Author Topic: Quitting without a job offer before FI - have you done it? Did it work out?  (Read 2721 times)

xenon5

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I'm currently working as a software consultant, saving a respectable amount of dough for FIRE.  However, I've come to the conclusion that consulting isn't working for me any more. I love being hands-on and writing code and got my degree in Computer Science, but unfortunately most of that work is done offshore here and the quality of output often suffers for it.  Also, the expectation that was set when I joined was that we would travel Monday to Thursday for client work, but in actuality it's more like Sunday to Friday.  I stay in a crappy hotel many more nights than my own home. 

I've started looking for new opportunities but because I'm never home, I struggle to schedule more than 1 or 2 interviews each month.  Also, since I'm somewhat out of practice on my development and technical interviewing skills, I've made it to the 2nd or 3rd rounds of interviewing but struggled on some of the tougher tech questions.  The hours at my current job can be unpredictable and long, as much as 12 per day for a week straight, so I never feel like I have enough time or energy to sufficiently prepare and put my best foot forward.

I'm considering quitting my current job outright.  That way, I can focus 100% on brushing up on my skills and finding a new opportunity that better aligns with my career aspirations and my desire to sleep in my own bed at night. 

My biggest fears with taking the leap are that I'm overestimating my technical abilities, or I won't use the unstructured time wisely, or I'll run out of money, or the new job won't pay as well as my current job. The alternative would be sticking it out, probably for a few months, which sounds awful.  I have enough saved between cash savings and taxable investments to cover up to 10 months of expenses, and I have no dependents. 

Does anyone who's quit without another job lined up have some wisdom to impart?  I have the cash to quit, assuming I can find something else relatively quickly, and I've been able to get a high callback rate from recruiters. At this point I either need to muster the courage and confidence in my abilities to quit, or slog through searching and studying with my limited free time until I find a new role.


TLDR; my current job is a bad fit for me and saps all my energy. I want to quit so I can focus on finding something better. The fear of failing to find something better is holding me back.

mozar

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How close are you to FI? It concerns me that you aren't getting to 3rd interviews because of technical competency. How would you remedy that if you aren't working? Also how old are you? If you are under 30 you should have no problem because people are willing to take chance on young people. I've heard the tech industry is very ageist.
So I quit my job in 2012, mostly because I was a dumbass. It took me 6 months to find a new similar job. I was a lot worse at interviews then. I was 29 going on 30. There are also recruiters you can go to and say get me a new job like randstad. I had a co-worker who did that and although the co-worker hated the new job, she at least had new a 9-5 job where she could job search on her own.
Tldr: early in your career no problem,  late in your career don't do it.

katsiki

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I think it depends on your buffer.  Can you survive for 8-12 months if it takes that long?  You're young and in a large city, so that should help.  Is the job market good in NYC right now for tech?

Good luck!

mxt0133

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Early in my career I tried to get into FinTech and spent a year interviewing but did not have the right skillet.  So I spent the next 6 months studying and learning the required skills.  I was able to get a job in the industry when I started interviewing again.  Then in 2009 I quit my job and moved out west and after taking 7 months off I was able to multiple offers within 2 weeks of applying.  I did some studying and worked on stuff I was curious about during my time off.  My advice would be to pick an area of expertise and study.  Either web UI, server side code, cloud development, machine learning, ect.

I would not quit until you can get an offer.  If the contract expires so be it.  Keep interviewing as it will teach you where you are weak in and work in those areas.  Set up a GIT hub account and post your code there that you can show case. 

Remember you only fail if you give up.

datu925

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I quit my job as a consultant for an education nonprofit in January of 2016, went to a software bootcamp for 3 months, traveled for 3 months, and got a job as a software developer in September (start date was in November). When you take away the bootcamp and travel time, I was probably actively job searching for about 2 months before I got a job offer.

I don't know about your specific circumstances, but I can speak knowledgeably about the bootcamp world. These are people coming almost entirely from non-software backgrounds. In the best programs (in NYC, Flatiron and Fullstack come to mind), essentially everyone has a job within 3 months of graduating. In my program in Chicago, 3 months is more of an average, but 10 months would still be pretty much a guarantee. My sense is that if you have a degree in CS and have been working in a technical consulting position, your prospects are pretty good relative to bootcamp grads (then again, I don't know what your salary expectations are). If you're getting 2nd or 3rd round interviews, it means you're reasonably competitive and I think you'd have a job within a few months if you started devoting all of your time to it.

