Should You Quit Your Job Before Finding a New One?
According to a late-September (2020) report published by Pro Bono Economics, charity and not-for-profit organisations across the UK are bracing for tough months—and possibly years—ahead.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, almost half of all UK charities are forecasting lower income, with 1 in 5 reporting a decline in income of more than 25%. About half of organisations surveyed are significantly reducing operational activity, and more than two-thirds of them have applied for financial support from the government.
Quitting one job and searching for another has always been at least a bit intimidating; in 2020, it’s downright frightening.
That’s why we’re revisiting the age-old question: should you quit your job before finding a new one?
Hold off, if you can
In light of the UK officially being in a recession, it’s best to postpone your plans on quitting until after you have another job lined up, if possible. According to London-based Executive Connexions, 51% of job seekers required 4 or more months to locate their new job. During the pandemic as well as for a while after, both numbers will likely be higher.
With UK organisations cutting costs to make ends meet, the job market has become crowded with former charity workers who’ve been made redundant. Which means you have a whole lot more competition than you would have had back in 2019. Having a steady salary in 2021 is just about a perk in itself, and that’s without any health benefits and company extras you may currently enjoy.
Aside from the financial aspect, quitting a job before finding a new one may also compound the stresses and anxieties brought on by the pandemic. The pressures of locating a new job once you’ve left your former one can be a significant burden, and your increased discouragement and worry may hamper your search.
After months unemployment and a fruitless job search, you may jump at the first opportunity that comes your way, one which itself may be just as bad—or worse—than your current job. If you can wait it out, searching for a new job while still employed will make things a whole lot easier. You’ll have the luxury of waiting until the right opportunity pops up, and you also won’t feel as desperate (something employers may sense) at any interviews.
Know when to leave
Unfortunately, waiting until you have a new job lined up before quitting your current one isn’t always possible.
You could have a relentlessly demanding job which allows you no spare time to spend hunting down a new one or attending interviews. And, if you face stress, harassment, danger, illegal behaviour or an otherwise toxic working environment, you should get out as soon as you can.
However, if you aren’t encountering inconvenient, untoward or hazardous conditions, give it a bit more thought before handing in your resignation.
Money is quite important, for starters. Do you have enough savings to last you a few months should you quit your job before finding a new one? If you anticipate medical costs after leaving, do you have them covered?
Time is a crucial element to regard, as well. Make a plan for yourself on how you’ll spend your unemployment. The demands of job hunting are equivalent to a full-time job, so try to structure your day in a similar way. If you’re used to working the regular 9-to-5 schedule, commit to using those same eight hours Monday through Friday to look for work.
Another consideration is your general feeling of safety. Do you have a support structure in place? Even when you do have the financial means to leave your job, leaning on family, friends and/or a significant other makes these tough times and decisions less so.
Consider how time off might affect future prospects
Finally, mind the gap—the employment gap. Leaving your current job before finding a new one will translate into a void in work on your CV. Lengthy gaps, which are likelier now due to the pandemic, tend to raise red flags with not-for-profit recruiters and directors.
To avoid any repercussions from a long unemployment period, do something that will enhance your charity CV. One choice is volunteering, a perfect way to continue building professional experience while helping an honourable cause. Connect with third sector peers at virtual networking events. Or, consider strengthening your skills by taking free courses online; check out LinkedIn Learning, Coursera and edX to start.
Ready to find your next charity job?
The question of whether you should find a new job before quitting or after is one you’ll ultimately have to answer for yourself. However, once you’ve made that all-important decision, we’re here to help make the rest of the experience as smooth a transition as possible!
Whether you’re thinking about quitting or have already resigned, there’s no better place to search for not-for-profit work than on CharityJob. Start your search for a new job in the charity sector today!
Christian Eilers is a career and education writer with a focus on the topics of professional development, college entry, university life, and entrepreneurship. As the Content Lead for the Goodwall Blog, he covers subjects including self-improvement, social impact, college preparation, career advancement, fighting climate change, and more. Christian is originally from New York City and now resides in Warsaw, Poland.