YOU’RE limping towards the New Year, tired from a stupefying combination of modern demands (kids, jobs, parents, all of the above), and you’re starting to feel like all of your hard work is, frankly, for little reward.
Increasingly peevish with your boss, you consider tossing it in. Its what that girl from accounts did, the really untalented one, and you hear shes doing great now. Really making a killing from her adventure balloon hire company she set up on a whim, the one that is now 23 of the top 100 things to do in Newcastle on TripAdvisor.
Imagine that. Being your own boss.
If this inner monologue sounds familiar (especially at this time of year) then meet Will Strange, the 27-year-old founder of Sports Performance Technology for athletes, who was in a similar position four years ago.
By the age of 23, Mr Strange was working as a business development manager in construction, having recently migrated from a career in real estate.
He was dissatisfied, however, with the way things were done.
I realised that the crux of the problem was the same as I had experienced in real estate, now it was just in a different industry, he noted.
I didnt see why things should be done a certain way just because that was the way they had always been done in the past. I guess I was always one of those people who would challenge the status quo.
Mr Strange decided he was better suited to running his own business, so, following a hunch, he quit his job to start his own Underwear Three65 business which ships fresh underwear to mens doors every three months.
I was 23, I didnt have a family or kids or a mortgage and I had the confidence, and I guess stubbornness, to be my own boss, Mr Strange said.
But things were tough. Much tougher than he thought they would be. Mr Strange had to live at home and work without earning while the business was taking off.
When you start your own business, you dont realise how much has been done for you in the past when you worked for a big company, Mr Strange said.
All of a sudden you have to do your own marketing, letterheads, logos and all these things that were previously done for you.
In the end, Mr Strange sold his underwear business for a decent sum, started a second business, his current Sports Performance Technology GPS devices, and is now in a healthy fiscal position.
But it took years.
Looking back, there is maybe an argument for staying in my job a bit longer while I started up the business, he said.
But then you could also argue that having to make it work, having no other income, was part of my desire to make it work, it meant I was fully invested.
Mr Strange said the one thing that kept him going was his own motivation.
Make sure its a passion because in the early days youre going to work as if you have three jobs, but get paid as if you have none, he said.
CHECK IN WITH YOURSELF
Pedro Diaz, who founded the Mental Health Recovery Institute, has been working with people in the grip of existential crises for three decades.
He said these kinds of despairing feelings, that urgent need for drastic change, appear to come on quickly but are actually months, sometimes years, in gestation.
If you dont take time regularly throughout the week perhaps every day to check in with yourself, to reflect on your life, to have some kind of inner peace then these tensions will build up and you will end up having some sort of crisis, he said.
If youre a person who is able to reflect on a regular basis, who takes time to meditate or walk or do something that connects you with nature then when problems arise you will be in a good place to deal with them, and you will have the tools.
Mr Diaz cautioned against acting impulsively in times of high anxiety, as feelings can be very whimsical.
Were so obsessed with our emotions, he said. We think that if we feel something that its real, but feelings can be misleading and we need to ensure were guided by more than that.
I would advise people to seek out someone to talk to, to make sure they were making the right decision. Often it doesnt have to be a big change, as small changes in your life can make a big difference.
Director of careers coaching business Nourish, Sally-Anne Blanshard, advises unhappy workers to think before they leap.
Before you start stabbing around at a possible future, start to think about what you really want, she said.
You need to internalise it first and do some reflecting. That is, work out what you stand for, what your values are, whether that is being met at work.
Just say youre feeling lost, well maybe you need to look at who you are now. So many experiences change us and you may be a very different person than when you began your career.
Ms Blanshard advises people to seek some sort of independent advice, rather than relying on the well-meaning instruction of friends.
Choose your counsel wisely, as your best mates just want to see you do well and may not be able to point out certain patterns, Ms Blanshard said.
Johanna Leggatt is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist. Follow her at @johannaleggatt
Is it ever okay to quit your job on the spot? WSJ's Sue Shellenbarger joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero to discuss reasoning behind why many are choosing to 'quit' on the spot and not look back. Photo: iStock