In what's been called the Great Resignation, over 47 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021. With many experiencing significant loss, Americans began to question how and where they wanted to spend their life. Working for a company that provides respect and meaningful work became a priority over higher wages. Most workers who quit their jobs cited a toxic work culture as their primary reason for leaving.
Quitting their job, however, translated not into unemployment but entrepreneurship for many Americans. As history shows, many businesses are launched during tough times. According to Census Bureau data, Americans filed paperwork for 5.4 million businesses in 2021-- a 53 percent increase from 2019 and 23 percent higher than in 2020. These are the greatest increases in over a decade.
But two years into the pandemic, entrepreneurs may be questioning whether they should continue the risky journey of self-employment. Capital access, supply-chain disruptions, and hiring issues are cited as the biggest challenges. For some entrepreneurs, these challenges may have you wondering whether the grass is greener on the other side. That is, would it be best to close up shop and have a boss instead of being one?
Pause before deciding and consider the following questions:
1. Is my desire to quit based on emotion or facts?
There's a famous saying that goes, "Never reply when you are angry. Never make a promise when you are happy. Never make a decision when you are sad." Avoid making a big decision, like abandoning your venture, when you're either angry or sad. The exception is if you've observed a pattern of anger or sadness. Take the time to carefully reflect on the reasons why you want to quit, but also the reasons why staying might be the better option (at least for now).
2. What are my interests?
In negotiations, interests refer to your needs, concerns, and motivations for negotiating over certain issues (tangibles). The key to a fulfilling job is finding one that will provide the right tangibles that will help you address these interests. If your interests are having autonomy, creating a product or providing a service that is meaningful to you, and making an impact in your field but these interests are not being satisfied through entrepreneurship, then perhaps it's time to actively search for a job and an employer that will provide what you need.
3. What would improve your current position or your feelings about it?
Before resigning as an entrepreneur altogether, consider making a list of the things you would like to change or that would motivate you to stay. Determine where the locus of control lies in making these changes.
Are they internal (changes over which you have control)? Or are they external (where the control over these outcomes lies in outside forces)? If the former, consider identifying specific steps that you can take to make these changes. If external, consider identifying specific resources -- including other people -- that may be instrumental in helping you achieve the desired outcome.
There's a tremendous risk in resigning. Your next venture may or may not work out. For many entrepreneurs who are optimistic about the future of their business, resigning is not an option. You may decide, however, that it is the best course at this time. The beauty of making a decision is that you can make another decision if the first didn't yield the results you expected. As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, wrote, "the pain of inaction stings longer than the pain of incorrect action."