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For one reason or another, you're itching to quit your job. Maybe you've maxed out your growth at your current company, you want to explore a totally new field, you're feeling stifled by a new supervisor, or you're ready to start your own business. The call for independence can be a pretty strong one, and it can cause you to hit send on your resignation email--just a little too early.

So, don't do it. At least not yet.

Unless you've accepted a job offer, you've got a lot of networking to do in order to make this next career leap successful. And it can take time: My business partner and I took more than two years to fully strengthen our networks before we left full-time jobs to launch our editorial marketing company, Masthead Media.

Even if you're feeling satisfied and confident in your current role (at least, for now!), you should always keep widening your circle and cultivating relationships with colleagues and contacts. Take these six steps to ensure you're in the best possible position to make your next move--no matter where it might take you.

Hit the Networking Events Circuit
Whether you're ready to leave your job or completely happy at the moment, networking events can only help you--especially if you spend most of your workday chained to your desk. Put faces to names (or email addresses) for your virtual contacts, and increase your personal visibility in your industry, which is filled with potential employers and clients. While growing your network, these events also give you the opportunity to hone the "elevator pitch" you will use in job interviews or new business meetings.

Grab Lunch
It's time to stop eating salads at your desk! Start using your lunch breaks to network and strengthen professional connections with some all important face time. Here, you can dig for a little intel on who's hiring and share some of your future plans with trusted contacts. The one bit of lunch networking you want to avoid, though, is anything that could be construed as poaching clients. News of those poor business practice lunch breaks gets around fast!

Circulate Virtually
Let's be clear: posting an impulsive status update that even hints at the idea of, "Bored at my desk! [Yawn Emoii] ISO New Job!" is not a good move (even if you think your boss can't see your page). However, the months leading up to leaving your job are a good time to do a little maintenance on your LinkedIn page, add new connections, and reconnect virtually with professional contacts with whom you may have lost touch.

Tap Into the Many Degrees of Separation
I don't care if you graduated at the top of your class at Networking University: There is no way that you've already met every professional contact that you need to know. Start requesting introductions from your existing contacts to grow your network. Schedule face time with as many new contacts as possible over lunch, drinks, or networking events.

Meet With a Headhunter
The right time to meet with a recruiter is before you actually need a job. Why? As a job seeker, you are not the recruiter's client: the companies that are hiring--and footing the recruiter's fee--are. Therefore, you may have to wait a while for a recruiter to connect you with an employer. Get in the mix early, and remember that the impression you make on your recruiter can be just as crucial as the impression you make on your interviewer.

Establish a New Relationship With Your (Former) Boss
When you eventually leave your job, say anything but goodbye to your former colleagues and boss. This is the time to establish yourself as a potential new vendor, client, or general contact. Go beyond the old adage, "don't burn bridges" to actually build and strengthen new ones. Make sure to personally pass your new contact information along to your colleagues and your boss, and to be gracious on your way out.

To prepare for the possibility that your exit doesn't go as smoothly as you would like, make sure to back up all of your contacts before submitting your resignation. Rebuilding your database is not how you want to kick off your new gig!  

The 1 Thing You Have to Master Before Quitting Your Job
The 1 Thing You Have to Master Before Quitting Your Job
You may be eager to take the leap, but don't skip this critical step: It could make all the dif
3 years ago

As the gig economy offers more freelance work, younger workers want stability.
More workers expect to become independent contractors in the next few years, even though many would prefer stable jobs.

That’s a key takeaway from a new study about the future of work released by consultancy PwC on Wednesday. The findings suggest younger workers in particular see freelancing on the horizon, although overwhelmingly they want job security and have less desire to work as independent contractors than older workers.

The findings are important to small-business owners who often say finding enough qualified employees is a top concern. The data also reflects concerns as the economy shifts to the so-called gig economy, with increasing numbers of people working for tech companies, such as Uber and Airbnb, that offer independent contracting positions without benefits or fixed hours.

Nearly 54 million workers, or roughly a third of the U.S. workforce, do some freelance work. About 15 million people say they are self-employed, according to PwC, which cited data from the Freelancers Union and the Department of Labor, respectively.

“A lot of people believe that the millennial workforce is very open to independent work and the freelance gig economy, but the survey is not confirming that,” says Justin Sturrock, leader of PwC’s people and organization practice.

In fact, 41% of all employees say they expect to be independent contractors in the next 12 months, according to the survey, and 53% expect to be self-employed in the next five years. Yet 39% say the uncertainty of income is an unappealing part of freelancing.

Older workers tend to have fewer problems with a potential shift to contract work. Sixty-five percent of workers 50 years old and over say they’d like to work as independent contractors, which is roughly double the percentage of workers younger than 34 who express that desire. That’s because older workers tend to have more financial independence, and a skills set developed from years of work that would let them transition more easily to independent work, Sturrock says.

Yet, as is often the case, the youngest workers are less tied to their companies compared to their older peers, which could prompt a bigger move to freelance work. While 55% of Baby Boomers say they are in a “committed partnership” with their employers, only a third of workers under the age of 35 say they are committed. Similarly, younger workers feel less trust for their employers: Just 38% of Gen Z workers, defined as those 22 or younger, say they trust their employers, compared to 56% of workers over 50 years old.

With that in mind, 19% of Baby Boomers say they are likely to change jobs in the next six months, compared to one–third of millennials and nearly half of Gen Zers.

Small businesses have a potential edge as labor is in flux, however, according to the study. It turns out 80% of small–business employees say they feel appreciated at work. Similarly, 43% of small–business workers say they are happy at work, compared to 27% of peers at larger businesses.

One big reason for the difference in attitude is that small businesses have reputations as being more flexible with work policies. Ands some policies that seem to make employees at small companies happier include the ability to work from home, and setting more flexible hours and schedules.

“Smaller organizations…have a stronger connectivity with their colleagues, with their market, their products, and their customers,” Sturrock says.

PWC interviewed 1,385 US workers and 200 C-suite executives in an online survey in May. Roughly half of the businesses were small, and roughly half of the workers worked in smaller companies.  

It Turns Out Millennials Really Aren't That Into Freelancing
It Turns Out Millennials Really Aren't That Into Freelancing
A new survey finds that millennials expect to freelance, but want stability.
3 years ago

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