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5 Things That We Lose When We Leave Our Job Without a Back-up

Last Updated on October 14, 2021 by Rat Race Running

Leaving our job, whether forced or voluntary, especially if we don’t have a job lined up, takes a toll on us. 

That’s why the common advice regarding resigning is to make sure to have another one lined up before passing that elusive piece of paper, called a resignation letter.

With the pandemic ravaging the country for more than a year, many people lost their job, and many more lost their livelihood.

Aside from those displaced from their jobs, there are also some who wanted to change careers or shift industries after many realizations. 

Based on my experience when I resigned without a backup job, here are some of the things that you may (or may) lose when you leave your employment.

1. Loss of Income

The most obvious thing you’ll lose when you leave your job without a new one lined up is your fixed or recurring income.

You may think that you can immediately get a new job because you now have more time to apply, but that is not always the case. So, make sure to have your funds ready if you have a more challenging time figuring things out. 

When I resigned in February 2019, I had enough funds to cover my projected expenses for six months (emergency fund), return to school to enroll in a six-week Professional Education Course (personal development fund), and even travel for a while (travel fund).

I was pretty confident then that I will immediately get hired in DepEd after taking my methods of teaching course because of my credentials. However, things did not go as expected. Eventually, my expenses exceeded my projection.

When my emergency fund was about to be used up, I had to liquidate some of my stock market investments, which was not doing great during that time. I sold some of the shares to survive without going into debt.

The lost income for those months of unemployment wiped my emergency fund, and it took another two years (2021) for me to replenish it.

2. Opportunity Cost

When we leave our job with no backup plan or transfer to other industries, we incur an opportunity cost.

According to Dictionary.com, opportunity cost is the money or other benefits lost when pursuing a particular course of action.

When I left my job without a backup job, I did not only lost my income. I also lost some opportunities.

Because I was back to schooling full-time and unemployed, I lost the opportunity for a fixed income. I also lost the opportunity to increase my stock market equity value since I had to withdraw some of my capital to support my needs. I was also unable to add funds to my stock trading account in preparation for the market strength.

3. Sunk Cost

For employees who chose to leave their current job to take another career path, the sunk cost will be one of the perceived disadvantages.

Imagine working for a decade in a company when you finally decided to quit and pursue a different calling or industry that you think better suits you. Most of the work that you did and skills that you learned in that company may feel wasted.

When I left the corporate IT setup to pursue a career in the academe, I knew that I would forego what I built in the last four years of my life. However, I knew that I had to leave then, or I might never leave that industry.

Looking in hindsight, I was sure of my decision, but doubts were always there. I used to ask myself, “If I never left, will I might be promoted, or would I have transferred to another company?”. The thing is, the rat race may always want to drag you back.

But those things no longer matter. I am just privilege to be in my current position to help mold the minds of future engineers.

4. Leverage

For people who have been unemployed for some time due to the untimely resignation without a backup, it may be harder to find another job.

The thing is, some HR recruiters often consider the employment gap since the last time you’re employed.

I had a workmate before who was burned out in his project and decided to quit. After leaving the company, he decided to rest for a while before looking for another job.

When he decided to look for another job, he realized that the HRs would often ask regarding his employment gap. Also, he realized that many of his technical skills were not transferable to other companies.

Because of that, he lost his leverage when applying to other jobs and was offered a much lower-paying entry-level job, even though he had several years of working experience.

5. Sense of Identity

When we are in a job for a long time, it becomes part of our identity. It gives us the confidence on how to introduce ourselves when facing other people.

But when we leave the job that we think represents who we are, we may suddenly feel lost. Now, the question is, should our identity always be connected to our career? 

The answer that I found is to never think of your career or the job you do as who you are.

When I shifted industry, I lost some of my confidence in what I should be doing. I became a beginner again, and being a beginner once more gave me the confidence to take another shot at doing the things that truly matter.

Final Thought:

Now that I know better, I can also do better. Leaving a job without a backup may not be ideal, especially for those supporting their own families, but you can always prepare.

There will always be pros and cons when we lose our job. That is why we need to keep on learning, so when an opportunity presents itself, we will have the courage, knowledge, and skills to leap forward.

Just like what a common quote says, success is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, so keep pushing.


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