Quitting a job can be scary. But that shouldn’t stop anyone from throwing in the towel and sticking it to the man.
In fact, as of late, it seems like it hasn’t. You must have already heard of what people are calling “The Great Resignation.” People have been leaving their jobs in droves for reasons ranging from low pay and bad management to simply not wanting to work or wanting to spend more time with family. So whatever your reasons are for quitting or wanting to quit, know that you are far from alone.
I’ve quit several jobs since I entered the workforce. Sometimes I quit after two years, other times after four months. Each time, I was aided by a mix of delusion and optimism that told me “something better” would soon come my way. Sometimes that took longer than I would have liked. What I really enjoyed, however, was the time before that “something better” came along.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of pushing your desk over, throwing your hands up, and deciding you no longer need the thing that’s been taking anywhere from eight to 12 hours of your weekdays and then some precious hours of your short weekends. Imagine getting back all that time, even for just a short while. There’s also the romantic pull of possibility. Where will I go? What will I do? Who will I meet? I can’t wait to find out, but also… I can. Another prominent feeling that comes with throwing in the towel is relief. You finally did it—and thank God you did.
But now what?
Whether your job requires the same daily routine or comes with surprise huddles every hour, quitting usually means you’re about to have a lot less to do with a lot more time. That’s fucking great. And at the risk of sounding like I’m struggling with toxic productivity, you should make the most of it.
Below is a list of things I’m thankful I did when I was “in between jobs,” and some things I promise to do the next time I am. There will come a time, of course, when you’ll likely have to take a good look at yourself and decide what you want to do next. Hopefully, you’ll have a lot of options. But here are some things you can do right now in humble celebration of finally quitting.
1) Say a proper goodbye to your colleagues
The ones you like, at least. Only because no matter how bad your job was, they likely made it a little bit better. Take them out to drinks if you see them in person, or send them a little parting gift if you don’t. You’re also leaving them in hell, so at least leave them with something good.
2) Decide how honest you want to be at your exit interview
You know exactly why you’re leaving. Maybe you’ve indulged in a quick rant on a Slack huddle about your rejected vacation leave, or tried to explain why your boss is an asshole to a friend who just could not understand. Now is your chance to let it all out. Or not.
See, you’re going to have to tell someone from your job why you’re quitting—your boss, some random person from HR you’ve never heard of in your life, or both. I once left a heartless multinational and didn’t bother saying anything I thought was actually useful. On the other hand, I once quit a startup that I genuinely wished well after I left, so I told my bosses exactly what I thought they should do to make things better for the people who stayed and the people who would come next. It must have sounded harsh, but I knew that they knew I had good intentions.
3) Take what you can (but ask first)
There are probably a lot of things about your job that you want to leave behind, but are there some things you can take with you? Maybe it’s a packet of sticky notes or your favorite mug. Maybe it’s a list of contacts you’ve built for yourself over the years. Or maybe some mental notes of recipes from your job at a restaurant. I was a barista at a place that served coffee, food, and even cocktails sometimes. I never got sick of that place’s stuff while I worked there, and I still make some of its dishes and drinks at home to this day.
4) See some friends you turned down or canceled on because of work
We’ve all done it. Did we have to? Maybe. Do we have to now? No. Go make up for the times you did. Just hope they don’t turn you down this time. Feel free to talk about how you feel about finally quitting your job—you never know who needs to hear it. But also don’t talk about it so much. It’s already done, after all. Move on.
5) Enjoy the silence of your phone
I have been close to traumatized by the notification noises of several messaging, calendar, video call, and task-management apps. Let me tell you—it’s a pleasure to not have to hear them. But it’s a pleasure that can easily go unnoticed. Take a moment to enjoy it. Your ears certainly will. While you’re at it, delete all your work apps from your phone. It feels glorious.
6) Have a non-working lunch
This is something you should have been doing by default anyway. Maybe if you didn’t spend your lunches working then you wouldn’t have quit. But anyway, here we are now. Bonus tip: Eat with your hands so you absolutely cannot work.
7) Go somewhere without your laptop
It will free up some space in your bag, and your mind.
8) Start something of your own
There must be something you’ve always wanted to do, or at least try. Now’s the time. You won’t need anybody else’s approval, you’ll be working at your own time, and nobody will really care how well it turns out. If it goes well and you want to monetize it, then you just found your next step.
9) Watch your bank accounts
Look, you’ve been working hard. You deserve a thing or two. Go off. But unless you’ve got some money in stocks or crypto or whatever else people do nowadays, let me remind you that you’re likely not making money at the moment. Do with that what you want.
And don’t feel bad about it.
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