7 Signs You Are Ready For A Work-Life Pivot

There are company and life pivots, but what about a work-life pivot?

Last week, I hosted 10+ Navy Seals as they consider their options as they transition out of the military. Most have been serving us for 15-20 years. They have worked within a structured environment yet trained to operate in small teams. They are clearly approaching a work-life pivot.

A work-life pivot is more than just a new job.

Each of us is responsible for managing our career, and if you are taking a proactive approach to this task, you will undoubtedly be making a few job pivots. Each one of these changes in direction can be more than just the same job with more money over in company B instead of company A. Not a week goes by that I am not sitting with someone that is trying to figure out what they want to do next.

Some of these are entrepreneurs considering a startup. This is definitely a work-life pivot as the impact this has on the founder, their family and friends is tremendous. Some are like the Navy Seals who are abandoning their structured environment for something completely foreign to them. These men can go to a small company and play an undefined but key role. Or they can join a larger company with a very defined role. This is a work-life pivot.

For the rest of us not confronted with such a big pressure point, you may be wondering if a work-life pivot is in our future. Not sure if this is you?

Don’t despair; here are seven signs that you are ready for a work-life pivot:

  1. Waking Up Is a BIG Chore. Yes, Mondays suck – I get it. But do you wake up every morning dreading the day in front of you? This is a very clear sign and I strongly encourage you to find a way out of this gig.
  2. Your Work Day Is Spent Watching The Clock. Again, some days do drag but you should be in a situation where you actually enjoy the job you do. This may seem foreign to some of you, but I can share without hesitation that I have loved every job for long periods of time. I have never watched the clock.
  3. You Spend More Brain Time On Your Side Project. I love side projects. It keeps my brain healthy. But if you are compulsively thinking about it all day, it is time to move on from your day job. Maybe it is time to move the side project to your full time activity.
  4. You Have Trouble Sleeping. One of the more obvious signs, but what I want you to evaluate is when you are not sleeping (but in your bed) what are you thinking about? If it is the excitement or pressure of your job that is normal. If the thoughts are about your boss, the company or a general negative reaction to the current job, you might want to uncover the source of that emotion.
  5. You Are Barking At People You Love. I have done this too many times. And every time it comes back to frustration with my work life.
  6. You Feel Professionally Unsatisfied. I mean really dissatisfied. As in, my skills, experience and primary motivation to serve the job is absent. Life it too darn short to live like this. Time to make the change.
  7. You Are Simply Doing It For The Money. There are a few who can operate like this every day. It is not me and I feel strongly that this is not most of your fellow INC readers. Don’t get me wrong, I like money as much as the next guy, it is just not my long-term primary goal. Be honest with yourself and ask that guy in the mirror, “Why am I doing this job”?

If you are seeing one or more of these signs, do yourself a favor and start talking to friends, peers, or family about the signs and ask them if they are seeing them too. Validation from others is the last sign you need to make a change.

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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