A year ago I quit my very secure, very lucrative agency job to go out on my own. It was the best career decision I’ve ever made, and by the time I quit it was glaringly obvious that it was the right move. But leaving your full-time gig is scary, especially when everyone else in your life is telling you to “play it safe” and “think it over.”
I’m want to be that voice you need to push you over the edge. You can make a living without a 9-to-5, and if most of these things apply to you, it’s probably time to rip off the Band-Aid.
1. You find yourself looking longingly out the window from your desk. Even if what you’re looking at is the shirtless dude sitting on the grass drinking High Life from a brown paper bag.
2. You hate everyone you work with, even the people who are chill. When Stephanie from HR asks you to go for happy hour and you say no because simply looking at her face reminds you of work and makes you ragey, it might be time to consider other career pursuits.
3. You don’t get excited about projects, even the “good” ones. This is probably a really poor quality, but I just can’t get truly excited about working on a project that I know isn’t mine. That’s how deep down, I think I always knew I’d never be happy working for someone else.
4. The money doesn’t motivate you. Ask yourself this: if I were making 20% more, would I still want to leave? What about 50% more? If the right price could make showing up worth your while (and there is no shame in that game), you’re probably in a good place because there’s still motivation to work harder.
If you think you’d want to quit no matter how much they offered you to stay, your best path might be the nearest exit.
5. You’ve got an idea that you can’t stop thinking about. A travel blog. An Etsy shop where you sell your cool handmade glassware. A street corner where you play the tuba for a coffee can filled with spare change (it’s your dream, baby).
6. You are Cady from Mean Girls and can’t stop word-vomiting complaints about your job. Some people will complain about anything, and I’m asking you to be self-aware for five seconds and identify whether you’re one of those people.
No? Only complaining about work, all the time? Probably time to stop bitching and do something about it.
7. You don’t enjoy the rigidity of 9-to-5, Monday-through-Friday. Some people thrive on consistency, others want to take a yoga class in the middle of the day and stay up until midnight cranking on work. If a midday chataranga is calling your name, working for yourself may be your best bet.
8. You’re not afraid to hustle your ass off. When you work for yourself, it’s all on you, all the time. Vacations become less vacation-y. Evenings and weekends become prime time for getting ahead on new projects. In a sense, work never feels done.
You’re allowed to be scared about leaving the security of your full-time job. You absolutely cannot be scared of working like your next meal depends on it (BECAUSE IT DOES, LOLZ).
Ready to work like Britney circa the 2001 MTV VMA’s? Then you’re probably ready to throw in the 9-to-5 towel. At least one of us thinks so.