Step one in finding a job should really be the part where you tactfully “break up” with your current job. If you’re currently unemployed, though, you don’t need to worry about this step.
One aspect to worry about when breaking up with your current employer is timing. Actually, in the job hunt, timing is pretty much everything. The basic fact that both you and your potential employer are both looking to resolve each others’ needs is timing, in of itself: you need a place to work right now, and they need someone to work for them right now. Timing.
Anyway, when you’re breaking up with your current employer, you want to make sure you time it well. Don’t go quitting your job before you are absolutely positive you’re 100% guaranteed the new job. Meaning, until you are on the pay roll, don’t give your notice.
Tactful 2-weeks' Notice
Which brings me to my second point: it’s really nice to give a 2-week notice before simply quitting cold turkey. Think about it. Your current employer will need to fill your position (in most cases), and by leaving them high and dry, you do yourself a disservice. In the future, when that employer gets a call from someone looking to hire you, they’ll remember that cold turkey quitting maneuver you so selfishly pulled, and hopefully the person giving you a reference will be kind, but you never know. So it’s always nice to do the kind thing and give a good, long, 2 weeks’ notice. They might let you go sooner, anyway. But as you know, you get more flies with sugar, so…yeah. Be nice to any employer you work for. It’s the smart thing to do.
Take Away a Good Job Reference
For the purpose of setting your own mind at ease, it’s also nice to be assured of a good job reference from your current or soon-to-be ex-employer. When you do have that conversation about your 2-week notice, somehow try to niggle out a good reference from them. Maybe refer to the amazing job you did working for them and ask if it’s okay to use them as a reference in the future. And if you’re not sure who to direct future employers to for a reference, this is the time to ask.
That pretty much takes care of the matter of “breaking up” with your current employer: simply time it right, be tactful & gracious, and take the opportunity to discuss future job references.