Should you leave your job without a job offer in hand?

I remember the days when I used to wake up to go to a job that I hated. It was not long time ago since I left that job and made the career shift to Entrepreneurship and Education world.

When I look back now, I ask myself: Why didn’t I take the jump before? Why did I go through 18 months of emotional pain being in a job I hated?

And from this question I am thinking: Should someone leave their job without a job offer in hand?

Is it a YES or  a NO? I will tell you in this article!

First off, It’s interesting to state that 90% of the adults working in the UAE are looking for better job opportunities than the one they are in at the moment.

Imagine a fresh graduate spending 10 hours staring at a screen and doing some boring paperwork that only suffocates him and takes away from his soul. The pay is OK! But it just doesn’t feel right! This person keeps telling himself: “I am only doing this until I get another offer.” or: “I am only doing this until I get enough experience.”

Imagine a working mother working as a marketing executive being bombarded with requests from his/her manager. This lady is working overtime without getting paid for it (not even a word of appreciation!). If it wasn’t only for her kids/family, she would have quit long time ago! “But who is going to provide to my family” she thinks.

These are just two examples of many out there, and I am sure you would understand how tough it is! Many people want to leave their jobs but they are waiting for the right job offer to come at hand before they decide to leave.

So should you leave your job before having an offer in hand?

The Right and Wrong Answer Dilemma 

We need to understand that every person’s situation is different. You cannot let anyone else decide for you.

This article will help you gain clarity on what are the important stuff to consider when you want to decide to quit or not to quit without a job offer in hand.

Steps to Make The Decision

Step 1- The Reality Check

To decide, you need to start by doing some reality checks.

Ask yourself: Do you really want to leave? Can you fix it in your job? Or is not fixable at all?

Here is a quiz by Harvard Business Review you can take that can help you understand if you are happy in your job or not? Take the Quiz

The quiz tests the factors influencing happiness, hope, and friendship at work.

Test Results

Read the test results (not just the graphs) and verify if that is what you are feeling or not.

Either ways, the next two questions should do the job:

The Two Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Get a piece of paper, and answer these two questions:

  • If you were to list all the good things about your current job, What are the top 10 items you will say?
  • If you were to list all the bad things about your current job, What are the top 10 items you will say? 

Check Point

If you can bear with the bad things in the job, then you can job hunt while staying at your current job.

If you cannot, then you can keep reading on 🙂

Step 2- Evaluate the Major Factors

At this stage, you are clear that the job you are in is not suitable for you to stay in. Now, you need to evaluate the major factors that affect your decision.

When I asked my readers and my circle of friends: What are the factors that you consider if you want to leave a job? I got a consistent response of the factors. Here are the top 5 questions I found being repeated:

Question 1 – How does your bank account look like?

If your bank account is empty, then you better not leave your job and lose your income! I always recommend for people to keep at least 6 months worth of savings if you want to leave your job.

Here is a quick way to calculate how much you need to have in the bank account:

Total Amount = (Monthly Expenses + Marginal Savings) * 6 + Emergency Funds

Monthly Expenses: This includes your rent, car, clothes, food, commute, etc..

Emergency Funds:There is ALWAYS something going to happen and need an extra few thousands of Dirhams immediately – Count for it from now!

Marginal Savings:You will overspend at some point, this to account for that. I usually take 10% extra of my monthly expenses.

Example: Let’s say you are living alone:

  • Monthly Expenses for an individual= 3,000 DHS (including rent, commute, clothes, etc..)
  • Emergency Funds= I usually take 2000-3000 DHS for every 3 months. Meaning It becomes 4000-6000 DHS emergency funds for 6 months.
  • Marginal Savings= 10%

Total Amount= (3000 + 300) * 6 + 4000 = 23,800 DHS

If you want to survive alone, then you need at least 23,800 DHS to cover for your expenses for 6 months!

Check Point

 If you don’t have the 6 months savings, then I suggest you save up quickly before you take the jump.

Question 2 – Did you consider the logistics and legalities?

Leaving a job means you will no longer hold a work visa in the country. This is a very broad topic and depends on many factors, but it’s EXTREMELY important to put this in consideration.

To stay in the country, you need to sort out the visa issue. Here are a few ideas you can start from:

  • Ask your current employer: If you have a good relationship with your current employer, then ask them to help you out by keeping your visa until it expires.
  • Get a sponsorship from your husband/father: If you are a female and married or living with your parents, then your husband/father can sponsor you.
  • Get a Visit Visa:You can leave the country, and get a visit visa for 1-3 months. This will cost you a bit of money, but it’s a very common option as well!
  • Setup a Free Zone Business (Freelancer):This is a bit costly option (and I recommend you account for the cost before you leave your current job). You can get a freelancer business license and issue your visa on it for as low as 22,000 DHS. This visa is usually valid for 2-3 years. Check out www.vz.ae for details on that.

The rules keep changing every once and awhile, but there are always ways to get your visa sorted out, you just have to ask around (and be smart about it!) 🙂

Question 3 – Who are you holding with you?

If you are responsible for a family, then you have to consider they exist!

Usually, having a family means they are depending on you financially and legally (Visa wise). You should consider a way to fix this or else you will face trouble leaving your job.

