Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Corporate Job

How do you know when it’s time to, not just to get another job, but to quit the rat race all together?

Ask yourself these questions:

Do I feel I’m making a difference?

Big companies have the resources to make a big impact. But sometimes it’s not clear what difference you’re personally making to the world despite all those long hours, the stress and ever increasing targets. If you can see that your skills, expertise and dedication could make more impact outside of the corporate structure it might be time to quit your corporate job.

Am I able to balance work with the rest of my life?

Working for yourself isn’t a guarantee that you’ll have work-life balance, believe me! I’ve done a lot of midlife coaching with individuals who’ve attempted to change their life around only to find that they’re just as stressed and even more busy than they were before! But corporate life often demands long hours, a long commute, calls outside of normal working hours and pressure to be busy from the time you arrive to the time you leave each day. According to research by Working Families the demands work today are incompatible with family life. Unless you’re able to negotiate a more flexible schedule, work part time or work remotely more often, you might feel that you’re sacrificing too much for your employer and there’s got to be a better way.

Am I confident I could make money outside of corporate life?

Quitting your corporate job and creating a more balanced life sounds appealing. But you still need to keep a roof over your head. While you might not yet know what you would do instead, having a sense that you could leverage your skills, expertise, or turn a hobby in to a viable business is important. For all the stresses and frustrations of working for someone else there is the security of a regular pay check. Be realistic about what you could do to make money if you weren’t relying on your employee salary to pay the bills.

Are there aspects of working for someone else that don’t work for me and won’t change just by joining a new company?

For many people a new job in a new company gives them a new lease of life. A promotion, a company with more aligned values, working somewhere closer to home or just a fresh challenge with new people revives their mojo. However, there are some aspect of working for someone else that won’t change even if you find a great new job in a great new company. What is it about company life that doesn’t work for you and would any of this change if you got a new job?

Do I feel a calling to do something else instead?

You don’t need to change the world, start a business that feeds you in every way, or find the one passion that your whole life revolves around before you go it alone. Becoming a landscape gardener, a florist, fixing up classic cars or being a freelance bookkeeper isn’t necessarily a Calling (with a Big C). But do you have a strong desire to do something a bit different? To live a different way? To leverage your skills and experience on the open market? To do something physical rather than just working with your brain? Or to be able to determine the ones you’re going to take on and the ones you aren’t? Yes, you want to get out of the situation you’re in. But you do also feel a pull towards something else? [listen to episode 110 where I talk to Dav Piper about the search for a new business idea and how she unexpectedly found it right under her nose].

Could I use my talents some other way?

Over the years you’ve gathered a pretty big resume of skills, experiences, insights and personal qualities. Can any of these be turned in to a way to make money? Of course, you might be able to do the job you do today but on the open market. Or you might want to do something completely new for a living. Chances are you’ve got many skills and qualities that are highly transferable even if, until now, you haven’t been paid for these skills and qualities. If you can see a way to use your talents to make money outside the corporate world it could be time to quit the rat race for good.

Am I willing to give up what a corporate career offers me in exchange for what I would get working for myself?

Although you may be highly frustrated by work right now, a corporate career offers a lot of benefits. Relative security (salary, pay rise, bonus), a promotion ladder, access to resources, scale of impact, credibility, status, training and development, a network, being around people every day, opportunities to collaborate and work alongside talented people inside and outside the company...I could go on. Life on the outside is tougher. There is not as much security, you may not have access to the resources a company can provide (you even have to buy your own paper and pens). You may find yourself working alone a lot of the time. There are no paid holidays, sick leave, maternity or paternity pay. Instead though you have relative freedom to choose the work you do and when you do it. You can work where you like. There’s no limit to how much money you can make. You get to use your creativity to solve problems rather than having to rely on others you may not trust. You can feel you’re really making a difference and that your life has purpose….I could go on.

Just make sure that, before you decide to quit the comforts of being an employee you’ve really thought about what you’ll be giving up and what you’ll be getting in exchange.

Have an Exit Plan for Leaving your Corporate Job

There’s no foolproof or risk-free way to quit your corporate job. And no one can guarantee to you that it’s the right thing to do in your circumstances. Some people will choose the devil they know rather than the devil they don’t.

However, it’s also likely that if working for yourself doesn’t work out for you, you can get another job. As long as you’ve taken sensible steps to secure a financial runway for yourself, done your market research, have a clear strategy of how to quit your job and have a worst case scenario plan, you’ve minimised the risk considerably. Just be honest with yourself when you answer the questions above and you’ll have a pretty good idea whether now is the time to sit tight or whether now is the time to change your life around.

Change your life for the better and invest in yourself

If you have answered yes to most of the above questions and are ready to make the leap, why not explore my escape the rat race courses that will help you transition from the corporate world to doing something you love for a living.