5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Leave Your Job

Take Charge on 06.28.12
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Photo: DVIDSHUB/Creative Commons

There are two ways to leave a job: The proverbial, "Take this job and shove it!" moment and the less popular, "Don't let the door hit ya' on the way out." This is top of mind of course, given the developments involving Today show co-anchor Ann Curry, who is being shown the door after about a year in the big chair. Being fired from a high-profile job is something I know well and it's not fun. Some of you may know it too, or suspect it may be in the offing. In the event it is, here are some tips for planning for a graceful exit and a successful relaunch.

1. Do you have a skill, hobby, or side business now? Give it away! That's right. While you still have a job, use your weekends to build a client base. You may even think about doing an internship; it helps build your skills and you won't have to worry about making money while you are getting your sea legs.

2. Are you busy blogging? Use some of what you are learning on the job now and parlay that into a social media presence.  It is a great way to get your message out there and meet like-minded people. You may even be able to sell your product or service by drawing attention to it through your blog.

3. What can you leverage from your current employer? If anyone ever says to you, "Call me if you need a reference," take them up on it. If you see leaving in your immediate future a letter of reference from your employer or clients can be golden.

4. Are you able to take classes? While you are employed you may have more dollars than when you become unemployed. Use this time and your latte money to take a class here and there. If that isn't in your budget, check out YouTube, Google, and a bevy of other online resources.

5. Have you joined any groups? Doing your own thing often starts and is sustained by being around people who are also doing their own thing. You build relationships, knowledge, best-practices, and a support system when you join networks. If you end up without a job it is also a great place to start when you need to start over.

Leaving your job, no matter how it happens, is a major life change. It is not often we are completely ready for major change no matter how much time we have to prepare. But by doing these few things, you can be one step closer to alternative employment success if you ever find yourself without traditional job options.

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