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Quitting Your Job Without a New One to Go to? Make Sure You Do These 4 Things First

quit job singapore

Joanne Poh

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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!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.

  • Scopion

    “tell your mistress you won’t be giving her an allowance anymore and so on.” That seems like a 2nd job with great benefits to some people…

  • Rokawa Hakim

    Dont watch bad drama on Laptop. Watch gooddrama on bigger screen. Haha

  • Derrick

    Save up for months before quitting. Few month period to find another job with saving XD

  • Eugene

    Have been wanting quit without anything lined up but could never work up the courage. Coming close to 5 years at my first job and completely burnt out on 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. A year ago my workplace was relocated and now I spend almost two hours commuting to the office and two hours back home. Feedback to management did nothing. Been looking around for a job before I quit but to no success. The feeling of being trapped gets stronger every day.

  • I took 2 years before quitting my $6,000 job and started my own business. Have been doing my own business on the side, at night (with the support from my boss), for five years. At first it was doing freelance web design and search engine marketing work for clients, before I incorporated Canny Digital Pte Ltd at the start of this year. Took me alot of courage to quit a high paying job and go full time into business. I didn’t quit my job before the sales figures could match up to my salary.

    And I agree with you; pay your bills in advance. Took me 2.5 years to pay a $50,000 education loan. The absence of a debt gave me more confidence to pursue my own thing.

    What I would also suggest is to have social support; from your spouse, your family and friends. With their support, it will give you more confidence to succeed.