In my work with corporate clients who want to leave their job to start a business, I often make reference to a loathing scale.
This is a quick indicator of how critical it is to make short-term plans to leave a job, versus a much longer side-hustle path.
Imagine a ruler from 1-10. One is the low end, and ten is the high end.
The chill range: 1-4
In the chill range, you may not be in the best possible job for your skills, but there are a lot of things you like about it. You can comfortably see staying in your job for 1-2 years as you slowly work on your business.
The danger of the chill range is that, well, it is chill. You may be lulled into staying somewhere comfortable for many years if not given enough incentive to change your situation.
The angst range: 5-8
There are a lot of things that bother you in the angst range. You may not like your job. Or the company culture. Perhaps you have a really bad boss. Or you are killing yourself working extra hours and it is eating into family or social time.
Physically, you notice your energy goes up and down. You have some high energy good days when you get stuff done, but overall you feel from slightly annoyed to highly stressed when you head to the office.
In this range, you want to take your side hustle plans seriously, since small changes in your job can push you from the angst to the run screaming stage.
The run screaming range: 9-10
People in the run screaming range feel physically sick walking into their office building. Symptoms include low energy, depression, high blood pressure, frequent respiratory illnesses or other stress-related symptoms.
It is very difficult to work on a side hustle in this range, since you are either so exhausted or so angry that your best creative work doesn’t flow.
Obviously, this is not a scientific test, so you will need to do a lot of reflection to see which range feels the most true for you.
Jump and the floor will appear
I am not a fan of making quick decisions when it comes to quitting your job. As Sonia Simone recently said, instead of “jump and the net will appear,” it is often “jump and the floor will appear.”
But if you find yourself on the high end of the loathing scale, chances are you will either shut down physically (by getting really sick), throw red staplers in a rage while screaming obscenities in the middle of a company meeting (otherwise known as losing your mind) or get yourself fired (the essential self is very effective at inciting poor performance if it feels under attack or threatened).
Even if you are planning on starting a business in the long run, you may want to take an interim step by changing jobs or companies if you are not in a financial place where you are able to earn your full income yet in your new business.
As I said in my book, hating your job intensely is not a business plan.
The body doesn’t lie. Pay attention to the loathing scale.