Are you in a career or job that you simply hate?
Someone recently emailed me and asked, “How do you know when is the right time to leave your corporate position or your job?”
My first thought, is that leaving your job that you have been in for two, five, or ten years is a lot like a divorce in many ways. Not that I would have any idea what going through a divorce is like, but for many people, even if they can’t STAND their career it still defines who they are, much like a long-term relationship.
I think the thought of separation [from a job] and the act of following through with the split can be a lot more difficult than most people imagine. Additionally, some people cling to their job (or marriage) like a life raft and are tremendously afraid to let go.
Really, it comes down to the following. You have a burning desire and goal to be doing something else and the only reason you’re not is because fear, or a sense of job security, is holding you back.
I don’t really have a specific answer for exactly when someone should “divorce their job.”
For me, the decision was easy. When I originally went back to university I had the unfortunate [but now seemingly fortunate] happenstance of working for a pharmaceutical manufacturing company. While I was employed there I learned everything I needed to know about the sometimes ugly face of corporate life.
What I witnessed on a daily basis was backstabbing amongst colleagues, deceit and strategic power plays, and individuals hoping to advance themselves up the corporate ladder, not on the merit of their work, but by scheming and underhandedness.
Now let me put in a little *disclaimer*
I am sure that there are TREMENDOUS companies to work for. In fact, Fortune Magazine has a whole issued devoted to highlighting the 100 Best Companies To Work For. It’s just during my various twenty years in and out of various offices I did not happen to work for any of them.
So, if you have had enough of corporate life and would like to take a leap and start your own business, or you just want to explore a different way of living then this post is for you.
Some people that I run into think that not having a structured job to go into every day is a radical concept. And to be perfectly honest, for some people it is radical. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with having a career or job, but for those people (who are like me) it can feel like prison.
Knowing when to make the leap can be difficult.
There are all kinds of reasons telling us not to; mortgages, bills, kids, tuition, student loans, car payments, you name it… but there are many people who have been successful at this change and if you really want to do it I am sure you can!
Here are my, Top Ten Signs That You Are Ready To Divorce Your Job –
- You have been thinking about leaving your job persistently almost everyday for six months to a year.
- You loathe working for other people in an office environment.
- You really have an inner desire or drive to be your own boss and start your own business.
- You are generally miserable and it is because of your job, or your job is affecting your personal relationships (even on the weekends).
- You requested a leave of absence for three months to take a career break, sabbatical, or mini-retirement and your company said NO even though you offered to take it without pay.
- You would like to travel and see the world.
- Every very year when you come back from vacation you tell yourself I am going to leave my current job and do x,y, and z. Then a week later you are back into the same “treadmill-esque” routine.
- You would like to work from home or possibly telecommute.
- You have a strong feeling that there is more to life than just going to the same job for numerous years and working from 9 to 5.
- Everyday when you are at work (or even out of work) you are feeling claustrophobic or trapped.
- Quite possibly you are having panic attacks about your job.
- If you get the feeling like you want to drive your car off a bridge on the way to work that is a pretty good sign that you are ready to move on.
- When you are at work you find yourself doing anything but WORK to keep yourself distracted.
- Your boss is a dickhead!
For some, leaving a job might be the most daring thing they have ever done. Also people naturally fear that they won’t have the support of their loved ones, spouse, or peers. That can be a tricky and you will have to make some very personal decisions as to how you will deal with the situation.
Making the switch from the traditional employment norm, or “divorcing your job,” is not always an easy process. I am a fan of a phased approach where you remove yourself gradually and have some sort of plan.
I realize that some people are so miserable or pissed that you just want to get out of the situation as fast as possible. If that is the case then try to make sure that you have a financial cushion or backing to help carry you through.
Sometimes I shudder to think how many people there are out there who, are not only are hesitant to remove themselves from corporate life, but never actually take any RISKs.
If you are not a risk taker then of course this a fine path to follow! I just genuinely feel bad for the people that would like to try something different and for whatever reason lack the time, energy, resources, or fortitude to actually go out there and take that risk. If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to pursue it.
A success story
Recently, I came upon a young Australian entrepreneur, Ross Hill, who is getting ready to finish university. Ross left a comment on my site the other day and upon further research I found out that he is already running three or four online enterprises. I must say, I find that terribly inspiring.
As of yet, I don’t know if Ross is making any money online but he is at least attempting to make money online. These are the kind of people who, if you find yourself on the fence about a “career divorce,” then you should be following their sites and stories.
Seriously, I am not against corporate life, or having a 9 to 5 job. In fact, I am stating right here that I could very well find myself back there someday.
What I am against is people being treated like indentured servants without fair compensation and also I am against people staying in a job or career if they TRULY want to be doing something else.
In essence, the question really becomes, how do we get the corporate world to have a paradigm shift in what they think is fair and equitable treatment of its employees? And how do you support and promote creativity, different types of work styles, while still ensuring productivity?