If you’ve read my book, ‘We Are The Ones We Need: The War on Black Professionals in Corporate South Africa’, you will know that I quit my job in 2015 with no plan B. All I knew was that I had to get out before that place killed me.
My decision to quit wasn’t an easy one, nor was it one I took on my own. I had discussed it with my mom because I needed my support system to be on-board with me and for us to all fully understand the risks and benefits of that decision. What trumped all the risks we identified was the need to preserve my health and work to undo all the damage done by being subjected to a toxic environment.
Even though my decision to resign carried great merit, it’s important to bear in mind that it also brings with it quite a few challenges and uncertainties, such as:
- An unfriendly job market that sees millions of graduates and highly skilled people unable to secure employment, whether part-time or permanent.
- If you’re considering going into business, you must brace to not be earning any money for an undefined period of time. There are no guarantees that you’ll be back on your feet in six months or a year. I spent over three years looking for work and still had no luck, despite having a skill set that would be an asset to any organisation.
- Will you withdraw your pension? Although it is not advisable to do so, at times, this money is the only means to survive when you find yourself jobless with no prospects and your savings (if you’re lucky enough to have savings) running low.
- BILLS, BILLS, BILLS. These continue to pile up undeterred. School fees, rent, the bond, medical aid, insurance, car instalments, food, petrol – the list never seems to end.
- Emotional support. Surrounding yourself with people you can lean on for support and reassurance is critical. Being unemployed is hard. Being unemployed and broke can damn near kill you. The threat of depression increases exponentially and being able to ask for help becomes your biggest asset.
If you are considering leaving your job with no plan b, please think about it carefully and soberly. Yes, it has worked out exceptionally well for others, so theirs are the stories that give us hope. However, our stories are not the same.
Be sure to understand all the risks and benefits of leaving and assess the pros of cons of staying and then make a decision that best serves your specific needs. There’s no blanket formula that can be prescribed. But I will say this, trust yourself and your instincts. The likelihood is that you already know what you need to do.