As somebody who has gone full time doing the thing I love for some years now, I often get asked the question when is the right time to quit the job that you really don’t enjoy to do what you love instead.
The answer to this question is quite uncomfortable! Brace yourself!
The truth is that there is never a right time to do this and you will never feel ready.
You will never have all your ducks in a row and you will never be 100% certain that it will work out.
To add to the fun, those around you may be even more doubtful of the wisdom of making the leap than you are.
Nearly a decade ago now I was in the same position working a job that didn’t fulfil me. I was not ready to leave and very worried about where the money was going to come from. I spent many years in fear of leaving in fear of losing security of that regular pay at the end of each month, even though the money I was earning never seemed to be enough and I sank deeper into debt each year.
I was doing one job – in fact the only full-time job I’ve ever had aside from an running my own business.
I been there nearly 2 years and one morning just woke up knowing it was the right time to leave.
I had a bullying boss, long hours and a completely unfulfilling role. I have been agonising over this decision for over a year, but as soon as I quit (I mean, within hours!), opportunities started to arise for part-time and freelance work, and other things that I could do to get closer to my dream. Now that I coach people who are going into business creatively I noticed that this is a very common occurrence.
Practically speaking, when you have more time to spend on your creative dreams, they are more likely to happen. When I was working full-time, I had to turn down or ignore many opportunities because I wasn’t able to take them up and fulfil my other commitments.
Another common occurrence is for people to state repeatedly that they hate their job and want to leave, sometimes for many years.
Your subconscious is listening the whole time! If you are miserable at work, chances are you aren’t very productive. Promotions won’t come, and redundancies are a real possibility, especially in this current climate.
Now that I’m an employer, I can tell you that there is nothing less desirable than a member of staff who doesn’t really want to be there.
The stress of being unhappy so much of the time is also not good for your health. In case you hadn’t worked it out yet, your health is more important than ANYTHING.
So – if you don’t actually act on your desire to leave, things can happen to make this desire actually come true.
This can be very violent and unsettling way of getting to where you need to be! Redundancy, illness and other such a crisis of very common result of repeatedly saying that you want to leave but not actually acting on it. So my advice is always to be proactive and take the choice to leave a job you hate yourself before you are pushed
Look, only you really understand your personal financial and practical circumstances.
Only you really know the size of the risk you would be taking to stop doing a job that you hate.
Only you really know the size of the risk you would be taking by giving up a regular, secure income.
I would put it to you that it is also a risk spending so much of your time being unhappy – a risk of wasting or even shortening your life (yes, stress and unhappiness are killers – look it up). A risk of losing promotion opportunities or even being pushed instead of jumping. A risk of becoming ill.
Remember that it is not necessary to completely quit and throw yourself on the mercy of freelance income straightaway!
Many people that I work with two part-time or bridge jobs to help them into their business life. But if you are waiting until you have a huge amount of savings have paid off all of your debts or mortgage or some other very long term goal before you actually start living the life you want to live then please do reconsider.
There is many ways to get yourself to the life that you want as there are people out there wanting their dream life.
So take some time today to think about some imaginative ways that you might be able to stop doing what you love right now. Think about time wasting things that you do that you could give up. Think about ways to make your paid work fit better with your bigger plan for life.
This could be as drastic as quitting or as simple as making sure you leave on time.
What can you start doing right away to spend more time doing what you love?