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It’s great to have a job. It’s even better to have a career or business that you enjoy. When I wake up, usually around 5:30 am, I can’t wait to get started on my plans for the day. That’s because I have finally gotten to a place where I really enjoy what I do. It’s my ministry and my career, wrapped in a package that I thoroughly enjoy. But it hasn’t always been that way.

I spent the early part of my post college career working in a corporate environment. Initially, I thought I would never need another job. The pay was good and my future looked bright. But after a while, I realized that the corporate environment wasn’t right for me and I had to make a move. For the first few months after I quit my job, I didn’t do anything (don’t do that). I just kept spending money while wondering what to do next. I quickly learned that it wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. I had unanswered questions like, “What should I do and how will I make money while doing what I enjoy?”

Eventually, I found my answers, but only after many unnecessary mistakes and a lot of wasted time. I wish I would have known then what I know now. I would have planned much better before I quit my job. Better preparation would have saved me a lot of money and valuable time. Here are some key points that I learned from my transition that you might find helpful.

  1. When you know you are going to quit your job, stop spending money and start paying off debt. If you are stuck with a lot of debt, you will find yourself tolerating a lot more on your job, knowing that you have bills to pay. Get the debt under control and seek to live well beneath your financial ability. In other words, don’t spend all of your money. Try to quit your job after you find a new one or when you have enough financial surplus to carry you until you can replace the income.
  2. Plan your new career (or start your new business) before you quit your job. Before you leave, try to set up the foundational components of your new career or business (website, social media, insurance, office and marketing supplies, business plan, etc.). When you quit the old job, you may want to rest for a while, but it’s important to get moving quickly. Having your plan already in place will be helpful.
  3. Don’t burn old bridges. You have probably made some good social connections and friends on your current job. Keep their contact information and leave with the option to get a referral from your manager.  Take care of loose ends and train your replacement if necessary. There may be a time in the future when knowing someone from your old job works to your advantage. If the relationship is challenged, then do your best to maintain a good reputation as you exit.
  4. Create cash flow. It’s important to do what you enjoy, but you may have a need for cash flow if you choose to start a business. Look for money-making opportunities that leave you the time and flexibility you need for your own business. It may not be an enhancement for the resume, but it could be enough to keep you free to pursue your personal plans.
  5. Keep your mouth shut. I know it’s exciting when you are on your way to greener pastures. But usually, it works better when you don’t talk about your new plans at work. It could be a distraction for you and your co-workers. You might also avoid some unnecessary stress from people who wish they had the courage to make a move as well (avoid the haters). Also, avoid speaking negative words about the job you’re leaving.
  6. Be bold and step out. It may not be easy, but if you have planned, prayed, and prepared, then go ahead and step into your new career or business. There are some answers that you won’t know until you step out. Put on your conflict management shoes and be prepared to solve the challenges that will arise. If I can do it. You can too!

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