3 Job-Hunting Lessons From My Great Resignation

You’ve heard the whispers, seen the headlines: All the Bright Young Things are quitting the workforce en masse to pursue opportunities with better pay and flexible accommodations. 

The Big Quit hasn’t been as drastic in Canada as it has been down south, but millennials and Gen Zers are definitely more aware of their options and rethinking what they want from their careers.

Take it from me — I embarked upon my own Great Resignation a few months before the pandemic struck. I was on a quest for a summer internship, to get my foot in the door of the elusive World of Real Writers, and finally escape the trials and tribulations of retail.

How did that turn out? Gather ’round, children. I learned a whole lot about quitting and starting fresh, and here are some of my takeaways.

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1) Start from a stable place (if not a comfortable one)

Quitting usually isn’t as simple as handing in your notice, putting in your two weeks and fleeing the premises with a “Bye, Felicia!”

Is that what I did? Well … sorta, yeah. I had multiple reasons for quitting my old job — the pay, the position, putting on the ol’ Customer Service voice each day — but I also felt I needed enough motivation to find something better.

And what’s more motivating than losing that steady, biweekly pay cheque? (*chuckles nervously*) 

I don’t recommend this strategy for everyone. I was lucky enough to be in a stable situation with a fair amount of savings to pay my bills on time. I wasn’t at risk of sinking into debt and damaging my credit score while unemployed.

While a little discomfort can be good, you’ll want some measure of security before quitting — whether that means getting hired for a new position before leaving the old one or finding supplemental income to keep you going. (More on that later.)

And make sure you’re stuffing your funds in the right bank account. A high-interest savings account will grow your money much faster than a regular savings account, which pays next to nothing in interest. 

2) Preserve your sanity and pick the right job board

As you may no doubt be aware, finding a cool opportunity and then discovering you don’t actually qualify can be the worst.

I can’t tell you how many postings I crossed off the list with a big sigh because of specific requirements — like years of experience, education or certifications I didn’t have.

At the time, I wasn’t aware that other platforms could have made the job-finding process a lot faster and easier.

For example, ZipRecruiter uses AI technology to match you with postings that actually fit your skills, education and experience — how cool is that? You can create an account for free, upload your resume and apply for positions with just one click.

You can also receive daily email updates on job listings, check when employers see your applications and get instant alerts when they message you.

If you’re looking specifically for remote or flexible work opportunities, you can narrow things down further by checking on FlexJobs, which is geared toward work-from-home positions. You’ll have to pay a monthly fee, but the site offers perks like career advice and coaching, customer service and skills tests — with none of the intrusive ads you see on other platforms.

It also screens for scam posts, and members get to enjoy deals and discounts at some retailers and businesses, like Costco and Audible.


3) Don’t neglect other avenues for income

Relying on just one source of income can really make you vulnerable — as soon as you find yourself between jobs, your cash flow goes from 100 to zero. That’s why, even if you’re gunning for a traditional 9-to-5 gig, it’s a smart idea to find other sources of income.

Consider busting out your secret talent or hobby and starting a side hustle. I’ve had several friends start their own small businesses this year — from selling vintage clothing to baked goods to crocheted amigurumi.

You can get started surprisingly quickly by setting up an account on Fiverr, an online marketplace that lets you list your gigs and attract buyers.

Or, if you’re tight on time, you can get some passive income going by venturing into the stock market. It doesn’t have to be hard; the site Wealthsimple lets you invest on autopilot by building a personalized portfolio and rebalancing it automatically.

Even if you don’t think you have the cash to set aside, check out the Roundup feature, which automatically invests your spare change from the purchases you make.


All’s well that ends well…

So, how did my Great Resignation go? Well, after spending *way* too much time snooping around on job boards, I finally found the internship that fit what I was looking for. 

I spruced up the resume, did the interview (dressed up in a nice blazer and slacks, of course) and then spent a fretful night agonizing over a quick writing test. 

Within a week, I’d received the congratulatory email. And, hey, I even got a full-time gig after the summer had ended!

And that’s not all I got. I also learned some valuable lessons along the way. 

I discovered that I don’t need to compromise on what I really want. I learned how to find the right jobs and what pitfalls to avoid in the future.

Deciding whether to embark on your own Big Quit depends on a lot of factors — but you ultimately need to explain why you’re sticking around doing something you don’t love.

It’s a tough call, but whatever you do, take it from me — you got this. *Thumbs up*