10/01/2014 11:57 GMT | Updated 11/03/2014 05:59 GMT

What You Need to Know Before You Quit Your Job

So you've finally decided to hand in your notice.

That means you're among the fifth of UK workers who plan on finding a new job in 2014, according to new research from the Institute of Leadership & Management, part of the City & Guilds Group.

Deciding to quit can be an empowering decision, especially if you've been unhappy at work for a long time. It can also be the most frightening decision of your life.

That's why you need to plan beyond the time when you unload 12 years of pent-up frustration on your manager, collect your things and walk.

Here's what you should know before you say the irreversible, yet satisfying words 'I quit.'

First, figure out what you actually want to do.

You already know what you don't want, which is a start. The question remains if you still want to work in the same field or go in a completely different direction.

Second, decide how to get there.

If you stay in the same industry, it's time to call on the network of people you've built up. Ask around and find out where the opportunities are.

If you are changing careers, you aren't alone. It has become quite common across all age groups. Half of young people consider leaving their careers within two years of starting them, according to research from Aldi.

Now that you've figured out what career you really want, how will you get there? Do you have the right skills?

If not, you may need to consider retraining. Vocational qualifications are a great option here. They provide the practical skills needed for the workplace.

And your options extend beyond the traditional trades of plumbing and hair styling courses. You could train be a travel agent, accountant or even a social media expert.

Before you become too overwhelmed at the thought of retraining, remember that you could do a part-time course that fits around your schedule. Or you could even consider an apprenticeship, enabling you to develop and learn skills on the job.

Whatever your dreams, it's never too late to gain experience in a career you're passionate about. I met a woman a couple of years ago who had spent 20 years in the finance sector. However after realising how much she enjoyed floristry following a part-time course, she completely retrained, quit her job and started her own company. She has never looked back.

Even the Minister for Skills & Enterprise, Matthew Hancock, spoke out this week encouraging those over 50 to consider an apprenticeship.

The key is to explore all of your options and pick the one best suited to your ambitions.

Third, commit and go.

Once you know where you're going and how to get there, go! Don't be afraid, as it just might be the best thing you ever do for your future.