Chances are if you’re opened this post to read, you’re probably thinking about leaving your job, but are scared to actually do it.
I want to mention though that I’m referring to those people in this post who want to leave their corporate job for good, and start their own business and struggle to make it thrive; not those who want to leave one job to get into another job.
Let’s break down the three top fears that usually hold these ambitious people back from coming out of the full-time employment that they’re in, in order to fulfill their dream of starting a venture of their own.
The Fear of Being Judged
Being scared of what everyone around you would think of your decision is the greatest fear in this situation. All of a sudden, when you are considering pulling the plug, you get hyper aware of everyone’s opinions.
In the present day moment, it’s really hard to let the fear of judgment go. But if you have already made up your mind, you need to overcome this fear. Think back on elementary school or high school, and think about all the things that you didn’t do because you were scared of what other people thought. Now when you look back on it, you’re probably like, “Oh my goodness, I wish I did XXX… But too bad I didn’t, because at that time, I was so insecure that I couldn’t see past that.” This moment in your life is exactly the same. Five or six years from now, you’re going to look back and wish that you quit sooner, and that you didn’t hold yourself back because you were scared of what your boss thought.
Another thing you can think about to overcome the fear is how you perceive other people who have taken the leap. If you have immense admiration and respect for people who have done that, you can take some inspiration from them to build up the courage in you. If you admire and look up to these people, think that other people are going to look up to you as well when you pull the plug and follow your intuition to do the things that you want to do. This way you’ll realize that the thought of everybody judging you in a negative way when you leave your corporate job is probably wrong. There will probably be a handful of people who would get inspired by you and would want to take that leap as well, that is, they would want to be in your position.
Losing Job Security
The second fear that might be going through your mind is that of losing job security. To be frank and honest, this fear is quite valid. It’s actually a really common one that a lot of people face when thinking about quitting their jobs. However, often times, this specific fear stems from our own fear of lack of control and lack of clarity in life. As humans, since we’re so solution-oriented, when we are paralyzed with fear, it’s hard for us to make good decisions without blowing the consequences and risks out of proportion. That’s why it is important to overcome this fear as well, if you want to quit your day job.
Let’s do an exercise. Make two columns on a sheet of paper (or an Excel sheet, whatever). On one side you’ve got risk, and on the other side you’ve got solution. Start writing the risks you fear and thinking about how to solve them one by one. For instance, one big fear almost anybody wanting to quit their job would have is running out of money and not having enough funds left to pay your bills, let alone to invest in starting a business and giving it the initial boost. A solution to this could be to decide to save a certain amount every month, until the date when you target to resign. You could also think of potentially taking up a less stressful transition job, so you can spend more time on your business.
So start writing all the risks that you can think of, and go through the same process of thinking of the solution. At the end of the day, what you really want to ask yourself is are you going to die, starve or be homeless if you quit your job? If your answer is no, then I’m pretty sure you’re going to have a solution. By doing this exercise, you’ll realize that you probably just have to be willing to make certain sacrifices if necessary, to make the big vision for yourself actually happen. Ask yourself if there are any sacrifices that you can make in order to balance out the risks involved in quitting your job.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy
The third and last fear is being afraid that you’re going to put everything you’ve done, to waste. In other words, saying to yourself, “Oh, I’ve already gone this far. I’ve already invested in all these trainings. I went to school for this. I held up my career for so many years for this…” All the time, money and energy that have invested in something in the past is hard to let go. This is what economists like to call the “sunk cost fallacy”.
The sunk cost fallacy is the idea that an organization, or in this case, a person, is likely continue a project if they have invested a lot of time, money, or effort in it, even when continuing is not the best thing to do.
To overcome this fear, ask yourself, even though you have invested so much of your time, money and energy into something, is it really worth investing even more into it? Or is your time going to be better spent by actually cutting your losses and doing something else with it now on?
As humans, we like to avoid failure. The issue with sunk-cost fallacy is that we believe that if we actually abandon our original investment, it’s basically like waving a white flag saying that we failed. And we hate failure. But, the smart decision is that you have to recognize that the past is the past. Everything that you’ve done or everything that you’ve spent on, is already a sunk cost. It’s nowhere to be recovered. However, what you can change is your future. So, if you are given the opportunity today to change your future, why are you spending your time looking at methods that clearly don’t work from the past?
To conclude, I know that it’s not an easy decision to leave the nine to five, but trust me, it’s a phase in your life and it will pass. You just have to decide and commit to make that decision.