Quitting a job is a major step. Regardless of what the job is, quitting can be traumatic, financially devastating, and detrimental to future job opportunities. Before quitting any job, consider the following:

Avoid Rash Decisions

If you are considering walking off the job, don’t do it. Give yourself time to cool off and think rationally about the situation. Quitting a job, especially in the heat of the moment, makes you look immature and unprofessional. Don’t do something you may soon regret.

Consider Your Future

Quitting a job can significantly affect your future. Quitting is difficult to explain during a job interview. Omitting jobs on your resume creates gaps in your work history, which an interviewer will likely question you about. The same goes for job hopping. Bouncing from job to job in a short period of time portrays you as unreliable, someone most companies wouldn’t hire.

Have a Good Reason

Interviewers often ask “Why did you leave your last job?” You need a good answer. Interviewers don’t want to hear “My boss was a jerk.” “My co-workers didn’t do anything.” Employers like employees who get along with others and perform well under stress. This doesn’t mean you have to accept abuse. Interviewers are interested in what you accomplished at your last job and what you will do for them if they hire you. Interviewers don’t like quitters.

Analyze the Situation

Why do you want to quit? Is your boss abusive or a co-worker difficult? Were you passed over for a well-deserved promotion? Is your job performance less than satisfactory? Are you difficult to get along with? Honestly answer these questions. If the problem is yours, until you address your problems, you will continue to have difficulties at future jobs. If you aren’t the problem, make the best of the situation until you can find another job.

Avoid Financial Ruin

If you need your job to pay your bills, don’t quit until you have found another job. It doesn’t take long to get into some serious debt that can take years to pay off. Also, when interviewing for jobs, most employers prefer someone who is presently employed over someone who isn’t, regardless of the reason for the unemployment.

Do What You Can

If you like your job or can’t afford to leave your job, do what you can to improve the situation. Sit down with your boss and try to work things out. If the problem is your boss or a co-worker, a transfer within the company may be an option. If you don’t like your job or the company, make plans to leave the company as soon as possible, but not until you can afford it.

Leave On Good Terms

If you do decide to quit your job, go out in style, leaving a good impression. Give two weeks’ notice. Prepare a letter of resignation. Thank the company for the opportunity. Avoid negativity, blame and badmouthing. Don’t burn any bridges. You never know when you may need a previous boss or co-worker for a reference. If you are quitting due to family or health issues, explain this to your company, your regrets for having to leave, and that you would like to contact them once you are available.

Damian Wolf is marketing consultant for mine jobs project, one of the best Australian websites for job search.