Resigning Or Quitting Without A Job

In recent times we have seen news about people mass resigning. Just some time back the trend of The Great Resignation appeared on the news. Even in this past week, doctors in South Korea staged a protest against long hours and low wages. Resignation, something which people do not do carelessly in the past, is now something common.

People who have been born after the 2000s have been said to shake up the workplace culture, saying no to overtime, unreasonable demands and toxic culture. Step over the line a bit, and they will resign. All these which are happening can be generally attributed to one reason – the accumulation of wealth by the previous generations have reach a point where it is sufficient to sustain the current generation even if they do not work.

But not everyone is lucky enough to be born in a family without the need to worry much about resources. There are still poor people around even in developed societies struggling to pay off the student debt, to put food on the table, to raise a family, to take care of the elderly etc. Yet despite this, there are people who have been swept up by the trend and the mindset of resigning without the next job should things not go the way they want. And they do resign.

resigning without a job

This article is not about criticising people who resign without the next job ready, or people who resign easily. Neither is this article about telling you to suck it up to toxic workplace culture or to appreciate your opportunity at slave labour. Today’s article will go through what we need to prepare and what to expect should we want to resign from our current job without first securing the next, from the viewpoint of an average commoner. This article may also sound harsh to some people, but that is because reality has no chill on all of us.

Do A Stock-take Of Your Resources Before Resigning

As I have always mentioned, resources does not only mean money. It also includes your network, skills, family background, time etc. When one’s parents have enough money, one is able to resign and go on without a job for an extended period of time, because chances are the parents will be there to support if things just go awfully wrong. Before resigning, we will need to do a stock-take of our resources. How much resources do we have, and how much resources can we move?

Do you have a skill that is in demand? If you are a doctor or a nurse, or even a pre-school teacher, you are in demand in many developed countries. There is no worry about not being able to find a job because any time you feel like it, there are always vacancies around for you to cherry-pick from. However, if you are just a general administrative worker with no special skills, then you should expect a much higher difficulty when going into the next job. Please do not tell me your mini-leadership role or your soft skills are marks of your competency. They are not. Unless you hold a very high-level role such as a CEO of a proper company (not your self-setup one man company) or a reputable top negotiator, your soft skills are useless. They are an add-on to support your current work, but in no way the core skills required for you to get the next job. In the era of mass production, soft skills are not going to differentiate you from the next competitor. Hard skills will.

Likewise, do you have a large enough network to help you find a job or to support you when you need it? Do you have enough savings to last you a period of unemployment for 1 year? The list goes on as you do a checklist of every single one of your resources.

Start Sending Out Resumes Early

It is common and understandable for people to want to have a break after getting away from a toxic workplace. They usually rest for a month or two or even longer before starting to find the next job. But generally, companies do need time to get back to you. The interview process also takes time, especially if there is more than 1 round of interviews. Even though you have just started your life of freedom and rest, start sending out resumes early on. There is no need to camp in front of the computer day to night, but minimally spend at least 1 to 2 hours a day looking through job opportunities and sending out your resumes.

The labour market is competitive.

Manage Your Finances Properly

Lifestyle changes are hard to make. What you spend on while having an income should be different from what you spend on as a NEET (not in education, employment or training). That Starbucks coffee you needed for your morning commute could have bought you a home-made meal. That fanciful bar you chill at after work could be a month’s worth of public transportation. In fact, social gathering becomes an unnecessary expense unless your pockets are deep enough, and staying at home becomes the cheaper mode of living.

Manage Your Emotions

We may grumble while working. The boss sucks, the colleagues cannot make it, the work has no real value etc. But when you are NEET facing multiple rejections from your job applications, your self-esteem may take a hit. Living frugally over an extended period of time is also likely to result in pent-up frustrations and stress, something which will easily bury the excitement and joy you have from the initial stages of resignation. In fact, such emotional damage is also likely to be serious enough to impact relationships with your loved ones.

When everyday is Sunday, Sunday ain’t worth that much anymore. Then you will realise the value of Monday to Friday.

There will also be talks and social media within your own circle about successful people among your peers. The feeling is not good when you hear of someone earning $10k a month while you have been an unwanted NEET for 6 months and counting.

On this aspect, one should also exercise regularly to keep healthy physically and emotionally.

Upgrade Yourself

Taking a break from work does not mean you live a wasted life. It is ok to relax, to play games and go out to have fun. But more importantly, you should do something useful with the time you now have. Whether it is by learning a new skill, or to upgrade your existing skills, one should do something to improve his or her own employability.

While we do not kid ourselves that the new skills we have learnt over that short span of time will allow us to do a career change or be an expert in that area, but it can value add to what we have. These add-on skills may allow us to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the competitors during our next job hunt.

Alternatively, should we decide to change track, depending on what we do, we may also get things sorted out during this period. For example, giving tuition is one of my favourite example. I have discussed about the details of being a tutor before, so I will not repeat again. But being a tutor essentially means teaching others what we have known. Though usually it refers to academic studies in school, but it can also relate to other things such as piano lessons or even tennis instructors. Regardless, we can brush up our skills during our break, and when we have rested enough, to enter the workforce either as a full-time instructor or even use it as a backup plan when things do not go well.

Before quitting, consider the areas which you want to upgrade yourself in. Do not wait till you are unemployed before you start thinking.

Build and Maintain Relationships

When we have a job, we are often tired and caught up with work. On the flip side, it is easy to sink into a state of being alone when we do not have any job. It may be because we are ashamed to announce we are a NEET now, or simply because we want to save money.

Constructively, we can make use of this opportunity to maintain existing relationships, especially with our family members (where applicable). Call up your friends for a meet-up, though preferably individually or in small groups because big groups will eventually break into smaller groups and there will not be any opportunity for in-depth talks. Meetings need not take place in fanciful restaurants or pubs. It can be a cheap beer session by the beach or in the garden, or even a hotpot at home.

While we do not actively solicit help from friends during such gatherings, because it will piss people off, such meetings will first maintain our network and secondly, we never know what opportunities may arise from such meet-ups. Even if there are no apparently benefits, it will also maintain your social circle.


While I do not recommend resigning without a job, I get that the situation now is different for many of the current generation. If one decides in the end to do so, then one should go in prepared and know what to expect. Because reality is unkind.

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- Resources Price
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