Pre-MBA Advice: Three Activities to Justify Quitting Your Job Early

The first comments I received upon receiving my acceptance to MIT Sloan, after “congratulations,” were starkly different.

For example, my mom commented, “Maybe you can work at your job until the day before school starts to save extra money.” On the other hand, most friends that had completed an MBA all asked, “Have you quit your job yet?”

I went back and forth countless times on this question. I became excited about the new life experience that awaited me. Ultimately, I decided it was important to take time to prove to myself I could thrive in new environments.

When to quit your job is a tricky subject, but here are three justifications that can give you the confidence to take a (calculated) risk, earlier rather than later.

Exploring the local market in Inle Lake, Myanmar

1. Travel, Travel, Travel

I decided to start with a three-month unpaid leave from my job, which I was lucky to have approved. I was getting married and wanted to be fully present. I went on a long, 40 day adventure honeymoon to Myanmar and Thailand. I had initially planned to return to my job, but after three months away from my desk and a lot of soul searching,  I felt a need to do something I hadn’t done in years: focus on what I really wanted professionally and personally from the upcoming experience. That led me to define how I was going to spend my time during the summer. Wherever is on the top of your travel list; now’s a great time to reflect, and the best place to do that is outside of your routine and comfort zone.

MIT’s summer accelerator program, Delta V, helps teams to navigate entrepreneurship

2. Experiment Professionally

Coming from a company as large and established as Google, I wanted to experiment in a fast-paced startup environment with people who were part of my new community.  Why wait until school starts? I sought out a summer position and found an opportunity working with a tech startup at the MIT Delta V accelerator program, run out of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. Not only has the structure and mentorship in the program taught me so much about how to be an entrepreneur, the intellect and courage of the people here are truly inspiring. There are countless companies that need help from talented, curious professionals. If you want to get a head start on your future career goals, quit early and seek out the opportunity that’s right for you.

Enjoying Breakfast Tacos in Austin

3. Just “Be” with the People Who Know You Best

In my case, I hadn’t lived close to my family in almost seven years and needed quality time to relax and reconnect with my family. I spent over a month with at home, cooking homemade dinners with my mom, taking in the Texas summer with adorable nieces and nephew, and going for runs and gossiping with my sister.  It was heaven. Rediscovering my roots and family values reminded how far I had come since last living at home, ultimately inspiring me to be bold and deliberate with my next steps.

As you make your decision of when to quit, consider giving yourself the extra time to set the tone, relax, reconnect and make intentional decisions for how you want to spend the next two unforgettable years of your life. Let these three reasons be your jumping off point.

2 Comments

  1. Inspiring Erin!

    Couldn’t agree with you more!

    See you on campus!

  2. What a great post!
    We are often too tight up in our everyday life to realise that our everyday life is our life.

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