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Hate your job? The pros and cons of making the leap without a net.
Roughly 15 million Americans are said to be self-employed and enjoy an ever-
growing range of resources and support via networking groups, online
communities and more podcasts everyday. But what about those who punch the
clock everyday at a job that’s run its course and making them miserable –
where’s their support? Over and over, I’ve met people who, while they don’t know
what’s next, definitely know what they’re doing is no longer working. Should they
just up and quit? Suck it up?
How do you know it’s time to jump ship, even when you have no life raft?
It's risky, of course. But some women have found benefits in leaving a bad
situation without a good one waiting for them in the wings. Tara, editor of
scoutiegirl.com and mother of one, quit her “going-nowhere- fast, low-paying job,”
with big dreams and some serious determination. “I desperately wanted to be
with my little girl all day long and couldn't stand the idea of returning to a bad job
while someone else took care of her.” A belief in herself and a husband who
made just enough to cover the bills was enough to help her make the leap from
bored in the retail world to an in-demand Website designer. “If I had advice for
women contemplating the same jump, I would say to really figure out what makes
you happy, where your skills lay, and then do some serious research on how
people are making money using those skills and passions.”
But making drastic life changes is not for everyone. Contemplating quitting a
comfortable, secure position without another one lined up can feel like jumping out of a
perfectly good airplane to get rid of a little motion sickness. How do you know you're not
just in a professional funk and things will eventually improve?
3 signs that a job is not likely to get any better:
There's nowhere to go but out. You work for a small company with limited career
and/or salary growth opportunities—it's a corporate dead-end.
Your company or industry is scaling back. Departments are being dissolved into other
areas, management is hush hush about changes happening and your gut tells you things
are going downhill – fast.
Negative culture Employees talk freely about the chaos and challenges, but managers
either pretend it doesn’t exist or they find ways to make excuses, not change. And if
there’s a rate of high turnover, it’s not just you unhappy.

Before you go, it’s time to prepare to quit rather than capriciously jump ship.
The three things to accomplish before you give two weeks' notice:
A nest egg Save up enough money to pay your basic expenses for at least three months
(six is better). In times like these, it's not unusual for it to take six to twelve months to get
a new offer or get that business off the ground.
A solid resume Find out how your credentials compare with people in other companies
or departments who have the job that you want, and whether those departments are
actively hiring. You may need to additional education or training to compete.
A few clients lined up. If you want to become an entrepreneur, do the necessary market
research and promotion to get clients into the pipeline while you still have a steady
Even with the right prep work, making the leap without knowing where you'll land is
always scary—but so is staying at a job that makes you miserable.