Yesterday evening over dinner, I had a wonderful discussion with a friend about his decision to leave his job. It had nothing to do with the company, his boss or the job. He decided to leave his job because he had spent more than 20 years in the company and couldn’t picture himself being excited at the same place for the remaining 20 years of his career. He needed a new challenge, new environment, a new industry, new targets and new people around him. He simply needed change.

My friend had it all worked out. He carefully considered what he wanted with his career and had come to this decision over a 6 months process of thinking about a new job. He’s now in the process of making a smooth exit and preparing his transition to the new role.

Most of us don’t have the luxury, the presence of mind or time to do things in this fashion and often we simply want to quit in the spur of the moment. But before making such a quick decision and storming into your boss’s office, ask yourself these three questions. Trust me, you owe yourself this.

1. Is it just your boss?

Are you resigning just because your boss is a jerk? Were you passed over for a promotion, assignment or training opportunity? Is your boss bullying you? Is it just your boss or is it the company? Maybe it’s all the stress in other parts of your life that started effecting your work ‘happiness’.

So before you quit, try to have a last ‘confront your boss’ conversation and if that fails, consider whether you could add value in another department/division/unit. If yes, maybe the boss of that department would be interested in having you and it’s a question of placement and not resignation.

2. Is there really no future for you here?

Do your line manager or HR know what your ambitions are? Have they indicated whether those ambitions are possible in the company? Have they given you feedback on where they think you stand and where you could go? Are they actually investing in your personal development? If you take matters into your own hand, focus on your personal development and make active use of the learning and network opportunities the company offers, do you think that you would be able to get to the job that you really aspire for?

If the answer to these questions is a yes, then rather than resigning take your education and training into your own hands. There are enough opportunities out there to develop yourself. You can groom yourself into being a better leader and it won’t have to cost you anything.

3. Whats your plan?

So if it’s more than your boss and you don’t see a future in the company, is it time to hand in the resignation letter? Nope. You first need to have a plan. A plan which involves either an alternative job offer or enough savings to run your kitchen for at least 6 to 12 months. And even then, before you run out the door, make sure you can afford to burn bridges. You never know when and where you’ll meet or need the people you’ve worked with in the past.

Of course, I strongly advise you to transition professionally so you don’t burn bridges in the first place. In the end, it’s only your personal reputation that you carry forward in your career.

Remember, you need to ask yourself these questions before you resign. Once you figure out the answers to all these questions then and only then are you ready to to hand in the resignation letter. After that, you’re ready for the hunt to find new job.