Ready, set, hesitate.
April 14, 2011 10:20 AM   Subscribe

I was all set to leave my current job in two weeks to take some time off and work on my Masters. I need to call my boss tomorrow to resign, and I have cold feet. Help! Should I take the plunge?

I'm currently in a job that's fine, but it's boring, feels unimportant, and I don't like my coworkers. I'm really looking forward to getting out. In mid June my noncompete from a previous job will run out and I'll start consulting (please no derails about noncompetes being unenforceable - my potential clients are sticking to this). Given my discontent with my current job, I came up with a 'great' plan: I'd leave at the end of April and take May off to relax and do some extra classwork. So I already took on an extra course in my online Masters program, picked up a PMP course on the side, and I'm looking at taking a few days in May to hike part of the Appalachian Trail! What a great way to use a month off, right?

I need to call my boss tomorrow to turn in my 2 weeks notice, an suddenly I'm freezing up and reconsidering. Logically, everything seems to be in place. Everyone I know who did this same "wait out the noncompete and consult" maneuver has found work, even those who chose to be unemployed for months before consulting. I get emails weekly from recruiters asking when I can start consulting for their clients, and my friends who are consulting say the demand exists. So the demand for my skills seems to be there. And I’ve already committed to myself to a heavy course load + working on a PMP certification, so I’m pretty booked for May. I’d like some time off to recharge and exercise and I’ve got my dreams of road trip + Appalachian Trail. On top of all this, I’m moving to the same city as my girlfriend this summer, and we had already started planning apartment searching + moving me in May

But I’m just plain worried. I’m worried that demand for my skills will die out, even though it’s been going strong for years and the industry (healthcare IT) is still booming. I can’t even sign a contract until my noncompete runs out, so if I leave before June I can't have anything lined up for sure. I’m worried that I won’t enjoy my time off as much as I should - I’m feeling tired and down right now and feel like I’m not ready to take advantage of time off. I’m worried that I’m leaving not because it make sense, but because I’m being immature and just want to run from this unpleasant job. I have enough money to be unemployed for 6 months including paying my tuition, so I’m doing well from a financial standpoint - but I’m afraid to stop drawing a salary.

So help me out - is it time to leave? I have many productive things that I can do in May. I’m so ready to leave this job. And I have the money to support myself for 6 months. But I’m freezing up.

Sure, I could leave my job in June instead - but since I overcommitted myself for May that would result in an unpleasant, overstretched May, and my grades would likely suffer. And if I want to take time off in June, that would either mean pushing back consulting (which costs me a lot more $$ thank leaving now) or not taking my month off - and I want my month off!

tl;dr I planned to leave my boring job at the end of April and have lots of classwork and fun trips lined up for May, but now I have cold feet because a noncompete says I can't sign for a better job until June. Should I leave anyway and enjoy May or stick out a very busy and unpleasant May so I have a certain job before I leave?
posted by Tehhund to Work & Money (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It sounds like you've been planning this for a while, right? So you already thought through all the possible outcomes and decided you want to do it, right?

It's natural to get cold feet before following through on such a big decision. But I say, listen to that self that thought it through a while ago. In other words, this is what you want to do and what you planned to do. trust yourself and go for it.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:28 AM on April 14, 2011

Do it! I'm so jealous--I'm also taking some time off work for a Master's next year, but I wasn't able to swing any buffer between work & school, so I'm super-jealous. Take it, enjoy it. You've budgeted for it!

I'd write out a draft of what you want to say in your resignation speech (which should be short and sweet anyhow), practice that a few times, and then just do it.

Good on you, and good luck!
posted by smirkette at 10:38 AM on April 14, 2011

Best answer: Change is very scary, especially if there are options to postpone it that you aren't using. It may be a bit silly but write down all of the things you are scared of - even those that you didn't mention in your question. Then write down what you would do if they happened. A game plan, if you will.

You know that logically your worries are slightly unfounded. But having it there in black and white might help with the push.

Worst case scenario: the healthcare tech industry all of a sudden gets an influx of a ton of people and you don't have clients. This is like, the nuclear option. So what? Do you think you would starve? No way. You would adapt and find a new path.

Once you make that call to your boss you will feel 1000% better about your decision.
posted by amicamentis at 10:54 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Do it! It sounds like you are being very responsible about the whole thing and that you really do need a month "off" - even if that time off sounds busier than most peoples time off. If people in the industry say there is lots of work then I can't imagine that changing drastically in 45 days. It's not like you are taking a year off. I think you can be pretty sure that you'll find work in June plus you'll be relaxed and recharged. Good luck with everything!
posted by dawkins_7 at 11:43 AM on April 14, 2011

You will feel so amazing the second you resign.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:45 AM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

On your deathbed, are you going to be more glad that you stayed in your boring job for a couple of months longer or that you hiked the Appalachian Trail?
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 11:57 AM on April 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I don't think I've ever turned in a two weeks' notice without thinking, "I'm going to miss it here. Oh shit, am I making a mistake?" at some point in those two weeks. Even for that miserable temp job I had answering irate calls at a "how am I driving?" hotline. That feeling you have is totally normal.

It helps to think, "Did I feel this strongly about staying before I made the decision to leave?" You already thought this all through, and you made the best decision for you, and the hesitation you feel is just that spurned decision making a desperate last-ditch "noooo, choose meeee!" fuss. If staying was really what you wanted to do, you would have chosen it.

You want your month off, you've planned for your month off, and you can afford your month off. All the evidence is pointing towards your skills still being in demand for quite a while, and May is probably the loveliest month of the year. You're in one of the best spots possible to take a month off. Gather ye rosebuds and go have fun!
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:14 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

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