Like many Americans, I am on overload following weeks filled with politics. I made an effort this election season to become fully aware of both sides of the agenda, Democratic and Republican. First up was the Republican convention in Tampa, and then the Democrats had their say in Charlotte. Both sides presented their best arguments and pleas for people’s votes. One subject was reoccurring and is still echoing throughout our country – jobs! People are concerned not only with stabilizing the employment rate, but also with creating more jobs.
With this concern looming over most of the working class, it is more important than ever to address the debate on when to quit your job and pursue your dreams. Many think you would have to be crazy to leave a position with benefits and take the risk on a new start up venture. Others feel the economic climate couldn’t be riper to launch out into the deep unknown. After all, our great country was built on the innovative spirit. Regardless of your way of thinking, I want to share some basic principles that will assist in the transition.
In 1981, an English punk band named The Clash penned a catchy tune called “Should I Stay or Should I Go” that quickly caught fire. To this day, it is a fixture on VH1’s Top 100 rock songs list. What made it so popular was the hook which says, “Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now? If I go there will be trouble. And if I stay it will be double. So come on and let me know.” I see the dilemma facing so many people today. You may ask, “How do I decide to walk away from a job? If I go, I may be unhappy, but the fact remains that I am not happy here anyway.” Decisions, decisions. Here are some tips to help:
- Be honest about your motives: I once told a client that being unhappy at a job is not enough reason to launch your own business. The truth is, everywhere you go there is the potential to be unhappy. Not liking the people you work for isn’t enough reason to move forward. When you start your business, you will work for customers too. The motive for leaving is to release your own potential, not escape management.
- Include your family and close friends in the process: Many spouses have become bitter because their significant other did not confer with them before walking away from their jobs. They feel betrayed when decisions are made that affect the entire family structure, and their opinion isn’t valued. These are giant steps, and we all need the balance of our family’s feedback to help us.
- Develop a strategy and timeline: Since you have decided that leaving is what you should do, next ask yourself – how? Allow yourself a minimum of 8 months to a year to transition out of employment. Be as upfront with your job as possible so you don’t burn bridges. Meet with professionals to evaluate your business plan and prep your family for any adjustments that will be made to finances. This should be a gradual blend, not a sudden rip.
- Keep your head and heart in sync: Be careful of the day dreamer’s illness. That’s when you are sitting on your job so overwhelmed with ideas you forget you still have current responsibilities. This can be a time that will test your integrity and ability to multitask. The object is to keep both sides from slipping as you maneuver through this transition. You don’t have to compromise to be successful.
It can be intimidating to decide what to do with your future. Questions surround the safety of staying at a job only to be laid off in a year. You could step out to launch your business only to go broke in a short time. Either way, there are risks involved. One thing is for sure; both decisions require a plan. No one can answer this for you, but with the tips I have shared, I can at least make the transition a little smoother.
© 2012, Early L. Jackson. All rights reserved.