You have a personal ambition, dream or big idea that you’re working on before, after and sometimes during work to make it happen. There is nothing more frustrating than enduring a day job that you no longer have any interest in. It seems pointless. It saps your energy and anything that could possibly provoke you, probably will. In short, it would be better for everyone if you just quit… right?
Oh except the small matter of bills, mortgage, credit cards, car payments and child care. Hmm, perhaps there’s another way. For some the next sentence will feel like a banshee screaming into their very soul:
“You could simply hand in your resignation and invest every waking moment into that big idea that just refuses to leave your head or your heart.”
For those who haven’t fainted after reading that, there’s a less dramatic option – ride it out. Ride it out with a plan.
If you find yourself caught between the rock of a regular income and the hard place of pursuing your big idea; here are a few tips that may help this transition period feel less like purgatory and more like a stairway to heaven.
They give you money and you do the work! That’s the deal. Recognise that you are using your skills, knowledge and experience to work for an organisation or individual who rewards with a wage. That’s it. That’s the truth. Accept it without feeling too emotional about it. Don’t expect hugs or kisses. This is often difficult when you joined a business to contribute to its values and passions, but along the way those have disappeared. That’s not your fault and it’s not theirs. Think like this: “I simply give them my skills for a number of hours a day and they pay me for those hours”. It will also feel less like a burden if you give yourself a definite leaving date – three months, twelve months or eighteen months away.
Stop trying to come up with excuses not to go to work. Your day job can do a lot for you. Firstly, it does help you pay your bills today, and chances are it’s a more established brand than your own big idea. It can teach you a lot about running systems, collaborating with clients and suppliers, and working in teams. Use the time you have left to learn more about your colleagues. “What does the guy with the retro glasses do? What software do they use to manage the pay roll? How do they plan holiday cover?” Seeing the day job as an opportunity to learn about running a business might give you a new passion for it.
It’s a fancy way of saying making the most of what you’ve got. As well as it being your secret school for learning business insights, there may be more overt training opportunities open to you. Whether its direct training related to your job or other areas that you might be interested in (something to support your big idea perhaps), why not see if you can get tooled up with more skills and competencies. This could be class room based, online tutorials, being part of a new project or a career coach. Remember all those personal development sessions you were too busy to do? Now is the time. All of these will add to your CV and competence.
Prepare for it.
Your day job is as close to a gift horse as you will get. One that frustrates and undervalues your full potential but a gift horse nonetheless. So while you have that gift, save a bit of money to carry you over the first few months after you quit. It does mean that you will need to be more disciplined with your spending (no more impulse buying of shoes) and setting out a budget for yourself. If you work at it diligently for three months, it will begin to feel easier. It will also help you budget for your big idea.
You want to leave now but are you prepared? You’ve cut out the indulgent restaurant dinners and shopping sprees, so you will find you have a few extra evenings on your hands. It’s now time to take stock of everything you need to get your big idea off the ground. This way, on the day you walk out of your day job you will have a clear action plan of what you need to do. Could you do anything about the big idea now? Register the company name and website? Write a business map or practice your pitch? Find a graphic designer? Start networking? With clear time-scales you can plan everything you need to get you set up in advance.
Find a friend who is as invested in your big idea as you are to keep you motivated. Better yet, get a Coach or mentor who will help keep you on track. The likelihood is that without this help you will get bogged down in the demands of your day job – trust your boss to always have an urgent, last minute task up their sleeve. The best way to do this is to have someone else (other than yourself) hold you to your word… “I will start my big idea in six months and here’s what I need to do to get there”. A good Coach will assist you to prioritise, structure and action your big idea while you lend your skills to your day job.
Remember that your day job has a purpose. It helps you pay for the things you need today. However, it is merely a finite resource. You may get a pay rise, but you don’t control how much. You might be getting a good commission, but to get great commission you’ll have to spend less time on your big idea, your family or whatever else makes you more happy than the day job.
If you are staying with your day job for a bit longer, we hope these tips have given you a ray of hope for the last few months of suffering your tiresome boss and soulless work. No offence, of course.