If you are anything like me, you’ve dreamed about the day you will leave your job. Taking a chance on yourself to go and do something more fulfilling. After snagging a dream job elsewhere with amazing pay, or even better becoming your own boss. You may be certain you have the skills required to succeed. And you’re more than willing to put in the hours, but something always seems to hold you back.
Don’t worry, you are in good company. I was 36 when I plucked up enough courage to start my own business. I had spent 10 long years of thinking about it, unsure if I’d ever actually take the plunge. Once I made that decision, my life changed beyond recognition. My only regret was that I didn’t do it sooner.
Whether your goal is to land that dream job, or even to head up your own business. Here are 10 reasons (some from on my own situation) why you should leave your job:
1) You feel like you have no purpose
Everyone likes to feel part of something important. Like what they do matters and is contributing to something worthwhile. A way to implement your skills and be appreciated for it by an employer would give you purpose.
If this is something that resonates with you then make a change. Life’s too short to go home every day feeling like you haven’t accomplished anything meaningful. There are employers out there who will utilise your skills, giving you the job satisfaction you deserve.
2) There’s no pathway to promotion, or ways to boost your earning
Your basic wage might not be as high as you would like, but that wouldn’t matter too much if there was a pathway to promotion. Even a bonus scheme would give you something to strive for.
But if those incentives don’t exist, and you feel trapped and demoralised, then nobody would blame you for looking to improve your situation.
3) Gratitude and praise from your boss or manager is virtually non-existent
Regardless of your salary, sometimes its nice just to get the occasional acknowledgement or a modicum of gratitude for a project you handled so well? Surely even a quick thank you wouldn’t go amiss. It might even fire up your enthusiasm for the next task.
4) You’re always going to be thought of as a number no matter how hard you work
You know you have proven yourself on many occasions yet feel dejected because the boss doesn’t even know your name. In fact he barely shows his face in your department. Your colleagues keep telling you how great you are but might also confess that your talent is wasted. They may miss you once you go.
5) You have almost zero enthusiasm to go to work
You’ve got so much to give and used to leap out of bed early to start your day. But now you can’t even muster enough enthusiasm to get up. All your working days seem to morph into one dull weekly experience that never changes. You’ve tried to shake things up, but to no avail, if you’re consistently bored then only a change will work.
6) You day dream about being your own boss
You constantly dream about being your own boss. Surely if your boss (who you have a low opinion of) pulled it off there’s no reason why you couldn’t too. You have a great strategy for growing sales and you’ve read a few books on how someone, not too dissimilar to yourself, quit their job and became a millionaire. Could you do the same thing?
7) Someone you know is living your dream
Let’s imagine you bump into an old school friend at a party or in some business gathering. Despite the fact that she achieved far less than you in school, she owns a successful company and travels all over the world, living the life you envisioned for yourself (if she did it why can’t you?).
Fair question. It’s never too late to begin to lay down the foundations for a new company. You can do so way before you leave your job, so use these experiences as a motivator. If you ever feel envy, remember it’s natures way of motivating us. Never dislike someone successful just because they are successful, learn how to emulate what they do.
8) You don’t like the thought of you still working in your current job in 10 – 20 years’ time.
The mere thought of you still working for the same company several years down the line simply horrifies you, it’s worse than a prison sentence.
When I envisioned the grey-haired version of me still overseeing production schedules in my boss’s factory some 20 years later it was enough to drain the colour from my face. This single experience was a defining moment and led me to making the big decision to set up on my own as a side line company, in case I thought up an idea that might take me on a different path.
9) Your gut tells you that you are worth more
Despite that negative voice in your head often telling you that this is your lot in life, your gut tells you otherwise. If only you had the courage to follow your gut instinct, and prove to yourself that you’re worth much more. Especially more than what your current job offers.
It’s not as though you hate your job as such, it’s just that you have ambition to fulfil. Your potential lies elsewhere and you owe it to yourself to try. The fact that your current employer isn’t making full use of your talent is an indicator that your gut may be right.
10) There’s no fun
It’s all work and no play. The company policy is to maximise sales, even at the expense of having fun (despite fun helping to increase performance and alleviate the stress).
Being miserable at work spills into your social life and that isn’t what you signed up for. Entrepreneurs have fun, they control what they do and often find ways of injecting fun into their projects. This is what helps them succeed, not holds them back.
When to jump
There’s a time and a place to make that move and leave your job. If a few of the reasons above resonate with you, maybe your time is now.
Sometimes, a little push is what you need to leave your job. For some it may be redundancy, putting them in a position where they’ve lost their job gives them nothing to lose. Then, with their backs to the wall, they have no choice but to come out swinging.
Or it might come from an inspiring story you heard about someone else. That’s what happened in my case. When a friend told me about his colleague being offered £500,000 for his invention, I was hooked and decided to invent my way out of my job, literally! And I did it too!
Setting up on your own
If I could give you 2 simple tips regarding setting up your business, it would be these:
1) Keep everything you do secret
Believe me, telling a friend or colleague about your exciting idea, or letting them know you’re about to leave your job, even if they are sworn to secrecy, isn’t a risk worth taking. It can easily come back and bite you. I nearly lost my job through an early attempt to start my business, because my work colleague told my manager about something I tried to develop in my spare time. Our friends and colleagues can often be our greatest rivals. If nobody knows your plans, then nobody can politic against you.
2) Keep things simple
I chose to register a company name whilst still working for my boss. Then I thought up a unique problem in print I could solve using a simple device in my own time. I borrowed £2,000 from my sister and developed a proto-type, before producing a batch to sell. If I failed I’d only lose £2,000, you can’t get simpler than that. What is it you have to offer? What could you monetise if you needed to?
Graham Harris is founder and Managing Director of Tech-ni-Fold Ltd and Creasestream LLP, global leaders in print creasing technology. His invention has saved customers over £8billion to date. His book Against the Grain is available now on Amazon