Ten Signs You Should Be Working For Yourself

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Dear Liz,

I must be having a mid-life crisis, because I’m restless and unsatisfied. It’s been this way for over a year. I got promoted at work in 2017 and I should be over the moon about it, but I’m not.

My new job is just a higher-level version of my old job. Nothing else has changed. I got a pay raise and I’m grateful for that, but the extra money in my paycheck is insignificant.

I can’t blame my boss for my unhappiness at work. He’s a good guy. He cares a lot more about the business than I do. He cares about his job more than anything else in his life.

I feel stuck and stymied. I have a lot of ideas for ways to improve my company but nobody really wants to hear them. My company relies on me, but they also discount everything I tell them.

My boss’s boss “Arnie,” our VP, says “Listen to Charla – she knows the customers better than anyone! She should be CEO. We’d all make a lot more money if she was.” Then he laughs like he just told the best joke in the world.

The thing is, Arnie is right. The company would be doing better than it is if I had more power to make changes. That’s not arrogance, Liz — it’s true.

I often feel like the reason I’m so muzzled here is that they know I have good ideas for improving the business, and nobody wants to admit it. I’m not an executive. I don’t go to senior staff meetings, but every VP comes out of those meetings and asks my advice about how to implement their plans.

Do I need a career change? Where would I start that investigation? What’s broken in my career, and how do I fix it?

Thanks Liz!



Dear Charla,

We never know when we are going to get a signal that says “It’s time for a change!”

You are getting one of those signals right now. Nothing is broken in your career, but you are at a turning point.

You can start a job search and find a better job, but the question to mull over is “Will any new job keep me happy for long?”

Many people get to your stage of a career and realize that they won’t reach their intellectual, financial or philosophical goals working for someone else. They realize that they need to work for themselves. They have creative ideas they’re aching to try out and wisdom they want to share. They know that a lot of leaders could use their help.

Why should they pick one leader to work for, when they could work with lots of clients?

Here are ten signs you would be happier working for yourself, too:

1) You have ideas you want to put into practice, but your managers don’t want to go through the effort of changing things. They love your ideas, but they won’t take Step One to make your ideas come true.

2) You keep a lot of things to yourself at work, because you don’t want to upset the status quo.

3) You daydream about making decisions your current job doesn’t allow you to make.

4) No matter how productive you are at work or how much money you generate for your employer, you’re going to be lucky to get a three or four percent pay increase every year. That’s assuming you keep your job as your salary goes up.

5) Your customers tell you “You are truly an expert!” but nobody in your organization seems to view you as an expert — not in any way that matters, at least.

6) You struggle to get your senior leaders’ attention even though you are among the most credible and competent people on your team. They can’t see your brilliance, because they are too close to it. They take it (and you) for granted.

7) You get asked to speak at conferences, but your boss says “Nah, that’s not important. We need you here, at your desk.”

8) You don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel in your current organization. You don’t see things changing such that you would have more latitude, more power to make decisions or more flexibility in your schedule and responsibilities.

9) People close to you tell you “Why are you killing yourself to make those people rich? Why don’t you make yourself rich?”

10) In your body, you know that it’s time to step out on your own.

You can take your time planning the launch of an independent consulting business, or you can join with a group of consultants who are already up and running.

You can take some time to think about what you want next in your life and career, and what you want over the long term.

The world is changing fast. Full-time employment is shrinking, like the glaciers. You are an independent economic unit whether you work for someone else or work for yourself. It’s your company, either way. Your career is a business, no different from any other business.

Why not run the business called Charla’s Career the way you want to — answering to your clients, instead of one insecure boss?

Food for thought!

All the best,


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  • This is ME !!!
    The 10 items listed describe me to an absolute T (except #4- I have not had a salary increase in the past 12 years). I have found ways to save my company over $500,000/year and they will not even give me 15 minutes to show them. I have ordered Liz’s course on consulting and would truly like to work with an established firm first. But after 32 years in an at anatomical pathology, I feel I am ready to go!

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