An extract from Michelle’s Career Leap book is featured in this article from MamaMia.
I once worked with a person who knew, before he left corporate, that he was going to set up a consulting firm. So he used every spare minute he had to get ready.
He set up his brand, website, value proposition, infrastructure — everything he needed to make the leap.
He did this while working full time and keeping his work commitments ticking along, and his boss knew about it. In fact, once he left the company his former boss hired him to do consulting work.
But it doesn’t always play out like that. Whether or not you tell your boss you are planning on leaving will obviously depend on the type of relationship you have with them and whether you think they’ll support you or try to sabotage your efforts.
They may be suspicious of your activity, wondering what you are doing on company time. If there’s any potential for a conflict of interest or any concern that your new work might compete — even in a small way — with what you do currently, then be very careful about what you say and do.
Quite often in sales, investment banking and areas involving proprietary knowledge, employees are given their marching orders as soon as they leave for a competitor or to go out on their own.
There is no right or wrong here. You’ve got to use your intuition, and your understanding of the relationship and work context, and be realistic about what could happen. It may help to seek advice from a trusted advisor or colleague who knows your work environment.
All or nothing
Your other option is to leave your current job before you have landed your leap. Some people will see this as risky: ‘Why would you throw in a good job when you have no certainty of your next destination?’
Well, nothing is certain these days in the world of careers — you know that! Like it or not, changing careers involves a level of risk. This is about assessing your own level of comfort with risk.
Then again, some people argue that it’s much easier to get another job while you are still in a job, but that simply isn’t true.
If you’re not tied down to a job, then you have the flexibility to start whenever you need to (no notice required). This can be a big advantage if an organisation needs help pronto.
If you decide to quit work to devote yourself full time to your leap, then you will have ample time to focus on landing well. Without the safety net of a current job, your drive to make the leap happen increases. There’s nothing more motivating than the need to earn money to pay the rent or mortgage.
Be careful, however, not to put yourself in a situation where you’ll make hasty choices or silly mistakes because of this pressure.
And remember, it’s a great idea to have a cash reserve to sustain you while you are in transition mode.