobs. In fact, I’ve met a lot of them at recent networking events. They have survived and you will survive, too.
- Seek advice. As Milana suggests, now can be a good time to seek an outside perspective. Maybe a mentor or even a psychologist could help. You can also seek the advice of a career or life coach — anyone who can help you step outside yourself and look objectively at the situation.
- Surround yourself with people who want to help you, and who want you to grow. If you quit, you were probably miserable in your last job, and everyone could tell. Something inside you knows that you aren’t on the right path. Find the people who support you in finding what you really want, and who will help you change and grow. Don’t hang around with anyone who brings you down or wants you to stay only in the same place. If you were laid off, surround yourself with people who are supportive of your next move.
- Keep yourself busy. One of the best things I did after I quit my job was to start taking writing classes and meeting other writers. They weren’t classes for credit — they just connected me with other likeminded individuals. I also found a part time retail job, to help fill my time before I made my next move. Keeping myself busy helped me dwell less on the fact that I didn’t have a job, and it kept me from obsessing all day in front of a computer, scouring job sites. I set aside only a couple hours a day for job hunting and grad school research.
- Take the time to listen to yourself. You finally have time to listen to yourself and figure out what you really want. When you’re out keeping yourself busy, explore those activities that you are passionate about. See where they take you.
- Above all, remember that this time won’t last forever. You will find whatever it is you are meant to do next. Your world as you know it will not collapse and cease to exist. As Milana says, “This too shall pass.”
Check out the rest of Milana’s tips for “Living in Limbo” by clicking here.