I don’t have a family I am supporting financially or legally (yet!) but I can tell you what I see from the people around me:

  • Second Income:Living in the UAE is expensive and having a second source of income is EXTREMELY helpful for the household! This could be through side hustles or your partner working.
  • Supportive Partner/Parents:If your partner or parents are not supportive of leaving your job without a job offer in hand, then expect a lot of trouble! I would usually over communicate myself to the person in front of me to make sure he/she gets me and how I feel and think.

Question 4 – Did you consider Side Hustling?

If you didn’t read Chris Guillebeau’s new book about side hustling, then you gotta!! (I talked to him about side hustling here)

We all want multiple sources of income, right?  Of course.  If you want to quit your job, then you are killing one source of income..!!

But that’s OK, you can create a side hustle to help you cover for the income from your current job. It’s not meant to cover ALL of your expenses, but 1% of something is better that 100% of nothing, right?

Question 5 – Do you have a job-hunting game plan after you quit?

This is the fifth question but it should be on top of the list because if this is not very well planned, all the work and planning is useless!

You need to create a game plan for job hunting.  For example:

  • Do you have your marketing materials ready? (CV/Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn Profile)?
  • Did you check for networking events around you to go to?
  • How are you going to approach the companies you will apply to?

Note: Networking and being well connected in the industry you want to land a job in is VERY helpful and could cut MONTHS of job hunting for you.

In fact, if you are REALLY WELL connected, you should have a job offer before you leave your job (That’s how powerful and important this is!)

In simple terms, do you have a plan that ensures you will get the job offer as soon as possible?

If you considered all of the five questions mentioned above, then you have considered the major factors the affect your decision.

Step 3- Evaluate the Other Factors

What other factors can you think of that affect this decision? Examples:

  • Do you have a mortgage/loan you have to pay?
  • Do you have a medical condition in your family that needs a medical insurance?

List all of the other factors that affects your decision.

Step 4- Ask An Expert

Experts give a different perspective. They have been through your situation before or they know someone who has been.

Ask them for an advice and let them tell you the stories they know about leaving a job.  This will help you on many levels:

  • If you are stressing out, they will calm you down.
  • If you need someone to guide you through the process, then can give you a specific advice.

How to Find Them?

One of the best ways is LinkedIn: Connect to industry experts and ask them for help/advice.

Action Steps

Step 1– Search for the job title of the expert. Example: “Marketing Director”

Step 2– Check out the profile of the expert and find something interesting to you that would grab their attention when you message them.

Step 3– Connect with at least 10 expert.

Step 4– Once they accept the connection, send them a message using the script below.

Note: If you get a response from 1-2 for every 10 people you reach out to, then you are doing well!

Script to Send

Here is a script you could use:

Hello [Name],

I saw you are [Something good you noticed in their profile (or business) that relates to the point you are asking about] and thought you could give great perspective given your expertise.

I work at [current job] and I am debating leaving my current job before I get another job offer in hand.

The reasons are [mention all the reasons].

What do you think? I appreciate your time and help.

Thanks,

[Your Name]

Tear Down of the Script

You start with a compliment about something you noticed about this person. This helps you cut through the messages these experts receive on consistent basis and actually grab their attention.

Then, you briefly mention who you are and what you do and what are the reasons you are thinking of leaving, this gives context to the expert you are reaching out to.

Important Note: Don’t send the story of your life, they don’t care! Just send the details that actually matters so the expert can give you an advice.

Another Important Note: Try to be concise, the expert doesn’t have all day to read your message.

Step 5- Take a Decision

Now that you addressed the major and other factors, you now have a clear understanding of where this is standing. You can now take a decision whether you want to quit or not.

If you Decided to Quit

Remember that quitting a job is like any other decision in life, it could go right or could go wrong. The most important thing is to be firm with your decision once you take it and own the results! It’s ALWAYS going to turn out to the better, even if you still don’t see it 😉

Be Patient

Patience here is key to reach anything you want in life. No matter what it is you want in life, IT WILL TAKE TIME.

So be patient and take it easy on yourself.

In Summary

I cannot say QUIT or DON’T QUIT to everyone. It’s a contextual issue that has to be addressed according to each person’s conditions.

There are 5 steps to take to get to a clear decision on this:

    1. The Reality Check – Can you fix it in your job? Or is not fixable at all?
    2. Evaluate the Major FactorsQuestion 1-How does your bank account look like?
      • Question 2-Did you consider the logistics and legalities?
      • Question 3- Who are you holding with you?
      • Question 4- Did you consider Side Hustling?
      • Question 5-Do you have a game plan after you quit?
    3. Evaluate the Other Factors
    4. Ask an Expert
    5. Make a Decision

Your Turn

Now it’s your turn, tell me if you thought of quitting your job without a job offer?

If you did, What was it like?

If you didn’t, What would you do if you wanted to quit?

(2) Comments
  1. I left my first job without another offer and was unemployed for quite a while after. It was still the right decision for me because i wasn’t interested in the industry I was in; I couldn’t see a future in it. I wasn’t learning anything that I can transfer to another job either. So staying felt to me not only like a waste of time, but an unnecessary emotional pressure. Having said that, that was my own experience: I had saved up some money and I wasn’t providing for a family. So in that sense it wasn’t a difficult decision for me. However, each person has to evaluate their situation and their position: are they learning anything at all? Is the experience they gained in this company enough to find another opportunity? So I agree with you that you should have a game plan after you quit.

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