Any time you find yourself caught between wanting to pursue your passion, but needing to preserve your paycheck, it can lead to frustration, bitterness, and apathy towards your employer. At times, it can be really tempting to just cut and run. However, the best approach is to have a well-articulated exit strategy so that it facilitates a smooth transition for both you and your employer.
Usually when we feel stuck at a job, it’s because it no longer serves our professional needs, or we’ve outgrown a position with little to no room for advancement. The job begins to feel more like a barrier standing in the way of our desire to do bigger and better things. To make matters more complex, having a family, financial obligations, or both means that people are relying on us to be fiscally responsible.
But don’t despair. There is a way to leave your current job without burning any bridges or going bankrupt. If you are really ready to take action, an exit strategy is an excellent way to build your future without sacrificing the benefits of remaining employed.
Here are 5 questions to consider when crafting your own exit strategy:
How soon are you looking to leave?
a. 3 months
b. 6 months
c. 9 months
d. 12 months
Putting an actual date to your exit helps make you more accountable for following through on your strategy. It also gives you a timeframe for tying up loose ends, and investigating steps you need to take get the maximum benefit out of things like medical insurance, 401(k), vacation and sick time.
2) If you quit your job today, do you have enough savings to sustain you for the next 6 months?
And by savings, this means money that you have accumulated over time, but are now willing part with to pay for monthly bills and daily needs. – Also you need to determine what (if any) sacrifices you’re willing to make financially if your cash flow changes after you exit. For example, manicures, pedicures, salon visits, trips to Starbucks, cable television etc., might be things that get sacrificed in order to have more money available for necessities.
3) Is reducing your workload to part time an option?
If you can swing it financially, use the extra time to build your personal brand, network with others, establish yourself as an expert or authority in a particular field or on a particular subject. Activities such as blogging, writing a book, going to MeetUps, conferences, etc. are great ways to get your name out there and start connecting with the people who share your passions and interests.
4) If you are desiring to go into business for yourself, what steps have you taken to:
- Assess the market (demand/growth) for your product or service
- Determine start-up costs
- Prepare a Business Plan
- Scope out the competition
- Explore legal requirements
- Build systems for accounting, marketing, processing
- Investigate Trademark or Copyright for the naming of your business
- Secure a web domain name
If none of these things have been done, that’s perfectly fine. But what this list gives you are some things to work on over the next 3-12 months so that when you leave your current employer, everything will be in place to facilitate a smooth transition.
Working on these items while still employed shifts the dynamics of your current situation. If your exit strategy is to leave your current role for entrepreneurship, then your employer becomes an investor in this endeavor because it allows you to financially maintain your household, while you use nights, weekends, lunch breaks, vacation days, etc. to develop your brand/business.
5) Is your next career move geographically located where you currently are?
If you are looking to make a BIG move, you should schedule some time for travel. Again, your employer operates as an investor allowing you the benefit of vacation days so that you can travel without losing any income.
When you build these considerations into your exit strategy, the job seems less of a burden and more of a blessing because you know that it is serving as a financial resource that allows you to build your dream. Getting unstuck isn’t impossible, but it does require planning. You can jumpstart the process by determining your exit date (i.e. 6 months) and creating a calendar with tasks and “to-do’s” to keep you on pace as you prepare for your next move.
Personal brand builder, Dr. Shanté Bishop, helps diverse women find the courage, clarity, and conviction to pursue their dreams, launch their brand, and earn larger revenues. Get access to Shanté's FREE Brand Builder checklist and other free resources at http://www.designherlabel.com.
Be sure to connect with Shante at http://designherlabel.com or Twitter @DesignHerLabel and Facebookhttp://facebook.com/designherlabel
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