When I was a child in the early 1980s, one of the more popular songs was a tune called, “Take This Job and Shove it,” by Johnny Paycheck. It was the kind of song that represented an attitude that permeated the popular culture at the time. Back then, people accepted their lot in life and applied for whatever job they could qualify for. Well, it isn’t the late 20th century anymore. People move often and change jobs often now. But what to do if you can’t afford to quit your job?
Can’t Afford to Quit Your Job (Just Yet)
I can’t tell you what to do. If you have reasons to quit your job, then you have to do what you have to do.
I would just caution you to tread lightly.
The government claims that 11.7 million people are unemployed, but those estimates are relative to people already in the system. People not looking for work, or working part-time jobs, aren’t counting.
Over 60 million people may actually be unemployed now. Such estimates would match the unemployment statistics of the Great Depression.
If you can’t afford to quit your job but are determined to do so, here is what you should do.
Consider the Consequences of Leaving Your Job Now
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got in life was to consider the consequences of actions before committing them.
Also, you shouldn’t do something just because you can do it.
Ask yourself, if you can’t afford to quit your job, what would happen if you actually did?
Who doesn’t dream of telling their boss off or just quitting their job because they can’t take it anymore?
However, after doing that, how will you pay your rent or your mortgage? How will you pay your utilities?
Also, it is naïve to think that you will be able to get a new job relatively quickly in this pandemic-wrecked economy.
What would you do if you realized it would take a while for you to get another job?
Many people are flocking to remote work opportunities and the online gig economy. Still, if you are new to remote working, it takes time to adapt to converting home space into a quasi-working space.
Also, you may need to acquire new skills and certifications via online learning courses and models. There are many online educational websites like edX and Coursera offering free courses to government employees and the unemployed.
However, while you may be able to take some of these courses for free, many are not free. Or, you may find that the course is free but you must pay $50 to $200 for transcripts or a certification of completion.
What would you do then?
It is very easy for me or anyone else to say to you that you should proceed with caution if you can’t afford to quit your job but are determined to do it.
However, unless you are being harassed or are in danger of physical harm at your job, you should consider your options before quitting.
Stop Sulking and Get a Plan
You have every right to be unhappy with your job and your lot in life.
However, there is no hope in despair. Sulking and feeling sorry for yourself is probably what has kept you in your current job situation until now.
Get a more positive attitude. You will find that your thinking processes will improve.
And if you have a more positive attitude, then you can develop a game plan to quit your job in a way that isn’t detrimental to your life and finances.
Set a “Quit Date”
“Happiness” is a relative term and may not truly apply to most situations when we become adults. Many things make us happy when we are children, for example, but happiness takes a backseat for adults when bills need to be paid.
However, if you can’t afford to quit your job but desperately want to, just envision a future date when you can.
Calculate how much money you could earn over six-months to year by staying at your present job.
Then, cross-reference that information with your current finances and budget. How much money do you have saved in the bank?
Additionally, how much money could you trim from your household budget while you await your quit date?
Think of your quit date as a goal to realistically work towards. Also, having a planned end date for your employment might make working a job you hate a little more endurable until you leave.
You can’t afford to quit your job, but you are developing a future quit date. You are adjusting your finances and budget in anticipation of your quit date.
And you are improving your attitude and becoming more positive about your job situation.
So, if you are planning to quit your job in a few months or a year, what will you do afterward?
While you are adjusting your budget and calculating your quit date, use this time to consider what you will do next.
Use this time to take online courses, get new skills and certifications, and consider if you can transition to remote work.
It is not enough to just quit your job – start thinking about what you will do after quitting.
Still, before getting to this point, have you considered that maybe you can improve your job situation?
Talk to Your Employer
You can’t afford to quit your job. OK, but why exactly do you want to want to quit your job in the first place?
Do you have higher employment ambitions? Perhaps you want to start your own business? Well, then you have a good imperative to move on with your career.
So, why do you want to leave your job? Perhaps you feel unappreciated in your work position. Do you think that your supervisors or boss doesn’t notice your work contributions?
Maybe you think that you are in the wrong position?
Whatever is bothering you about your job, consider talking to your supervisor or boss. If you talk to your employers about your issues, maybe accommodations can be made for you.
It won’t be easy to transition to a new career in this economy, so why not try?
Can’t Afford to Quit Your Job
Telling your boss to take this job and shove it may feel good in the short term but may backfire on you in the long term.
Make a plan for quitting your job. Determine how long can you stay at your job to get enough money saved to move on.
And before you get this far, maybe try talking to your supervisor or boss about how to make your career more satisfying.
Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.