Time to go home

It’s a new year and, for many people, that could represent the opportunity for a new start. And given that we spend about a third (or more) of our adult lives working, we should all have careers that fulfill us and make us happy. As Johnny Carson once said, you should “never continue in a job you don’t enjoy.” Have you been thinking about switching up careers and taking the plunge into the wonderful world of freelancing?

Here are five signs that you may be ready to quit your job.

You Can’t Stand Your Coworkers

One of the things that I miss about having a regular job is the water cooler gossip. Well, it’s not so much the gossip that I miss as much as just the random conversations and shenanigans that we’d have throughout the day. Working from home, it is more challenging to be “social” in that respect.

That being said, not all coworkers are exactly the most fun people to be around. If you find yourself despising the time you spend with your coworkers, dreading every interaction that you have, then maybe it’s time for a change of environment. In some circumstances, you may able to request a transfer to pursue another opportunity. Or you can create your own opportunities as a freelancer.

Your Job Is Unrelated to Your Interests

Most of us don’t want to be stuck in a so-called “dead end job.” It’s even worse when you’re in a career that has absolutely nothing to do with your education, your training and your professional interests. Maybe you really want to be a graphic artist to express your creativity, but you’re currently working as an accounts payable clerk for furniture store.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the latter and it is a perfectly respectable career. But if you’re miserable doing the work and you’d much rather be doing something else, then maybe it’s time to quit your job and explore those interests more fully. Remember that in this day and age, seeking work-life integration could be far more viable than work-life balance.

You Work Too Many Unpaid Hours

When you first started, you may have been told that you’ll typically work about eight hours a day, five days a week. That sounds pretty normal. And then suddenly, you find your supervisor asking you to stay in late a few nights a week to finish up those TPS reports. And then he says that you should come in on the weekend, because it’s audit season too.

What was once a 40-hour work week has ballooned into one that is 60 hours or more, all while still getting paid as if you were working 40 hours. That hardly sounds fair. You could try to negotiate a raise or discuss these working conditions with your manager. Or you can take matters into your own hands as a freelancer, figure out exactly how much you’re actually working, and charge your clients accordingly.

You Seek Independence and Ownership

A major reason why you may choose to quit your job is that you’re tired of being told what to do and, even when you do it, you’re tired of someone else taking all the credit. There’s nothing wrong with desiring the recognition you deserve and that is something that freelancing can help to provide.

While there may be some truth to you trading one boss for multiple bosses, the fact of the matter is that you are working with your clients to help achieve their goals. And when you put together than article, pamphlet or website design, you can bask in the glow of ownership. That’s your work.

You Are Prepared for the Challenge

Freelancing is not easy. You’re going to face a lot of uphill battles, especially in the beginning. You may struggle to land your first client. You may get confused with all the taxes, administration and logistical considerations that come with running your own small business as a company of one. You may have a hard time staying motivated and keeping on task.

Beyond the Margins

If you’re the kind of person who would prefer an easy day at work where you can simply go through the motions, then maybe you shouldn’t quit your job. If you’re the kind of person who wants to be challenged and wants to push him/herself further, then freelancing could be for you. Ensure that your financial situation can survive the turbulent waters of self-employment too.

And when you are ready to take the plunge, my book Beyond the Margins can be the navigator by your side, guiding you from the initial excitement and anxiety of doing it on your own to the richly rewarding feeling of success on your own terms.