Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we end up in a bad job. Although we should never take any employment opportunities for granted, it can be very tempting to quit in a rage. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, consider these key steps to help cushion the possible fallout of a less-than-peaceful resignation.
Serve Out Your Notice Period
Most standard employment contracts stipulate giving notice, or compensation of salary in lieu. What this means is that if you quit without serving your notice, your employer is legally entitled not to pay you your last salary. (On the other hand, if your employer terminates your employment without giving notice, you are entitled to claim compensation.) Hence, unless there is a direct threat to your safety or wellbeing, you should strive to serve out your notice period – no matter how tempting it is to throw your resignation letter in your boss’ stupid face and storm out.
Not only will this give you a chance to end your stay professionally, you will also secure any outstanding salary or claims owed to you. By sticking with the agreed notice period, you are giving your company a reasonable timeline to address any issues that might result in a deduction of your salary. Claiming that you failed to complete your tasks, or handed in shoddy work are common tactics unscrupulous employers use to withhold salary owed. If you leave without serving out the notice period, you will only strengthen any unfavourable claims. Conversely, by serving out the notice period spelled out in your employment contract, you are demonstrating good faith, making it much more difficult to deny you your dues.
Assess Your Financial Status
Once you have submitted your resignation letter, you should assess your financial status as soon as possible. You want to have an estimate of how long your current funds can maintain your cash flow. If necessary, consider getting a credit line or personal instalment loan to help you through this period.
Remember that any amount you borrow today will have to be paid back in the future, with interest. So be careful not to borrow too much, as you will find yourself saddled with large debts. Having said that, if you need to take a loan, do so as soon as possible. You’ll need to furnish salary and CPF statements, so it’s best to be able to provide the most current ones with your application.
Additionally, if you have outstanding credit card balances which you have been paying off regularly, you should take a closer look at your credit card statements. You may need to switch temporarily to paying the minimum sum per month, until you get a new job and your cashflow is restored.
Take a Break
After serving out your notice period and finally being free of your frustrating job, you’ve put an end to a major stressor in your life. The first thing you should focus on now is recovery. So go ahead and give yourself a good break. Disconnect from your ex-colleagues temporarily, as you do not want to have remaining negativity riled up again. Sleep in, stay up late, play video games all night, treat yourself to a lazy afternoon at your favourite cafe… anything that lets you stop feeling bad and start feeling good, or at least somewhat normal.
Beyond the benefits to your emotional health, taking a break will also help you financially. Staying angry or stressed out depletes your mental resources, which makes you more susceptible to impulse spending. And now that your income has come to a temporary stop, being frugal is all the more important.
Gather Up Your Spare Cash
Whether it is money meant for a big ticket purchase, those bottles of coins you’ve never bothered to deposit, leftover foreign currency, or a proper emergency fund, now is the time to use them. Gather up whatever extra money you happen to have lying around, and quickly determine how many simple meals this amount can last you. No, you don’t have to reduce yourself to a daily ration of 3 slices of bread, with a smudge of peanut butter on Sundays, but recognise that fancy restaurant meals (or even delivery fast food, for that matter), are off the menu for the time being. Eat normal portions, but do so simply.
Cancel or Pause Your Subscriptions
Check your ongoing subscriptions and cancel or pause the ones that are not essential. As most subscriptions are pre-paid, you will still be able to enjoy the facilities, products or services for a little while longer at least. By setting a cut-off date for the subscriptions to your entertainment or leisure options (massively multiplayer online games, premium music streaming services, glossy magazines, etc), you will also be more motivated to land a job and start working again.
Maintain or Resume Your Side Income Jobs
Being unemployed is no excuse to be a slouch. In fact, it’s the best time for you to try out new types of work and explore ways to make additional money. If you have been taking on freelance projects in addition to your regular job, now is the time to ask your clients for more work. If you have not, then now is the time to contact your old clients and let them know your services are available.
By maintaining or resuming a side income job, you’ll keep yourself mentally active and motivated. More importantly, you can help to offset your spending during this period, which will prevent you from wiping out your savings.