5 signs you should be self employed

We all have different reasons for moving towards self employment.  For some, it’s a family situation (I envy all of you who are able to have a child and have that epiphany of “Dogonnit- I’m staying home with my child!”),  for some of us, a sudden layoff means we have to completely change directions, and for others being in a small town means that meaningful jobs are few and far between.

At the same time, there’s an internal need to leap out of the so-called safety boat called full time employment in favor of being self employed.  And those internal reasons are just as important to express.

1. You want more control over your time and your life.

It’s incredibly frustrating to work in an environment where you have little say over when you can take time off.  Scheduling a dentist appointment around a very important meeting that may or may not happen next week can turn into a complete nightmare.

I once had a boss who was so self absorbed and irresponsible that she would schedule meetings during the Employee Assistance Program’s free yoga classes.  Guess whose employees needed the yoga classes the most?

2. My work is no longer challenging.  It’s time to do something creative.

Look, just because you spent years training or in school for something it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to do it for the rest of you life.  I spent four years trying to get myself and other people all fired up over records management.  Nobody was falling for it.

I even tried to get creative with how we presented our training sessions.  I got shot down every time.  This was a big red flag that kept slapping me in the face.

3.  I spent X number of years helping other people realize their dreams.  Now I want to pursue mine.

I spent several years working to get some amazing organizations grant funding so they could carry out their programs and missions.  And I deserved the same consideration for my own life mission as well.

4.  I’m tired of working with negative people.

An atmosphere of negativity can not only use up your energy, it can destroy your self esteem.  If everyone around you hates their job, complains all of the time, and does virtually nothing to make things better, then you’re only learning to survive and wait for a paycheck to show up.

In my case, I was the negative person.  I hated my job, hated my boss, hated the government agency I worked for (and worried incessantly that we were going to get sanctioned by the Feds for poor stewardship of our federal money).  Not only was I surrounded by negative, fearful and downright angry people–I was one of them.

5. My job pays me a good salary, but I’m miserable doing it.  These days, if you even breathe the fact that you hate your job, you’ve quickly reminded that you should be happy just having a job.  That’s right- be happy that you’re miserable.  And all that attitude does is add to your frustration and guilt of being unhappy doing something you hate.  And that just prolongs the inevitable wall you’ll hit when you just can’t go on any longer.

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  1. Very interesting read! I just went back to the work force 4 months ago. Luckily I have a flexible job I love. Great list!

    • Oh, you’re so lucky having a flexible job. I think if I’d had just a little flexibility, things might have been better for me.

  2. That’s all me! Great post!!!

  3. Visiting from #commenthour — good for you to make the big jump!! As much as I would like to be more in charge of my time I’m the breadwinner and I love going to work everyday! I can’t decide which I like better – my own work or my day job!

    • I hear ya. I got pushed because my body just started breaking down and I was taking more sick leave than going to the office, so I had to admit that I just physically couldn’t take the pace any more.

      Otherwise, I would’ve kept on plugging on and hating every second of it. Sad, but I think that’s true.

  4. What a great list. I can relate to a couple of these for sure. It’s scary to make the jump….maybe. #commenthour

    • You said it: scary, terrifying, nerve wracking, panic inducing, doubt creating. The mental part was the hardest part for me. And I still have my panic days.

  5. Visiting from commenthour!
    Ro :)
    Have you had your Mom-ME Moment yet today?

  6. Wow, it sounds like I really really really need to look into becoming self employed! Thanks for the eyeopener! I’m just stopping by from Comment Hour! :)

  7. This is a great article. Love the idea of this blog. Came over from the SITS #comment hour.

  8. I dream of being an entrepreneur. Just need to figure out what my business will be! :)

  9. Interesting perspective. I love my job and my pet peeve is the constant complaining – I guess I think your reward for coming to work is you get paid. I find it really irritating and frustrating when people expect their job to be a social club/recreation center first and running a business second. I have to admit I’m suprised at your point of view on someone scheduling meetings during what I hope were business hours? I would say the EAP program shouldn’t be scheduling non-business activities during the middle of the work day.

    Of course I’d rather not work at all, but since I wasn’t born into a Hilton dynasty, that’s not going to happen haha!

    • The EAP program was designed to allow the employees to take an hour out of their day to relax and not work. We’d either take personal leave or it would be our lunch hour.

      Ideally, the HR department in agency wanted to compel bosses who were working their employees to death to allow them to take one hour of wellness. The plan would be to cut down on the number of sick and personal days people were taking as a result of the stress. And my boss just happened to be one of the people who were driving people to take the sick days, so she just perpetuated the problem.

      Compared with the other agencies, ours had a disproportionate amount of work hours lost to employees taking sick leave to exhaustion (including one coworker who had a heart attack at the office while I was there), so this was their solution to keep down the amount of work loss. And employee turnover.

