Stop Hating Your Job Long Enough to Think Through a Solid Escape Plan

You aren't marooned in that miserable job but don't underestimate how much you will need to make the big change.

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By Larry Alton

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Sure, there are many reasons to leave a job that is making you unhappy or not meeting your needs, if you have the right safety net in place to actually make the leap. If you don't, you might be condemning yourself to yet another unfulfilling job or prolonged, unproductive periods. Before you jump ship at your current job, it's important to line up your prospects and your backup plans.

Related: How can I justify two job changes within one year?

Make a budget. Think like an entrepreneur making a new business plan. Examine your current assets and draft budgets for several scenarios, such as extended periods of unemployment, part-time employment and landing your dream job.

There are a myriad of income possibilities in your future. While you might be crossing your fingers on a reliable source of full time income, that might not happen right away. You should be able to handle your living expenses even if you're surviving on little to no income right away.

Examine your emergency savings and investments to see how far you'll be able to stretch your budget across these scenarios. If you can't sustain yourself for several months on no additional income once you leave your job, then you should seriously consider saving for a bit longer.

Prepare for loss of benefits. If you haven't been taking advantage of your employer's benefits, now is the time to take inventory. The idea is to use them before you lose them. Stop neglecting your periodic appointments. Schedule a routine dental cleaning and a physical before making a major career transition. Learn about the costs of COBRA or state health care plans early, so that you can budget for these expenses.

If you relied on a bus or train pass provided from your workplace, find out when those transit benefits will cease. You'll need to account for new mobility expenses in your budget.

Related: Don't Love Your Job? Fix the Job You're In.

Check into your stock benefits, including when the current stock purchasing cycle end. It might be worth it to stick around at your current job for a few extra days or weeks so that you're eligible to purchase more stock. As for other perks, if your current employer provides you with free or discounted products or services, consider accessing these perks before you leave the company.

Exchange contact information. Before you leave your current employer, collect the personal contact information of trusted colleagues and friends. This will help you build your professional network. You never know when the skill sets of these individuals will come in handy during your upcoming career explorations.

Making a major career change is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking, process. Before you take the plunge, be ready to handle expenses during this transitional period. Examine your current benefits package so that you can take advantage of eligibility before you leave and adjust to pending costs, such as increased insurance fees. Taking these important preparatory measures will give you greater security to leave your job and pursue new opportunities.

Related: 9 Signs You Should (Maybe) Quit Your Job Now

Larry Alton

Freelance Writer & Former Entrepreneur

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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