Quitting your job can be a liberating experience, but can also be a terrifying one. If you don't have something lined up, heading out into the great unknown of unemployment can really mess with your head.
You may feel insecure, or scared about not having a regular schedule to stick to. Embrace the new style of your life. If you quit without something lined up, it was probably because you hated your job, or it was moving you in the wrong direction. Congrats on getting out of there.
If you've recently left a job without a secure next step in place, here's the best thing you can do.
Use your time wisely.
If you quit your job because you're burned out, take this time to recharge. You need to seriously unplug and chill out if you want to get over burn out. Avoid spending too much time in front of screens or stalking your ex company. Nourish your body, mind and soul by paying attention to your actual needs. Sleep more, eat well, get some sunshine.
If you quit because the job just wasn't working out, the same general rule still apply. Use this time to focus on yourself and find the direction you really want to move in. You can't take a step forward unless you know where you're going.
With that in mind, here are four things you can do to use your time productively, and get yourself in the best position to find your next job.
Volunteering while unemployed is a win-win-win-win. That's right, quadruple win. 1. Volunteering keeps your resume current, so you don't have a huge gap between employment periods. 2. Volunteering keeps you in contact with people, which means that you're always kind of networking. You just may meet the person who gets you your next job while working on a passion project. 3. Volunteering also keeps you busy, meaning you won't fall into a hole of Netflix and Facebook during your unemployment. Staying out of a rut is really important when you're unemployed. And finally, 4. Volunteering can be a great way to learn new skills.
Whether it's rounding up other volunteers, learning how to input data or learning how to ask strangers for money, volunteering can offer you a whole new plethora of skills.
Reading is one of the tops things people often wish they had more time for. Now that you've got time, use it. Reading betters your vocabulary, tunes you into more cultural references and expands your way of thinking. It's often cheap, or free if you use a library. Best of all, it's a productive and fun use of your time. No need to feel guilty for crushing a book the same way you would feel guilty for watching six episodes of "Bob's Burgers."
I don't mean just going to events for the sake of "networking." Go see live music, or a new museum exhibition. Go swimming in the middle of the day. Do things that you love and that stimulate you. Being unemployed is a chance to experience things that your 9 to 5 normally locks you out of.
The added bonus is, when you're at an event that you actually care about and you talk to someone, you end up networking in the best way. You'll be able to talk passionately about something you care about, and that kind of passion leaves a good impression.
Tell people you're in between jobs. This one may be the hardest thing to do. There's a certain level of embarrassment that comes with telling people you're not currently working. Societal norms tell us that being unemployed means you are adding nothing of value to the world. That is simply not true. Being honest about how you're in between work serves two purposes: it keeps you in the forefront of people's minds when they hear about available work, and it helps break down the stigma around being jobless. It's not a personal flaw to be unemployed. It's a fact of life for almost everyone at some point, so own it.
If you quit your job without having another one lined up, don't panic. You did not just screw your future over. There are plenty of things to do with your new free time that will keep you in the running for many jobs.