There are several lessons to be learned from the coronavirus pandemic. One of the most impactful, in my opinion, is that it’s never good to take things for granted. When you take things, people, or situations for granted — assuming they’ll always be there, no matter what — you devalue them. Then when they’re gone, it’s a blow that’s hard to recover from.
Time to Reflect
Large numbers of employees found that out last year as they were laid off from what they considered permanent, full-time employment. Many were suddenly left without any work to do, while others had to regroup and continue to produce results while working from home. This situation gave lots of employees good reason to pause and consider how they spend their time and what they do for a living.
Many workers took this opportunity to start side gigs, little businesses that brought in extra income and kept them occupied while they were laid off. In some cases, these side gigs grew substantially, especially if they filled a need brought on by the pandemic. Now, with many offices going back to business as usual, those with side gigs are wondering what to do with them. Is now the right time to switch gears and make the side gig permanent?
Considering a Career Change
It can be challenging to figure out the right time to change jobs or leave a full-time career, especially when you’re considering starting an entirely new one. If you’re in this position, read on. We’ve put together a list of questions to help you decide whether it’s time to quit your full-time job and make a career change.
- Is your full-time job still interesting and challenging? If you find yourself dreading each morning because you’re completely bored with the work you do, it’s probably time for some kind of change. Whether you look for another full-time job or take this opportunity to start a new business, having work that’s interesting and challenging makes the day go faster. Sometimes work doesn’t even feel like work.
It’s important to distinguish between bored and having nothing to do. Yes, having nothing to do is quite boring. But you can also be completely swamped with to-do items and still be bored out of your mind. Being bored is more of a mental state than a workload issue. If you’re bored with your current work, it’s probably time for some kind of change.
- Do you have something else in mind? It’s always good to have a tree to jump into before you jump out of the one you’re in — unless you have a good safety net. Otherwise, you may get hurt. If there are other opportunities within your company, it might be time to explore those. If you have a side gig, that’s also a viable route to consider. You might try making a list of everything that sounds more interesting and fulfilling than what you’re currently doing. Then evaluate each one individually.
- If you already have a side gig, is it making money? If you already have something going on the side, the chances are good that you started doing it because it interests you or because you saw a good opportunity to tap into an unfilled niche. If you’ve already laid a lot of the groundwork and have a side gig that’s bringing in money, that’s something to consider. What is the upside potential there if you had the chance to take it full-time? Could you put together a business plan for that?
- Are you filling a need that you anticipate will be around for a while? The pandemic has pointed out the need for products and services that either weren’t around or weren’t being fully utilized until circumstances changed. Take Zoom, for instance. It was founded in 2011, but most Americans had never heard of it until 2020, when it became one of the most-used methods of conducting business and maintaining personal relationships in the country. Now that people are used to video conferencing, it’s likely that this technology will continue to be used as businesses reopen and many transition to permanent work-from-home status. What niche does your product or service fill? Will there continue to be a need for it in the future?
- Do you have what it takes to start and run a business? Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. It can be a tough road, and those who succeed have guts, perseverance, and a dedicated belief in themselves and what they’re doing. These traits don’t have to be ingrained in you from birth. They can be learned, and there are lots of resources available to help budding entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. Tap into those resources and know that you’re not alone in your journey.
- How badly do you want it? This final question is one to ponder closely. How badly do you want out of your current situation? How badly do you want to make a change? And how badly do you want to start something new? Sometimes the fear of staying overcomes the fear of taking a chance on something new. Sheer grit and determination often win out. If you feel like the time is right for change, seize it and don’t look back.
Speaking from Experience
Having started several businesses myself, I know how hard it can be. But I also know how exciting and fulfilling it is to see your “baby” grow and become a thriving enterprise that provides a product or service that people are looking for.
Everything good in my life is here because I was willing to take a chance. If I can do it, you can too.