What’s the Real Cost of Leaving a Job?

No matter how wonderful your job is, we’ve all day dreamed about what we’d do when the perfect job opportunity arrives. But have you ever stopped to consider whether or not you could afford to take a new job?

While new opportunities can often be lucrative, the real cost of leaving a job might surprise you. Before you give your two weeks’ notice, make sure you budget for these secret costs that can really add up:

cost of leaving a job

Image via KylaBorg – Flickr

Cost of Leaving a Job: Tuition Reimbursement Goes Both Ways

The first thing to consider is the status of any professional development costs you may need to pay back. Many companies have a reimbursement policy that pays for a course or a conference so long as you stay with the company for one year afterwards. Got a better offer with a few months to go? You’ll be sending the company a check instead of the other way around.

Cost of Leaving a Job: Farewell Gifts Can Add Up

The first step in maintaining a good professional record is to give two weeks notice. The second step is to personalize your work experience before you go.

If you don’t already, consider thanking key coworkers with farewell gifts, or at the very least a heartfelt farewell card to let your coworkers know that you’ve enjoyed working with them. Not only is this a classy way to leave a job, but it’s a great chance to further relationships with people you might otherwise fall out of touch with.

Cost of Leaving a Job: New Clothing for a New Season

Arguably, new clothing isn’t always a necessity. But if you’re changing industries (from formal to informal, or especially informal to formal) you’ll need to invest in some clothing and spend some time at the mall.

Keep these costs low by shopping outlets, online, and major sales after holidays. Depending on the season, you can also visit thrift shops and seasonal sales (like yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales) to keep your costs low.

Cost of Leaving a Job: A Small Vacation Means a Loss in Pay

Even with a low overhead, if you decide to take advantage of your career change by taking some time off between jobs, you’ll need to account for that loss in pay in your budget. Not sure how much time you can spare? Take a look at your savings and your estimated final paycheck to understand what kind of gap could arise in your income.

Have you ever been surprised by the unexpected costs of changing jobs?

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14 thoughts on “What’s the Real Cost of Leaving a Job?

  1. These are great points to consider! There are definitely some hidden and not so hidden costs when switching to a new job.

    Another cost is moving costs when moving to a new city or when moving closer to the job. Or wardrobe costs if the wardrobe is different that your current one. Those costs can really add up!

  2. The last time I change my job, is I lost the health insurance for my family. I have to spend from my pocket every time I bring my kids to the hospital. The lost also of income for one month while waiting for my visa and work permit.

  3. Good point about the tuition reimbursement. That can be very costly depending on how much money you were reimbursed. I despised my previous job, but felt trapped because leaving meant I would’ve had to pay back a considerable amount. Fortunately, they ended up laying me off and I was no longer obligated to send the money back to them (and I got a severance)!

  4. Loss of seniority can also be in important factor. I’ve been sticking with my current company even though they are 70 miles away because I’m about due for a promotion that requires a costly certification that they will pay for. If I left for a closer company, there is no telling how long I would have to wait for that promotion.

  5. Another thing to consider is how your commute might be affected. You might be closer in miles but the time can still increase. This could be due to your route falling into a heavily traveled route. So even though you are closer to home, more of your day is spent in the car going to and from work.

    I’m currently using tuition reimbursement from my company so that is always on my mind if a new opportunity were to present itself. Luckily it isn’t set up as one year or nothing for paying the money back. The money is pro-rated over that year so if I serve six months, I only have to pay half of it back.

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