I know in SF at least, there are 3-4 week job prep programs that exist to help get bootcamp grads that first job, because many bootcamps don't focus enough on interview prep, job hunting, networking, etc. I don't know of any names, but it sounds like that kind of program could be a good fit for you.

jezsh

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I quit one job early in my career having anticipated being able to pick up some freelance work. Unfortunately this work never materialised and so I ended up taking a low-paid part-time job and using my free time to pick up new skills. It was a horrible time and I was terrified I had made a huge mistake. However, after a year I was able to get a much better job in a new industry and things have worked out well from that point on.

Because you mention your technical skills are holding you back, it's possible you are underestimating how much time it'll take for you to find the right job. If you factor in a few weeks to recover after you quit, then at least a month or two working on your technical skills, then another month minimum to look for new roles and go through the interview process, conservatively you'd be looking at three plus months out of work. More is certainly possible. Since you're getting so many interviews, it sounds like your skills are in demand, though, so it does sound like you'll be able to find work fairly easily once you've brushed up on your technical skills. Are you comfortable with this time frame? What would you do if the ideal role does not materialise?

Have you spoken to anyone at your current role about the mismatch in expectations regarding your travel schedule? Are they willing to change how much time you are on the road? Since you're considering quitting anyway, it couldn't hurt to explore whether your current employer can offer you any flexibility. That could improve your enjoyment or your job or else leave you with more energy to study or apply for other jobs at the end of the day.

catccc

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I did once, but I found another job within a couple of weeks so it wasn't a problem.  I also had enough of a buffer so that even if it hadn't been so fast, it wouldn't have been a problem.  Recruiters made it really easy back then (good job market, mid 2000s) to score a job quickly in accounting.  Even in a bad market (2009/2010) I was able to find work with respectable pay, albeit temporary/contract work, on short notice.

brian313313

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I am an IT contractor, sometime consultant, and usually don't start looking until after I have quite or finished a contract. I personally want & need the time off between and understand your problems with the effort of looking for a job while still having one. However, I'm fortunate to have a skill set that is in high-demand so I always know I can find another job.

I'm not sure what the job market is like in your area if you are getting to 3rd interviews. I live in Atlanta and second interviews are rare because tech people go too fast. The typical interview is a phone screen and then a face-to-face interview. I'm on the hiring side more than the looking side now because of my expertise. It can be hard to find good talent. If you have no dependents, are you willing and able to move if the job market in your area is not good?

You may need to prepare for a pay cut. If you're a consultant, you are probably making more than a staff IT person. The extra money is to pay for the fact that it's a harder job. I choose to take the easy path at this point in my life. Consulting is hard for me and I have enough savings now that I don't need the extra dough. Your situation may be different though.

Most consultants have to be good at what they do. Are you in a specialized area that doesn't have much demand outside your current job or are you more generic? I am a technical consultant so my skills are portable fortunately. This may factor in to your decision.

Enigma

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Statistically you are more likely to get a job if you are employed rather than unemployed.  Gaps in employment are not seen as a very 'Professional' move.  Furthermore, when I stopped working in 2012 between jobs/contracts I was even more stressed.  I was putting out resumes left-and-right, watching my savings dwindle away, and trying to motivate myself to keep looking.  You will also be more prone to take a pay cut.

An alternative would be to use up all your leave, take some LWOP (leave without pay), step back on your performance some, and get some professional advice on your resume.  Get serious on job boards and recruiters.

lbmustache

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I did it. I quit my job in an unrelated field and had nothing lined up. Wanted to go back into teaching. I was like you - fed up, exhausted, tired. I had enough $ for about 6 months of living expenses. I ended up finding jobs (!) in less than a month and made it out okay. One of the best decisions I made.

There's a lot of fear and uncertainty. I had it too. All of the 'what ifs'. I took the leap anyway and came out better because of it.

If you're really worried, can you max out your sick/vacation time? Take a week or two or three off?