Quitting Your Job Without A Fallback? Here's What To Know

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Sometimes, a job becomes so difficult that we have no choice but to walk away — even if we don’t have another job lined up. Women like Adriana Herrera, founder and CEO of PayDestiny, know that while that can be scary, such moments can also be a valuable time to reexamine career goals. But is it a good idea to leave a job without a backup? It depends. Everyone’s circumstances are different, so it’s important to consider the pros and cons. 

“Job markets are volatile,” Herrera tells CircleAround. “No one foresaw the pandemic and its implications on unemployment, hiring freezes, budget freezes, and reduced career advancement for women.”


To help readers decide if it’s a good idea to quit a job without having another lined up, CircleAround asked Herrera about some of the pros and cons. 

Pro: Time

Herrera knows that one of the biggest advantages of quitting a job that isn’t working for you is gaining back eight hours of your day. She notes that having this time back allows individuals to “take a step back without daily work stress and examine what you want for your career. 

Trying to figure out your next steps can be difficult when you’re fielding calls or making business presentations, but having some time after you quit your job can provide clarity. “Set a plan to go after what you want and execute on your plan to get what you want,” Herrera adds.  

Con: Financial Instability

“When you quit your job and you do not have other steady income to rely on, you place yourself in a financially risky situation,” Herrera tells CircleAround. “You do not know how long it will take you to land the job you want with the compensation you’re worth.”

While this might be intimidating to think about, it’s important to remember that salary is just part of the process — your worth is based on what you bring to the next role and being confident in your abilities. 

“Quitting without a job lined up is a high-stakes gamble that could result in pressure to accept a position you are not excited about, that isn’t competitively paid, and/or does not set you up for career growth,” Herrera says. 

Pro: Self-Preservation

Since the pandemic began, companies and employees have begun to place more emphasis on preserving mental health and wellness. New light has been shed on burnout culture and its detrimental effects, and as a result, some people feel more comfortable quitting without a replacement job.

Indeed.com — one of the leading job sites in the world — created a list of 20 reasons people quit their job without a new job lined up. The list included several red flags, like strained personal relationships, toxic work environments, and deteriorating health, as reasons to justify resigning. All jobs have their challenges, but if your job is significantly getting in the way of your life, it may be a sign that it’s time to move on. Again, this is a highly personal decision. While valuing your mental health and work-life balance is important, it’s also important to make sure you are financially stable enough to be without a job for as long as it may take to find another. 

Con: Loss of Negotiating Power 

Financial instability may be the biggest disadvantage of quitting your job before you have a new job waiting for you, but Herrera argues that those who choose this path might not realize the full extent of what they leave behind.

“You reduce your leverage in salary negotiations,” she explains. “Quitting before you have a job lined up can reduce your negotiation confidence and ability to be patient and play the salary negotiation waiting game. 

“When negotiating salary, often the new hire ends up internally negotiating against themself because of financial needs,” she continues. “When you are not concerned about paying bills, you give yourself the ability to establish a walk-away number, hold true to that number, and negotiate for that number. This strengthens your ability to negotiate for the compensation you deserve and to consider how the company you choose to work with will contribute to your long-term career growth.”

The Bottom Line

People leave their jobs for all kinds of reasons, but it’s important to assess what matters most to you if you’re leaning toward quitting before you’re hired elsewhere. Knowing the advantages, disadvantages, and unseen risks involved will help you make a more informed decision. That way you can walk away knowing you’re prepared for what’s next.

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Tags: Women in Business

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Written By

Katka Lapelosová

Katka is a writer from New York City, currently living in Belgrade, Serbia. See Full Bio

CircleAround is owned by One GS Media, a subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA, and we make financial distributions to benefit the next generation of Girl Scouts. We strive to make the world a better place by supporting each other today and emboldening the women leaders of tomorrow.

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