If you’re going to jump, take a parachute

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Have you ever thought about quitting your job? Just packing up and walking out because you 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.

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I eventually rescinded my two weeks notice because my actions where rash and I was a little fearful — okay, a lot fearful.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.

Blog Author Bio

Melissa J. Nixon is founder of the Courageous Life Academy, a coaching and consulting firm. She formerly served as director of organizational development and learning at Delhaize.

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