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Should I Leave My Current Job for SSC-CGL Preparation?

When someone decides to start preparing for an exam, his reasons are unique to himself but broadly speaking, there are basically two categories. Some prepare because they are genuinely interested in syllabus or posts offered by that exam while others prepare because of no other option. SSC CGL recruits middle-level employees in government departments which is in perfect alignment with the mindset of aspirants. Some prepare to improve upon their current job profile while others prepare out of desperation and lack of options. Consequently, there are aspirants preparing with the job while some are preparing full time. There is this one question that surely crosses the mind of aspirants from the first category and that is “Should I leave my current job or prepare simultaneously?” If you have this question then this article is for you.

When you are preparing for an exam like SSC CGL then ideally you should prepare exclusively for it but there is hardly an ideal situation in this world, isn’t it? Almost all aspirants of SSC CGL are in the early to late twenties and this is the time when they are supposed to bear some responsibilities. Sometimes it’s not possible for someone to just sit at home and prepare single-mindedly. Secondly, the time taken for completion of the exam and subsequent joining is quite lengthy and this makes the situation even trickier.

Factors you should Consider Before taking the Decision.

Before zeroing on the path that you are about to take, weigh your situation based on these parameters at least:-

1. Your current financial situation, 
2. Impending loan (if any),
3. Your current level of preparation,
4. Your actual seriousness about the exam. Ask yourself if you are serious or just a dabbler.
5. Emotional support from family (Will they be okay with you sitting at home for 1-2 years?)
6. Your own mental strength. It’s not an easy thing to leave a current job in pursuit of something which is clouded by uncertainty. You wouldn’t like to see you cursing yourself later when you see your peers buying gadgets, planning trips etc. Ask yourself if you can manage that possible repent later on.

The question that is embedded in the title of this article carries no definite answer. In an ideal case, you should study the whole day without missing even a single day in between but not everyone can possibly do that. There are many who get brilliant rank despite being in a full-time job while there are many who end up jobless even after preparing full time for many years. There are candidates belonging to both categories and there is no reason to believe that you can’t be in former one. Just consider all the factors and decide what’s best for you.

Now suppose you have decided to leave the job for full-time preparation. In my opinion, you shouldn’t leave your job immediately. Let me elaborate it further. Suppose you are in a job that requires you to be in office for 8-9 hours with an average workload, say from 9am to 6pm. Add two hours for commutation in it which makes it 8am to 7pm. Add another hour of preparing for office and breakfast in the morning which basically converts your job to a 7 to 7 affair. Out of the remaining 12 hours, take out seven hours for sleep, one hour for exercises and another hour for miscellaneous activities. On average, you’re left with three hours for studying. On weekends, you must extract seven to nine hours somehow.

Now start studying along with your current job. You might not be able to study for even three hours initially. First, try to reach three hours of “effective” study on weekdays and seven to nine hours on weekends. You have to take out time according to your preference like in the early morning or late nights. Decide for yourself. Studying like this for a month or so will serve three purposes:-

1. You will become aware of the syllabus and your current level of preparation. You will get to know not only what you need to do to crack the exam but also whether you can actually do that or not.
2. You can’t simply study ten hours a day from beginning itself. It takes time to build up a study routine. After leaving your job, you wouldn’t like to see yourself studying just two hours a day even after a month. It can build frustration which would affect preparation adversely.
3. Maybe your current level of preparation is all right. Maybe you don’t need to leave your job at all. You will get the answers of above questions once you start preparing. If you think your preparation is taking good shape then don’t leave your job and continue your preparation simultaneously.

I hope all this elaboration answers all questions of yours. There are a few more points that I want to mention which might help you further in making an informed choice.

1. Take out some time for exercises even if you are preparing with a job. Exercises will not only improve your fitness level but also boost your mental capability. Also, you wouldn’t like to see yourself weighing 110 kg at the time of joining your dream job.
2. Take some time to analyze all the factors but do not look back once you have taken a decision. 
3. If you are preparing with a job then you can’t afford to skip study days in between. You have to study without missing even a single day in between.
4. Manage your time well. If you can find two-three slots of even ten minutes in your office then try to utilize them by revising vocabulary or something similar.
5. Forget about marriage functions, trips, movies etc for a year if you are preparing with the job.
6. Do not underestimate point 3 and 5. Even if you are a good student, still you need to hustle for each and every mark. One mark can throw you out of merit list or kick you some 2000 kilometers away from your hometown during zone allocation. Understand this thing well and push yourself for your best possible attempt.

Concluding note:- You might be disappointed after reading this article as I didn’t give any clear answer but only you know the exact circumstances of yours. This question doesn’t carry a definite answer but I have tried to give you a very realistic elaboration on what you should do and what to expect. Think, analyze and then come to the most suitable option for you.

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