5 massive lessons learned from quitting my job

5 massive lessons learned from quitting my job

I quit my big bucks, big power, and big privilege job recently.

I had no job to go to, but knew I had to make a change. I prepared thoroughly for my exit. Or so I thought. What happened in the first 10 days after resigning shocked me.

Here are the important lessons I learnt.

1. Confidence is preparation

Make a detailed plan of everything you will need to do in the first three days after resigning, and then for the first two weeks you are out of a job, and so on. Plan your finances, your communication, brainstorm ‘next step’ options BEFORE you quit.

I had made detailed plans. Yet I still missed the most critical element. Have your personal ‘technology’ all set and ready to go. Sounds simple, but I blew it. I left my role without an email. It took me a week to get a laptop and the email address I wanted. Plus I had to change my work mobile phone to a personal account, and that took time.

Not having technology ready to go leaves you isolated and feeling lost. Big mistake.

2. Be prepared to be ‘punched in the face’

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” That’s an insight from Mike Tyson. It’s true. My plan disintegrated on Day Two. That’s when I got ‘punched’.

As is common in my industry, when you resign, you get kicked out right away. Suddenly I was home. Disoriented. No schedule for the day. Alone. Fear rose. Confidence wained. Be prepared for the punch. It will come, in many different forms.

3. Seek the company of those who give you heart

This was the best thing I did. In my first two weeks out I made sure I met with the small handful of friends and associates who motivate and inspire me — who ‘give me heart.’ These people energise me. A couple were surprises — they called me for a get-together, and pumped my tyres with their enthusiasm and optimism about me and my future. A good recruiter can help here too.

Know who ‘gives you heart,’ and schedule time with them, fast.

4. Have somewhere to go

Get out of the house. I was immediately ‘in the way’ at home, stepping on the toes of systems and processes I did not understand or contribute to. I was disruptive, and disrupted.

I quickly shaped a routine, which saw me leave in the morning, borrow a desk at a friend’s office and also a table at a local coffee shop, and work on my ‘next step’ until a reasonable hour.

Whatever this means for your set up, ‘have somewhere to go,’ and get a disciplined routine in place, quickly.

5. Know your ‘guard rails’

Brilliant advice from a friend. I told him I was feeling fear about my next step and ‘what was going to happen to me’. Would I find the right role, or should I grab whatever is offered?

“Know your guard rails, Chris. Get clear in your mind the kind of job you KNOW you can get, and the salary that goes with that. That’s kind of your worst case. And it’s not too bad, right! Once you know your guard rails, have patience and faith, and keep working on finding the perfect role. Do that always knowing what your guard rails are. it gives you confidence.”

So, I’m 10 days in and feeling strong.

If you ever go down this path, and quit a role without a ‘next step’ firmed up, remember my five lessons:

1. Prepare (and that includes technology).
2. Be ready for a ‘punch’.
3. Spend time with people who ‘give you heart.’
4. Have somewhere to go (and be disciplined).
5. And know your guard rails.

Oh — and be ready for your heart to pump a little faster —  in a very positive way. Frankly, I have not felt this alive in years.

More reading:

15 rules to resigning with grace
What is the best job in the world for you?
A guide to resignation


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