Be Ready to leave your job with the Evergreen 5 Point plan
Feeling unhappy at work sucks! There’s no two ways about it.
Ever thought about leaving? The trouble is that giving up a secure job is scary as hell.
Despite the monotony of the everyday 9-5 and the sense that some of your colleagues couldn’t give two hoots about your happiness, you still turn up to earn your money and look after the people you care about.
Why is that? I guess it’s because there’s a huge amount of uncertainty in changing your job. What if you don’t find another one? What if you run out of money? What if the job you’re doing now is the only thing you’re any good at? Leaving your job is fraught with worries and doubts.
In fact, I had these exact fears when I left my secure NHS job back in 2011. Part of me thought I was crazy to give it up. I’d just finished paying off some credit card debt, I was making a name for myself and people respected me. I was in a good position to move up the career ladder.
The problem was that the ladders available weren’t the ladders I wanted to climb. And despite having advanced my skills, I was becoming disillusioned about the service we were providing.
Why I left my secure NHS job on a high
I wanted to do much more. I wanted to build, to develop and to improve the way we did things. But others around me didn’t seem to want to. Or at least, they weren’t willing to invest in it.
Why you need a plan
In recent times, I’ve been running training workshops for health professionals who want to set up their own private practices. What’s become apparent to me is that despite the enthusiasm to leave their jobs, it can be bloody frightening and many people just simply don’t do it.
The thing is that these fears aren’t irrational. They point to a possible threat. And you need a plan to minimise those risks. It would be foolish to quit without a strategy of where you are going and how to get there.
Starting your own business isn’t the only option. You can do several things once you hand in your resignation. You can find a new job elsewhere doing something similar. You can change careers or reduce your hours so you can work on a new project during that time.
In reality, there will always be doubts, fears and uncertainties about leaving. You can’t escape that.
What you can do is come up with a plan. Your plan is like a road map. Remember those?
It’s a road map of where to go and which turns to take. It’s like when you drive anywhere new, you won’t feel entirely confident you’re going the right direction. Even with a sat-nav, you still wonder whether you are going to end up in a cul-de-sac somewhere.
You might need to stop from time to time and check your bearings. You might need to tweek your route and then get moving again.
Bu there’s a catch. Yep, you’re going to need to draw your own map. Well, draw in the details that is. And, I’m going to give you a template, which will make the process more simple.
The great thing about this roadmap, if I do say so myself, is that it can work no matter what direction you’re going to go. It’s called the Evergreen 5 Point Plan to help you quit your job.
The Evergreen Five Point Plan to help you Quit your job
Step 1 – Choose your direction. Not knowing what to do if you quit is often the first stumbling block. Maybe you want a similar job or maybe you want to move into senior management. But, you’re not sure.
Instead of getting stuck on the job, turn your attention to what’s given you the most satisfaction in the past. What is your most meaningful memory of work? If you somehow had your entire memory of working life wiped clean, what would be the one thing you wouldn’t want to forget?
Once you’ve chosen a memory, ask yourself this question “what does that memory say about what is most important to me?” You’re looking for a verb or adverb. These words describe your values. And your values are what seem most purposeful and rewarding.
The memory I’d choose not to forget tells me that collaboration and learning are most important to me. Now that I know that, any job that lets me do these things regularly is going to work best for me. I don’t need to limit myself to a particular job.
Knowing what you value means you are free to choose many different jobs or career paths
Step 2 – Cut back on your spending. Reduce your monthly out-goings. Keep your costs down. This will give you more money to save. Having more money makes you more financially stable. It will also give you more confidence that you’ll be ok if you’re looking to start up a business or reduce your hours.
When you stop spending so much, you free yourself up immensely. Yes, it can be difficult to resist the urge to treat yourself. But, remember that the excitement and satisfaction of something new is only short-lived.
Spending less each month is a good habit to get into. If you’re in debt, focus on paying it off. You’ll feel less trapped and more hopeful that you can leave when you are ready.
Step 3 – Tell your family you plan on leaving. When you say it out loud, it makes it more real. You can’t take it back! People know now. It doesn’t mean you have to leave tomorrow, but you make it more serious. Just telling people you want to leave and that you are planning a way forwards is a commitment that will take you in that direction.
Step 4 – Be ready for New Opportunities. You never know when a new job will come up. Be ready. Get your CV up to date. Make it snappy. Get a 2 page and a 1 page version. Make it colourful. Get it designed professionally. And pay a CV expert to check it over. There are plenty of professionals out there on People Per Hour.
Start writing your business plan. It needn’t be a long-winded document. Just include some basics to begin with. Your vision, who you want to sell to, how you are going to solve their problems, which media you’ll use to promote your business. You’ll also need to work out financials e.g. how much you want to earn, what your costs will be (including tax!).
You only need a more comprehensive business plan if you’re looking for funding such as grants or loans. Otherwise, keep it simple and meaningful for you. You don’t want to take forever writing it and getting it perfect. It needs to be just enough to get you moving your feet. Include an action plan of what you aim to do with completion dates. Implementation is essential.
Or, simply, just start writing down a description of the project you have in mind. Is it making something? Is it to learn something new? Do you need to pay for some training? Work out the steps needed to get the project off the ground.
Step 5 – Make Leaving your job part of your daily routine. There is a great book by Gary Keller called The One Thing. In it, he talks about how you need to make as much of your day as possible about doing the one thing that is most important. So, if leaving your job is near the top of your list, you’ll need to do something every day. This means you’ll make the change happen much quicker.
You might think, “I’ll just see what time I have and fit it in.” That thought will set you up to fail. Or at best, you’ll just take years getting there. You need to make time every day. It doesn’t need to be hours. It just needs to be small, steady and regular.
Everyday tasks to help you leave your job could include:
- Job searches
- Plan your training development
- Learn something
- Put your paperwork in order
One small step every day is the key to getting where you want to be. Without it, you are destined for more of the same. That’s ok if that’s what you want. But you only get one chance in this here life.
Is it time to get your evergreen plan in order?
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