Some people hang on to a job they hate because the money is "too good." Some people hang on to a job they hate because the "prestige" of the title makes it too hard on their egos to quit.
And some hang on to a job they hate because they're afraid to start their own business --which to me is the worst reason of all. Keep in mind there are compelling reasons to hang on to your full-time job as long as you can while you get your startup going, which from an administrative standpoint is really easy: you can set up a new business in three or four hours.
If you're in a job you hate, I have four words for you: Life is too short.
Life is too short to go home every day feeling unfulfilled. Life is too short to work for a terrible boss. Life is too short to go home every day feeling taken for granted, feeling taken less than seriously, or feeling taken advantage of.
Life is too short to not be as professionally fulfilled -- and happy -- as you can possibly be. Say your adult child called and said, "I hate my job. I'm bored, frustrated, and feel like I'm going nowhere." Wouldn't you tell your son or daughter to look for another job?
Of course you would -- so shouldn't you follow the same advice?
And don't just take my word for it. One of the worst things you an do is fall prey to the myth of persistence. Instead of feeling you have to hang in there, Mastering the Art of Quitting says that sometimes the best thing you can do is have the courage to (gracefully) leave a job that doesn't make you happy.
So if any of the following applies to you, its time to stop being miserable and start looking for something better:
1. Your boss manages his boss, not you.
You know the type: As a leader, she should focus her time and attention on her direct reports, but she spends all her time "following" her boss. It seems like your only job is to contribute to the greater glory -- and advancement -- of your boss.
Life's too short to spend your time developing your boss's career at the expense of your own.
2. Your ideas are disregarded or even ignored.
Everyone has ideas. And everyone loves when his or her ideas are taken seriously -- and implemented. The feeling that you've contributed in a special way is incredibly gratifying.
But when your boss or company shoots down or even laughs at your ideas, it's not only insulting, it's de-motivating. And pretty soon you stop caring.
Life's too short to not care.
3. You get criticized in public.
We all need constructive feedback. We all need a little nudge. We all need to be told when we can do something better -- and how to do it better.
But we need to be told those things in private.
Life's too short to walk around waiting for the next time you'll be criticized--and even humiliated -- in front of other people.
4. No one ever says, "Thanks."
Everyone also needs praise. We all need to know when we do something well (and everyone, even a poor performer, does some things well).
Life's too short not to be recognized for the contributions you make.
5. You feel like you have no purpose.
Everyone likes to feel a part of something bigger. Everyone likes to feel they have an impact not just on results, but also on the lives of other people.
Life's too short to go home every day feeling like you've worked... but you haven't accomplished anything meaningful.
6. You feel like a number.
Everyone is replaceable. Everyone, ultimately, works for a paycheck. But people also want to work for more than a paycheck. They want to work with people they respect and admire, and they want to be respected and admired in return.
If your boss doesn't occasionally stop for a quick discussion about family, an informal conversation to see if you need any help, or simply to say a kind word, then you're just a cog in a larger machine.
Life's too short to only be a cog in a larger machine.
7. You aren't even a tiny bit excited to go to work.
Every job has its downsides. (I'm willing to bet even Richard Branson has to do a few things he doesn't enjoy -- like near-death ballooning experiences.) But every job should also have some fun moments. Or exciting moments. Or challenging moments. Or some aspect that makes you think, "I'm looking forward to doing that."
Life's too short to spend only looking forward to quitting time.
8. You don't see a better future.
Every job should lead to something: hopefully a promotion, but if not, the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities, learn new things, tackle new challenges. Tomorrow should have the potential to be different -- in a good way -- from today.
A decent boss works to improve the company's future. A good boss works to improve her employees' futures, too, even if -- especially if -- that might mean some of those employees will eventually move on to bigger and better things.
Life's too short to live without hope.
9. No one shares your dreams.
Countless companies were started by two or more people who at one time worked together and realized they had complementary skills--and realized they wanted to carve out a new future together.
If you plan to be an entrepreneur, working for a big company first is one of the best things you can do: It's a risk-free environment where you can meet future colleagues and co-founders. Pick a dozen companies at random and you'll find at least a few that were founded by aspiring entrepreneurs who met as co-workers and went on to launch an awesome business together.
Life's too short to spend working with people who don't share your hopes, dreams, and passions.
10. You're convinced you don't have other options.
That's the best reason of all to quit your job. I know what you're thinking: "I make too much in my current job; I'll never find something comparable." Or, "There just aren't any jobs where I live." Or, "I've put too much time into this company (or career or industry)."
Or, "I don't have what it takes to start my own business."
All those things are true -- if you let them be true.
You can do something else. You can do lots of something "elses."
You just have to believe -- and trust that your creativity, perseverance, and effort will take you to new, happier, and more fulfilling places. Thousands of people start their own businesses ever year. The only difference between you and them? They decided to take the chance. They decided to bet on themselves.
They decided that life's too short to just stay where they are instead of doing everything possible to live a better life.
11. You're tired of someone else limiting your future.
Work for a salary and no matter how well you perform, you can only make that salary. Work for someone else and you can only earn what it's decided you're "worth."
Work for yourself and your earnings are only limited by your creativity, drive, perseverance, and talent.
Money isn't everything -- but if you have to work, don't you want that work to pay off to the greatest extent possible? Life's too short to have your financial future determined by other people.
Go out and find out what you're really worth--both financially and in your ability to make a difference in other people's lives.