More and more people are calling it quits to successful careers to create some personal leisure time or to pursue another career. This trend is becoming more popular and common. Years ago few people voluntarily quit a job midway through their careers, no matter how unhappy they were. It was not acceptable to leave one job without having another job to go to. There was a stigma present that you were damaged goods if you did so.
I think that what has caused executives taking time off more common and acceptable is corporate restructuring which has lead to burnout. Corporate jobs are not as straight forward as once were. These factors have caused employees to bail out for a few months or longer without knowing exactly where or how they will land. Making a decision like this takes planning and it is not something you decide to do overnight. Without some planning it could be a disaster. Before quitting a job that you are financially dependent upon, you should have done some financial planning ahead of time. Decreasing debt and having enough dollars saved up to support yourself for however long you intend to be off is a must. You also need to think about what you are going to do with your time. Are you going to spend more time developing a hobby, do volunteer work, get in physical shape, rest, go back to school, pursue another career, spend more time with family, etc. Have a plan because finding yourself with an abundance of free time all of a sudden can become a shock triggering feelings of aimlessness. Several years ago after agonizing several months trying to make up my mind, I took the plunge and decided to quit a managerial level position. I was unhappy and burntout but I was too consumed with the job to really know what I wanted to do. All I knew was I wanted and needed to work somewhere doing something but as long as I was working the job, I had no time to really pursue another career or interest.
When I made the decision to quit the job without another job to go to, I remember the comments and negative feedback I received from friends and colleagues. They thought I was having a mental breakdown. After a few months off I felt more relaxed and I just felt better. I was able to fall into another career. I must admit that I had absolutely no skills or knowledge in my new career so I literally started over. It meant taking some classes to add more skills to my resume and I encountered an understanding employer who saw something and decided to take a chance on me.
In summary, almost on a daily basis I hear of someone taking a break from the work force by choice. It is becoming common practice. If you can afford to, it does provide a way to pursue other interests or an opportunity to just clear your head. If you are considering quitting your job without another job, know that you are not alone and it will be okay.
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