So you want to quit your job? Where do you start?
You want to be out next year this time. Mark it down on your calendar, start a countdown somewhere. Paste the calendar on your wall and X off the days as you live them. Being our own boss, living on our own terms or shifting our career and financial life to one of the remote destinations is a big step. A step a lot of us yearn to take but modern day needs and expenses often scare us away. That’s OK, it’s normal to be scared, to have anxiety about where that next check will come from. Preparation, confidence and short-term goals are needed to making this a reality for you. With a plan in place, something to reference and keep you focused and centered on the task at hand will make that seemingly elusive reality, doable. Below we list out some steps in taking the plunge.
Step 1 -- Current Situation
- Assess your current financial information -- take stock of all your current financial holdings, anything that has a realistic cash liquidation value. Here you can determine your Top Line -- what’s everything you got?
- Next look at your monthly and yearly expenses -- add up your monthly phone bill x 12, rent, insurance and others -- itemize it all out in chronological order so you can gauge how much cash you will need to send out on a monthly basis.
- Review that picture in total -- do you need the gym membership? How much are you paying to Starbucks? Can you start making your own coffee? What can you live with and what can’t you. Reviewing your expenditures will help you determine what kind of income you’ll need to support your lifestyle.
Step 2 -- Forming a Plan
- Depending on your ambitions and hopeful future, you will need to assess how many months of expenses you will need -- your burn rate. This number will be unique for all, but as a baseline, expect to have at least 1 year socked away. If you’re going to make the plunge, you should be giving yourself ample time to make it a reality! It’s likely you’ll get cold feet occasionally if not all the time so be sure to have enough cushion to keep anxiety levels down so you can focus on building your new life.
- What are your goals? How will your expenses change in time? 1 year? 3 years? 5 years? Your assessment of your prospective financial needs and situation will help you identify what your prospective work life will need to look like.
- Slush Fund -- Are there any one-time big expenditures upcoming? Are you in a committed relationship? Will you need any surgeries? Some of these are hard to identify, but life happens to all of us and you never know when a rainy day will come -- have a slush fund for those black swan events in your life
Step 3 -- Getting Started & Accountability
- Once you’ve taken stock of things, reviewed your lifestyle and identified your needs to make it a reality, how will you start? Start by looking at your work schedule and calendar and assess how it will impact your plan. Big conferences, projects, etc., upcoming? What will be required of you at work? During this time, be as efficient as possible at work and unless your current work is a 180 from what you want to be doing, soak up as much of it as you can. If you work at a big place that offers talks, trainings, networking events, etc.., lean in like Sheryl Sandberg. Take advantage of the resources, bc once on your own you’ll realize how much you really had!
- Create a calendar for yourself --- Note milestone dates for yourself, note days where you take stock of things, measure against your plan, etc.
- Mark off all dates so you can ‘feel’ the plan. Visuals help to ingrain and will keep you on task.
- Tell someone! Obviously not your boss, but maybe a close friend or family member? Telling others about our plan adds in an element of external accountability. Are you ready to tell them you’re bailing out? That it’s too hard? Or can they be someone you can lean on for advice and encouragement? Whatever it is, you know you, better than we do. Do what you need to make it a reality, but someone in the know with you can help you stay and chart the course.