How long can you survive without a steady paycheck?
When you have a job, you at least have one thing you don't have to worry about: A steady paycheck. You do not want to underestimate the importance of a paycheck. There are a lot of hardship you encounter when you suddenly don't have a paycheck. Without a paycheck, you have to think about how you are going to pay the bills, save for the future, provide for loved ones and enjoy life. You don't think much about these essential things when you have a steady paycheck, but, without it, you can't stop thinking about it when you don't have it. Paycheck gives you confidence that is something you don't realize till you don't have it. When you weigh it, having a paycheck often beats quitting your job.
We often hear people comment at the end of the day, "Another day, another dollar." If you are saying this then you have to work hard to figure out how to make your current job purposeful while looking for another job. Believe me I have rarely heard proudly say, "Another day, no dollar." One of the things that people don't realize is that once you have a paycheck, it mitigates bandwidth poverty. Bandwidth poverty means you don't have to use up all your cognitive function thinking about things that you would not have to if you did not have to worry about money. Studies show that this takes its toll and hinders your progress. Hence, even a dead end job is better than a no job, but it all depends on you. In my opinion, a dead end job is partly a mental attitude you have toward the job you are doing. Learn to enjoy some part of the work you are doing that gives you satisfaction.
Unless you are very lucky, having a bad boss is a rule rather than an exception. Out of all the jobs I have ever had, I can say I have had only two average bosses, and the rest of them were below average to very bad. I once had a boss who made the environment so stressful that I actually went to emergency to make sure I did not have a heart attack. As it turned out, I didn't, but the emergency room doctor told me that I was just stressed out and needed some rest.
My situation is not that unusual. In an article in Washington Post titled, "Is your boss making you sick?" it quotes Jonathan Quick, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, says that the "evidence is clear that the leadership qualities of ‘bad’ bosses over time exert a heavy toll on employees’ health." The stress bad bosses exert on employees leads to increase in risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, and destructive personal behavior such as excessive smoking, drinking and eating. For some, it results in sleep problems and harms their relationships.
Life is just too short to die for a bad boss. Once you know you have to quit to save yourself, do what he wants the way he wants so you can keep him off your back, if possible. You want to become a "drone" that he wants working for him while working real hard to leave him. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman said in their book, "First Break All the Rules: What The Worlds’ Greatest Managers Do Differently," that people join companies but often quit their bosses.
What if you don't get along with people you are working with?
I was once working at a company where I was having difficulty communicating with the team members. A lot of it had to do with technical disagreements. One day I came up with an idea to go out to lunch every Friday where one person on the team would select a restaurant of his or her choice. Having lunch together brought the team together, and everyone suddenly started communicating with each other as a team rather than as an adversary. Doing lunch together made the environment more pleasant and increased the overall productivity of the team. And when I resigned from the job six months later when a better opportunity came along, the team was very sad to see me go.
I had decided to leave the company since I was making a move from software development to business development. But I wanted to leave on my terms, so I decided it was time to make the environment pleasant and fun while till I found a new job. Along the way, I learned a very valuable lesson on how to handle a difficult situation dealing with people. You have to be creative when you are dealing with people and developing a relationship.
What if you simply don't see a future opportunity at your job?
At another company few years later, I was not happy with the management and my overall prospect at the company. Instead of sulking and complaining, I sucked it up and created a web development opportunity (around 1995 time frame) for the company and along the way I learned a lot while not arousing any suspicion that I was not happy. I said to myself that you are the "CEO" of your happiness. Only you can make your job fulfilling. While I was focused on my job, an excellent opportunity from Oracle Corporation came along. Since I was suddenly happy with the work I was doing, I was in a very good position to not get into another bad situation but leave the current job that I did like on my terms. I ended up with a very good run at Oracle for 3 1/2 years.
Before you put your efforts on looking for a job, the first thing you must do is to show that you really like the work you are currently doing. You don't want to just say it, but show it with action by asking for more work, or be a better team player.
If you have a job, do whatever you can to keep it so you can leave on your terms. Do not fall for all kinds of nonsense advice about quitting. Job is not a hobby; it's hard work; it's about execution; it's about generating revenue. If there is no money, there is no business. If there is no business, there is no job. Making money requires hard work for you and the company. If you want to have fun at work, then find a hobby that can make you a boat load of money. For most of us, this is not a reality.
Five Things to Do If You Have Decided To Quit
Learn to like your current job
You have to find something that you like about your job, no matter how much you hate it. Take more risks at work that will not get you fired such as taking initiative, being more collaborative and even coming in early and working late. Do something that gets you noticed. If you put in more hours, people do notice that you are adding value.
Do not show that you are unhappy at work
The reason for this is simple: No one cares.
It is easier to get a job when you have a job
It is much easier to get a job when you have a job. It makes you look better to a prospective employer and you can better assess the job so you don't go from one bad job to another.
Document what you are learning or observing
By writing, you can learn from your experience you can use later if you are writing a blog or an ebook. Also, writing is a good way to get your frustration out without getting into trouble. If you want to complain, just write it.
You always need references so even if you feel you have not been treated fairly, again, no one cares. People do crazy things at work and if you are leaving, you want to focus on leaving with class and not be labelled as someone who was not grateful for the opportunity.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org