Last week, I closed the door on 18 years in the corporate world and made the leap to full-time coaching and communications consulting. In retrospect, I probably waited too long.
Yes, the physical toll the constant stress had taken on my health and relationships was disturbing. But perhaps just as troubling was the fact that I was investing time and energy into an organizational cultural that was dissonant with who God had created me to be. It diminished who I was and with it the glory of God.
Now, I recognize there are times we should persevere in a less-than-ideal jobs for the well-being of our families rather than pursue the dreams God has planted in our hearts. But in my opinion, those times are rare.
So what was it about my job that kept me hanging on when it was time to move on? Other than the creative and inspiring people I worked with, for me it boiled down to mindset.
Without even realizing it, I had embraced a faulty mindset that viewed government and corporate work as synonymous with security — paid vacation time, health insurance, and sick leave. Even in the face of increasing health problems and a schedule that left no time for self-care I persevered.
I shouldn’t have.
Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation.
Should You Quit Your Day Job?
While it’s normal to feel some trepidation at the thought of walking away from a regular paycheck and a corporate benefits package, the cost of staying with a job that isn’t the right fit for you is high.
Assuming you have a sufficient client base to pay the bills and your spouse and family are on board with your decision to move into full-time coaching, consider these signposts when determining whether it’s time to quit your day job.
1. Your job is affecting your health. Chronic stress wreaks havoc on your mind and body. Heart disease, autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal problems, depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease are just a few of the health problems related to stress.
And according to a recent study by Harris Interactive for Everest College, workplace stress is on the rise. A whopping 83 percent of American workers say they feel stressed out by their jobs. If workplace stress is causing your health to deteriorate, it could be time for a change.
2. Your job is damaging your relationships. Do you check in at the office while you’re on vacation? Are you missing important family events milestones due to office deadlines? If this sounds like you, your relationships are suffering, whether you realize it or not.
If you’re regularly unable to be present, physically or emotionally, with those you love due to workplace concerns, ask yourself whether your job is serving or enslaving you. Then, take prayerful, appropriate action.
3. Your job isn’t a good fit. Does your job flow from the core of who you are? Are you working in your strengths? Although my job included writing, a passion of mine since childhood, the culture was at odds with my values. If you find yourself at odds with your job or workplace culture, it could be time to move on.
Don’t let fear or a faulty mindset hold you hostage to your day job. Get the training you need, build a solid client base, and seek the counsel of others before making a decision. Then, if the signs point to quitting your day job, go ahead, make the leap.