Quitting a job before securing new employment can be risky. Yes, sometimes people do it for what they consider is a magnanimous reason: they don’t want to take away time from their current employer in order to look for work. An alternative reason is that it’s difficult to carve out time to look for a new job while still at the old job.
Whatever the rationale, it is important to consider the consequences of quitting a job before finding a new one. Here are five reasons why it is wiser to hold on until the next job offer comes along.
The Labor Market is Unstable Right Now
This should be reason enough to consider staying put. With record-breaking layoffs and an unemployment level at 6.1 percent, up from 5 percent just six months ago, now is not the best time to up and quit a job, any job, without having a new position.
While job seekers who are at their wit’s end due to poor or stressful work conditions may be ready to jump ship, keep in mind nothing is more stressful than being unemployed and looking for a job. With that in mind it is important to have a backup plan. That means if it really is time quit, have another source of income – savings, a significant other, part-time work or preferably all three – and a job search strategy.
It Pays to Have a Steady Income
Job seekers who do not have unlimited financial resources and a back up plan will find it difficult without a steady pay check, and quitting usually means giving up the right to unemployment insurance; though it’s best to apply just in case.
The benefit of having a job while looking for another one is that it provides a regular flow of income. It may mean less freedom to actively look for a new employment opportunity and therefore a longer search time, but ultimately having a job will make the transition to a new position easier and less stressful.
A Knee-Jerk Reaction Could Result in a Jerky Job
The difficulty with quitting before securing another opportunity is that if the perfect job doesn’t appear rather quickly, many job seekers will begin to panic and wind up making a bad job choice. That means they could wind up in the same horrible work situation they just left or maybe something even worse. Ultimately it is better to stick with the devil you know. At least until the right opportunity comes along.
Finding a New Job is Never as Easy as it Seems
Even if jobs are a dime a dozen, finding and securing the right one will take time. Experts have been known to say one month of searching for every $10K of salary, though this is not necessarily a proven fact.
Depending on the position, industry and company, searching for a job takes time and several steps. It means job seekers have to prepare and send in the perfect resume, go through the interview process, complete the background and reference check, receive a job offer and start work – all of which will likely take several weeks.
The End Result Could be a Hiring Red Flag
Sure experts will say that the world of recruiting has become more lenient over the past few years and employers are more open to hiring job seekers who currently don’t have jobs or have large gaps of unemployment. However, given the choice between equally qualified candidates, the one with stability is more likely to win out.
And while it may seem strange to the average job seeker, there is something about a person with a job that reeks of responsibility. On the other hand, the desperate job seeker who is likely to take the first decent offer is a turn off. It may have to do with that old “hard to get” mind set.
So, before bailing on a current opportunity, think twice. It really does make sense to hold on and not quit until the next job offer arrives.