In this era of entrepreneurial evolution, it is common to find most people quitting their jobs to start up their own businesses. Virtually every motivational speaker you know has given a talk on ‘Becoming Your Own Boss’. I’m sure you’ve heard such talks where they tell you, “Paid employment is modern day slavery. If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to build it.”
Cluttered all over the internet are articles and exposés on “How To Quit Your 9-5”. But just like transitioning from childhood into adulthood, quitting your job is not as glamorous as it seems. None of this is really cast stone and the narrative may not be absolute. Leaving your job is a crucial decision you shouldn’t take lightly. It comes with its pros and cons. These are some of the questions you should ask yourself before taking that leap.
1. IS THE TIMING RIGHT?
It is unwise to throw in the towel just because you feel like. Quitting a job when you are next in line for a promotion would be shooting yourself in the leg. That promotion could mean an increase in your paycheck and you could do with a new job title on your resume. The experience and prestige acquired from that new role will be instrumental to the growth of your start-up. If there is an annual or holiday bonus lurking around the corner, you may want to hang in there for a while.
You must also ask yourself if you have acquired enough experience to run your own company. Do you have what it takes to thrive in the business world? It is advisable to understudy a similar brand before establishing yours and the best way to do that is through mentorship or employment. If you are leaving in search of a better job, you must evaluate your employment prospects. Do you have marketable skill set that will make another employer willing to take you on? If you’ve not updated your professional skills, hold off until you’ve built your employability skills.
2. CAN I AFFORD THIS?
When you quit your routine job, you will lose the rights to all privileges that come with the job. Most 9-5 jobs come with certain benefits, which is definitely something for the plus column. Think of the official car, accommodation, wardrobe allowance and the health insurance you are entitled to. You are also granted free access to company discounts, brand incentives, professional training and development, retirement funds, holiday bonuses, educational leave, and many others. Due to the nature of your job, you are also privileged to network with influencers in your industry who may not be easily accessible on a regular day. Can you afford to relinquish all these luxuries? Are you ready to start paying house rent and utility bills when you evacuate the company quarters?
3. DO YOU HAVE A PLAN B?
It’s easy to get caught up in the fantasy of becoming your own boss without evaluating the intricate details. Setting up your own start-up does not automatically translate to wealth and riches. Unlike a 9-5 job which comes with the certainty of a monthly paycheck, entrepreneurship does not offer such guarantee. There is no full-proof assurance of success, it could be a gateway to financial freedom and it could also be an absolute failure. Your profit margin may not be what you had anticipated and you could even stay for months without making a single dime.
Be realistic with your expectations and ask yourself if it is a risk you are willing to take. Are you ready for the reality of running a business? Do you have a plan B for when things do not turn out as expected? Quitting your 9-5 with no substantial career plan is a reckless banter which you may regret. You don’t have to quit your job before building your own establishment. You can decide to experiment with a prototype of the business you intend to venture into while you are still at your 9-5. You can pick up a side hustle, part-time or remote work to augment your finances until your work begins to pay off. Also ensure that you have some savings to fall back on the rainy days. While you are at that, also bear in mind that your plan may or may not work out.
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4. IS IT WORTH IT?
Ultimately, you would want to consider if the path you intend to toll is truly your call. Before you pull the plugs, take a moment to pause and think it over. Quitting your 9-5 job may not be the ultimate path to happiness as you have been made to think. Don’t be quick to join the bandwagon of entrepreneurs simply because everyone seems to be doing that. Being your own boss is not as luxurious as the media portrays it to be neither is a paid employment as horrible as projected by some motivational speakers. There are certain individuals naturally inclined for traditional jobs and they feel fulfilled doing their jobs. Don’t get me wrong, it is awesome that we are beginning to inculcate the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and remote work.
However, that should not be done at the expense of individuals who are comfortable with their basic 9-5 jobs. It is unfair to stigmatize such individuals. I often wonder, “If everyone becomes an entrepreneur who then becomes the employee since no one is willing to work under anyone?” We can’t all be entrepreneurs. Believe it or not, the success of every business organization is dependent on the equal efforts and contributions of both the employer and the employees. Inasmuch as we need startups to boost the economy, we also need individuals who will be willing to serve and manage these businesses. No path is more valuable than the other.
Before you call it quits, ensure that you are on the right path. Do not be quick to jump the gun because everyone is doing it. Remember that you alone will bear the consequences of your actions and inaction. Live first for yourself before anyone else. Quitting your 9-5 job to become your own boss can be rewarding but it can also become a nightmare if don’t get it right.