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If you’re going to jump, take a parachute

Sunday, October 11, 2015  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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By Melissa J. Nixon

Have you ever thought about quitting your job? Just packing up and walking out becauseyou see no clear career path, you’ve had enough dysfunction or because your dream was ready to burst out? I have — and I did.

Years ago I was well into my career, a great one at that, when I literally walked in and turned in my two weeks' notice. The desire to start my own coaching and training business grew so strong that I couldn’t take not acting on it anymore.

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There was nothing wrong with my career. It was one most people would love to have. My co-workers and I would often have conversations about how excited we would be to come back from vacation because we loved our careers so much. I wasn’t running away from it, I was running toward the life and destiny I knew I was supposed to live.

I would daydream about it in meetings. I couldn’t go any length of time without talking about it with some of my closest friends. I was ready. It was time.

But, I made a big mistake.

I took the leap without a parachute. I was jumping without a job. I jumped without a plan. All I had was the tremendous desire and compelling feeling to go and go now. I did exactly what most people who leave their jobs do:

1. Wait until a time of crisis, then either make a rash move by jumping ship, like I did, or

2. Get caught in an unexpected reorganization or downsizing.

Both experiences leave you feeling uncertain, fearful and, at times, desperate.

I eventually rescinded my two weeks notice because my actions where rash and I was a little fearful — okay, a lot fearful. I realized the right decision at the wrong time is still the wrong decision.

If you are ready to say goodbye to an employer who limits your opportunities, doesn’t recognize your talent, or is simply a bad fit, I urge you to make a plan. Ongoing career planning is something you should be doing anyway.

There is never going to be the exact right time to change jobs. But taking the time to plan your next career step while you have time and security is not only helpful, it's critical.

Melissa J. Nixon, known as "The Courage Life Mentor," is founder of the Courageous Life Academy, a coaching and consulting firm specializing in helping visionary leaders, emerging c-suite executives, CEOs and women influencers to maximize their leadership, business and life potential. She formerly served as director of organizational development and learning at Delhaize. She is a contributor to The Huffington Post and Lifehack.

Views expressed in blogs, posts and user comments are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and corporate partners.

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