Despite the fact that quitting without a new job lined up sounds totally crazy to people in countries with a less robust employment market than ours, more and more burned out young Singaporeans opt to “take a break” once they throw that letter on their boss’s desks. Whether you think that’s crazy or crazy awesome, there are some things every triumphant letter-thrower should do other than look for a new job.
1. Get some medical insurance
Whether you realised it or not, your company was probably giving you some kind of basic health insurance, just in case you got hospitalised while on the job. If there’s anything worse than falling sick, it’s falling sick when you’re jobless and without an income.
By all means, go on that backpacking trip in Nepal, take up temporary residence on Pulau Ubin or start learning how to rock climb. But if you don’t already have medical insurance, now that you’re jobless you’ll need it. Set up an appointment with an insurance advisor and also bring along the documents for the policy your office gave you, since it might be extendable beyond your employment in some cases.
2. Minimise your liabilities
Being jobless becomes less of a holiday and more of a burden when you’re drowning under a mountain of liabilities and desperately need a new job to pay for them. Worrying about money really sucks the enjoyment out of not having to report at the office. On the other hand, the lower your liabilties are, the longest you can enjoy your break from the rat race.
If you anticipate a resignation on the horizon, it’s a good idea to start minimising your liailities even before that fateful day. Downgrade your phone plan if it’s up for renewal, cancel unnecessary subscriptions like gym memberships, tell your mistress you won’t be giving her an allowance anymore and so on.
3. Pay your bills in advance
Nobody likes receiving mail from LTA, NTUC Income, Prudential or PUB. or Recurring bills like road tax, insurance premiums and income tax are fifty times more painful to pay when you’re not working. That lump sum might be merely a blip on your list of monthly expenses when you’re gainfully employed, but when you’re not working one insurance bill could mean another month of Maggi mee.
If your resignation is imminent, aim to pay your bills as far in advance as possible before you quit. That way, if you find that your cash flow is too low for comfort, you can delay your resignation by a month or two. In addition, the likelihood that you’ll freak out and accept a crappy new job out of desperation is considerably lower.
And obviously, if you have high interest debt like credit card loans, do not quit without paying them off unless you want to end up fleeing to Johor with a fake passport.
4. Plan what to do during your break
The feeling that time is money can be quite painfully felt when you’re jobless. Every moment you spend not working still costs you money nonetheless. Every listless evening you spend twiddling your thumbs wondering how to occupy yourself is wasted time, because it’s not free—you still need to pay for the cost of being alive by feeding yourself, paying phone bills and so on. If you really suck at planning, you might just find yourself silently exhausting your savings as you watch bad Korean dramas on your laptop.
Hence, to maximise the utility of your break, make at least rough plans for your time of unemployment. You don’t have to go all psycho and start scheduling time for showers and toilet breaks, but at least do something fulfilling with all that newfound free time, because it’s not going to last forever. A break from work can free up time to go on a backpacking adventure, learn how to surf or start a business, but it can also leave you wishing you had a job.
Have you ever quit without a new job waiting? Share your experiences in the comments!