13 signs that a change is due in your life.

Twice in my professional life, I have reacted poorly due to corporate frustration. Once, after the umpteenth phone call with a bureaucratic non-creative type, I hung up on her, slammed the phone down (no cell phones back then), and kicked a door so hard that I broke a toe or two. A few years later, completely exasperated with my peers’ inability to listen to my point-of-view (and he needed my product and staff), I stormed out of a meeting shouting obscenities about the company.

In hindsight, these were strong signals that my entrepreneur personality had overwhelmed my corporate personality.

Soon after the storming and shouting, I left that senior executive corporate job and never returned. That was over 15 years ago.

The funny thing is that I was an entrepreneur prior to those ill-fated gigs. How did I get here and why did I stay so long?

Just about all of you have been there. Feel lucky that there are usually no sharp objects within arms length when those moments wash over you. Looking for signals that your corporate days are soon to be in the rear-view mirror?

Here is a list of signals that a change is necessary:

  1. No ability to learn more – curiosity and the subsequent learning is a life long journey.
  2. Too much process to get things done – companies of a certain size require process. Don’t blame the company; these are critical to big company success.
  3. Can’t effectively network inside your company – Connecting with others is a basic human need and work is no exception. If you have to work too hard to find others like you . . .
  4. Little link between your job and impact on company – This is a big one for me and millennials (like how this old guy put himself in this club?). I have to have a mission and I have to see the impact.
  5. No life balance (limited time to work out, on call during weekends) – Look, I work 7 days a week on things I am passionate about and most of them are work related (blogging, writing, new biz advisory), but I still maintain balance with an ability to summon balance when I need.
  6. Vision is for analysts not for strategy – The bigger the company, the less your activity is tied to the company vision and typically the only time you see the vision discussed is on the annual video message from the CEO (who you have never met).
  7. Forced to adapt to their time – Ahh, the control aspect. See #5 as a cousin. Again, corporations need process to make the trains run on time.
  8. Forced to commute – for some jobs you have to be there. For most others there should be some flexibility. Some days I just need to work from home and get stuff done!
  9. Reviews that are not about performance but about saving money – I learned this the hard way when giving reviews and being forced to work within a fixed performance budget. Simply the wrong way to manage a team.
  10. Meetings to schedule another meeting – this topic has been written about so many times that I cant add anything new except to say its wrong and a really bad signal.
  11. You are topped out in terms of compensation – do good work and you should be compensated for it especially is you have a material impact on revenue or profit.
  12. Don’t get credit for your work – bad managers do bad things and kill moral. Bad managers are a sign that the company does not really care.
  13. You don’t want to work in a building with security guards – Post 9/11 every downtown city large scale building forced added security. I get it. I just don’t want to be in that club.

Look around and see if you can catch a few of these signals. If you feel more than five, you are ready for a change.

This article first appeared in INC.COM – find more of my articles there.