  10. great read!! definitely agree with the negativity one. i currently work where everyone except for the upper management is negative, both in their professional life and personal life. it sure does a number on me sometimes, but i’m determined not to let them get to me.

    • It’s so hard to be in a negative environment. Even when I was watching my negativity, I felt like the culture was just dragging me down.

  11. I can definitely relate to almost all of the items on this list.
    Visiting from #commenthour

  12. Those are such good reminders, especially #4. Is it just me or do people seem more and more negative as time goes on. :)

    • I really think so, especially since the economy imploded.

      The hardest thing to admit to myself was that since I was being/ thinking negatively I was just drawing other negative people to me like a two story tall magnet. Man, working on your attitude ain’t easy. :(

  13. oh goodness do i hear you! i’ve been self-employed since 2007, and the years before that i had a love/hate relationship with my job. i was a teacher in a really rough school where the kids needed someone on their side. i loved teaching and i loved the kids that came through my classroom – even the challenging students. but i couldn’t abide by the grown-ups! too many teachers and administrators who didn’t care about kids, didn’t treat them like people and just wanted to work short hours and have lots of weeks off. After seven years of that, I was ageing like a politician and never able to relax. And now? I have a job that I would actually pay to do because I love it so much… and yet it pays my bills. Seriously awesome. :)

    (dropping by from commenthour – new to your blog but bookmarking!)

    • I hate that tug you have when there’s a part of your job that you just find so amazing and you know that the rest has to come with it.

      I loved doing conference breakout sessions with my job, but I had to talk to those poor people about records management for almost an hour at a time. It was so freakin’ hard to talk about something that’s more boring than watching paint dry.

      Now I get to give presentations about things I love, and I don’t feel like a snake oil salesman.

  14. Holy, holy! What fantastic timing in finding this blog. (Thanks, #commenthour!) I was laid off 10 months ago while on maternity leave – talk about adding stress to an already stressful existence! But I’d been miserable in my job for a long time and feeling like it was time for something different, something more… me. But, given the economy and the new baby to consider, I was too scared to jump ship. Now that I’ve already lost my job security, I’m able to consider SO MANY more career options than I would’ve while employed. It’s really freed up my thinking. So, while being unemployed is a very trying (financially and emotionally) thing, I’m hopeful that I’ll look back on this layoff in a few years as the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I definitely fit all five signs you’ve listed, and had just started thinking seriously about self-employment. Now, if only I could figure out what, exactly, to employ myself with! Will definitely be adding you to my reader!

    • MM, I”m working on some worksheets that will help people who haven’t decided what exactly they want to do on the site. Look for the tab in the coming weeks.

  15. Great post! If only it was easy to be self-employed… it takes some work, but in the end it’s worth it! It always makes me wonder how many people really would be out there in the workforce if they really thought it was a plausible option NOT to be…

    visiting from #commenthour

    • I hear you. It’s back breaking work. One of the reasons I wanted to blog about self employment was to get people taking and organized so it can become a more viable option for more people.

  16. I was living all 5 of those when I got sick. Cancer was the best thing that ever happened. Seriously. After being home with my family during treatment I realized what I wanted to spend my life doing, however long that was going to be and so, I am doing it!

    • I totally agree. In my case it took 2 staph infections, major depression, a kidney infection and ruined tooth enamel before I got the hint.

      • oh my god. I really was like the same. I used to be sick most of the time, anxiety, depression that ruined my health. Now I’m at home loving my job as a transcriptionist and most of all I have more room to do my other chores.

  17. Very inspiring. I have a flexible job in my field but it is totally unfulfilling. Thanks for motivating me to keep dreaming!

  18. I like my job. I don’t love it, but I do LIKE it. However, I’d prefer it to be more flexible and work from home a few days a week. Not sure I’m cut out to be self-employed, though.

    • Yeah, I think lots of people can thrive as employees. I wish more employers would build in some flexibility to make things more fulfilling for their employees.

  19. Stopping by from comment hour!

    I can identify with a lot of these, that’s why I chose to go to medical school. I think that the great thing about medicine is that in addition to helping others everyday, there is so much autonomy within the profession so you can call the shots depending on where you want to go with your practice :-)

  20. so excited to have a post like this to read and contemplate! I am in this box race.. i sit in a little cube all day and need a way to get out!

    thank you so much for sharing and congrats on being featured!

    • Thanks for stopping by. Getting featured was a total shock. And I’m glad you got something from the post.

  21. Great article. I can relate to so many of these points and am so glad I’m moving in the direction I am with a new company that allows me to be self-employed. It’s great to be in a place where what I do makes a difference again!
    Kathy Nicholls recently posted..Stop Waiting For Your Ship To Come In

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