When to Quit a Job, and When to Hang On… if you can.

A couple years ago, I worked for a wonderful smaller local company. After a year and half, it seemed there was nowhere further to go. And… there was no further income to be made. If the pay was good to start, that might not be a bad thing, but the pay was rather ho hum.

It took me a little time of quiet reflection to determine that if I was not going to be able to add aspects to the job that I enjoyed and was good at… and that I was only ever going to be able to do the job as it was described, that I needed to make more money doing it.

As nobody there ever got raises, I knew I had to look elsewhere. I had the option, as I saw it, to either do what I love or make an income, but making an come doing what I loved seemed out of reach. I took a position with a local courier company. I was immediately making 150% of my previous wages. Within a month, I had a $1 an hour raise.

I was not doing work I loved. But I was making decent money. And again, I had thought I couldn’t have both.

Quickly after I began tat job, I realized I was not going to be able to physically continue doing it for very long. Carrying packages that were bigger than me was not the issue. It was the getting in and out of the vehicle a hundred times a day. I’m 5’3”… and I was pulling myself up into the vehicle by the handrail. My shoulders and back and knees were always sore.

Always.

After a particularly grueling week in an area that had no restrooms available, and getting back to the station in pain from holding my bladder, I decided I had to do something else. The income was nice, but I needed to do something that I enjoyed doing even if it mean a pay cut.

So, I created my perfect job. Stuff I liked to do. Stuff I was good at. I am a good thinker. I am very creative. And I am a good researcher. I wrote down all the things I could do and enjoy and determined that it was an assistant to someone who needed to create and maintain an online presence but didn’t have time.

I then made a list f professions that included these folks and then I listed the people I knew in those professions. I contacted the first one on the list, made an appointment to meet and pitched my idea. Hired.

I would be an independent contractor and work part time and from home. It was perfect.

For a while.

When I negotiated my salary, it was based on minimum down hours (travel time) and cost in vehicle wear and tear. I could do my work when I do my best work, which varies.

My boss/client (depending on which one of you asked) wanted me in the office a coupe times week to attend meetings. More downtime. I now had to get the work done in less active hours. Which of course, didn’t work. So, I just did more hours. For the same pay. Then was asked to do more…. more hours, same pay.

During all this, I had been working out my own business goals and objectives. Niching down, as they say. 

And then I took a trip to see a friend across the country and upon my return saw that my job had basically been given to another person. My employment parameters were in a state of constant flux and they were shifting into areas I didn’t enjoy. They also required me to be at the office even more often.

I was becoming more and more unhappy. I was not doing creative work. My tasks required less and less thought. On top of that, with the hours I was logging, I was making less than the job I had left due to lack of pay. 

I had no job satisfaction. I wasn’t doing work I enjoyed and I rarely was able to a task through to completion because my client/boss had bright shiny object syndrome and would have me off on another task… and then another.

I would also get texts or emails at al hours, adding to or clarifying or moving up the priority of a project and my personal business projects would be interrupted.

I am a type of a person that likes to really delve into a project. Wallow in it. Every time I had to find presentable clothes, drive into the office, sit through a meeting, head home and try to continue on whatever project I had just been given, the few was hard to find.

To be on my own project and be interrupted by some menial task by my boss/client and then try to get back into it… was torture.

Part of my new and developing obligations was to set up meetings. However, when i would, my client was late and not prepared. These were meetings with people I would have an ongoing relationship with and so I felt very disrespected and disrespectful of my contacts.

My client knew I had personal interests. Among those were my business project, several ideas for podcasts, and interviewing local business people. After keeping me and our connection waiting for 2 hours, and arriving unprepared, I mentioned that during my wait, I had met a few people that I thought would be fun to interview for my podcast and vlog.

My client expressed concern that my podcast (something I had been ‘starting’ for over 4 years), might be a conflict of interest.

To say the relationship was becoming quite strained quite quickly, would be quite an understatement.

I stuck with the job for a while after I had crunched the numbers and saw the peanut salary I was making for work I didn’t enjoy. I finally offered the boss/client a 2 week notice whereby I could go part time. My goal was to put those hours into my own business.

I was relieved when my client allowed me to just go with no further obligation.

I didn’t realize how relieved I was for a day or two, after I had deleted all the files that had been bogging my computer down.

Being able to concentrate on my business and not be interrupted by ‘squirrel’, was amazing. In 2 days I was able to get more work done than I had been able to in the several months prior.

As I started working on my ideas, they became clearer and I was able to see even more of the bigger picture. The big picture was something I had missed seeing with my former client.

I think it is a great idea to hold onto a job while you flesh out and build your personal business… if you can. Unfortunately, sometimes you just can’t.

If you can create a position where you can encompass some of the research and learning curve you’ll need later, so much the better.

However, you may just be doing a job that pays the bills until your business gets off the ground and has an income that can sustain you.

There is no hard and fast rule that you have to adhere to. It depends on what other income you have personally or into the household. If you’ve got savings. I had both.

If you need a little encouragement to either stay with a ob or leave it, let me know. I can do either one… but give me a head’s up which way you want me to nudge.