Career

Want To Quit Work Without A Plan? Consider These Things First

Recently, I quit my job. I loved the role, but after two years in it I realised I was ready to move on. And so, with not much more than vague travel plans and some bits of freelance work lined up, I took the plunge into the unknown.

What happened next was exactly what you’d expect. There were moments I was overwhelmed with regret; other times I was crippled with self doubt. Occasionally, all the scattered pieces fit together and I was able to see the bigger picture clearly.

Suffice to say, there was a lot I wish I’d considered before resigning without a solid plan lined up. Here, four others who also gave it all up share the lessons they’ve learnt since doing so – and not one says they wish they hadn’t.

One quit because she was on the brink of a burnout; another to pursue a relationship. All of them took a chance to shake up their lives and try something new. Quitting work without a plan really turned out to be beneficial for them. Here’s what they think you should consider.

Lindsey Weissert: Fleeing corporate culture

After taking a stab at the corporate world working a large publishing company, Lindsey realised she wasn’t happy. She couldn’t see any career progression and knew it wasn’t the right environment for her to succeed.

“I have a pretty strong intuition and I just knew it was time to move on,” she says.

So she went for it. Five years of networking and hustling later, she’s managed to build a small marketing agency, working remotely and travelling the world. Because the decision to quit was amicable and she didn’t burn any bridges, many of the contacts she’d met there have since helped her line up freelance work.

What does she wish she knew before quitting?

“I learnt everyone is faking until they make it big – even the people at the top. People just want problem solvers which means that it’s okay if you don’t know it all.”

To anyone considering quitting, she recommends putting money aside, having a backup plan, and maintaining relationships even if you’re unhappy somewhere.

“Always try to find the middle ground,” she says. “It pays off in the long run.”

Karishma Sarkari: Straight to Hollywood

As a full-time journalist, Karishma worked long hours, nights and weekends. She knew she was close to burning out and wanted to live overseas. It took an injury that confined her to the couch, forcing her to reflect, to really set the wheels in motion.

“I thought if I don’t give this grand plan a go, I’ll always be left wondering. So I spoke to my boss and, after the initial shock wore off, I had her blessing.”

She decided to freelance for six months to figure out what she wanted to do next. Kicking it all off in Los Angeles during awards season – the pinnacle for an entertainment journo – she had a timeframe.

“I thought if I don’t give this grand plan a go, I’ll always be left wondering,” she says. “So I spoke to my boss and, after the initial shock wore off, I had her blessing.”

After the LA stint followed by freelancing and contracting for six months back in Australia, serendipitously, a company offered her a UK correspondent role. She jumped on it.

So what’s the one thing Karishma wished she knew before quitting?

“Part of me wishes I’d done it sooner, but at the same time I think you have to be ready – really ready – to take the leap.

“I think I was and that helped with the ‘no regrets’ thing.”

Giles Cooper: Bound for Europe (and love)

Giles was 24 when he resigned. He was working as a manager at an ecommerce fashion start-up and all was going swimmingly until he met the love of his life, a Finnish girl, on a weekend getaway. Visiting her in Europe soon after, he decided to move there.

“I was texting my boss back home and mentioned I was thinking about staying,” says Giles. “He said to me, ‘In the end you won’t remember the long hours you’ll work, but you might regret not staying.’”

Without a plan, he quit. Two months later, he landed a full-time role at a start-up in Finland. Recently, after three years there, he moved back to Australia with his girlfriend to start at a dream role.

What does Giles wish he knew before quitting?

“That everything will work out well in the end,” he says.

“The biggest piece of advice I’d give is to approach it all with a positive mindset and consider everything to be a learning opportunity. Also, from a practical standpoint, it’s good to have a least a bit of savings. I had $7,000 saved up.”

Jessy Marshall: Seeking her own agency

Jessy had experience working for successful beauty and public relations businesses when she began struggling internally with what it was that would fulfil her. She started craving a new chapter and challenge.

She resigned. After a few interviews and time spent unwinding at the beach, it dawned on her: now was the time to find out exactly what she wanted to be doing.

“I had a few friends who owned businesses who asked me to do their PR so I did that while looking for a full-time and steady job,” she says. “I was offered a few, but turned them down.”

Instead, she decided to continue on her own journey, freelancing and eventually starting her own PR agency.

So what does Jessy wish she knew before quitting?

“I have no regrets,” she says. “I did have self-doubt and thought, ‘Will I be successful?’.

“When you’re working for someone else there’s always someone who has your back. When it’s just you, there are so many times your head can wander and you begin to second-guess.

“It’s been something I’ve struggled with – not allowing self-doubt to take over.”


Sangeeta is a Sydney-based writer originally from Washington, D.C. She enjoys spending full days at the beach, browsing plant shops, and eating macaroni and cheese. You can check out her enthusiasm for clichéd sunset photos on her Instagram @sangeetatatiana.