Your Start-up Life: Should I Quit My Dead-End Job?

Thursdays at the Huffington Post, Rana Florida, CEO of The Creative Class Group, shares her conversations with successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders about how they manage their businesses, personal lives, careers, and more. She also answers readers' questions about how they can optimize their lives. Send your questions about work, life, or relationships to

Hey Rana,

I've been stuck in a corporate job my entire adult life. We recently had a management change over and I HATE my new boss. I've been dreaming of opening up my own restaurant for years and cooking is my passion. I have a family with three small children and can't lose the income of a stable job. Do I keep suffering in my dead-end job or should I take a risk and venture out on my own?

Long Beach, California


You are not alone! While I had a few inspiring leaders, I hated the majority of my bosses (you know who you are!). One used to clock my lunch time and would call me and ask why I was gone for an extra 15 minutes. Another wanted to be my best friend and go to the bar with my friends and me. Another thought I needed to give her a fashion makeover and find her a husband. The reality is most people have no idea how to motivate a workforce and should not be in leadership positions.

Professor Wayne Hochwarter of the Florida State University College of Business has conducted a number of formal studies of toxic bosses. The Daily Mail revealed some of his findings:

  • 32 per cent of the employees he surveyed said their bosses had a "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" type personality
  • 29 per cent believed their boss would "throw them under a bus" to preserve his or her own job
  • 39 per cent of bosses failed to keep their promises

Unfortunately, the majority of us have been trapped in the 9-5 system since preschool. Society forces us to go to school, go to college, and get a job. Your income adjusts just enough to keep supporting your expanding lifestyle, so it is nearly impossible to break out of the prison cell without either a lot of risk or a lot of work.

So what to do? Do both! Don't put your family's livelihood at stake. Start that restaurant business on your off hours, evenings, weekends, whatever it takes. You can stay with the status quo, working 9 to 5, spending your evenings and weekends at the kids' sporting events and shopping at the mall, or you can work extra hard to create something that you genuinely care about and maybe even realize your life's ambition.

Photo credit: Flickr user Restaurant & Bar Design

Running your own business is more than a full time job anyhow, so get used to those hours. If you are serious about your dream, your family and friends will want to pitch in and lend you a hand.

Put together a professional business plan, assessing the competitive landscape, laying out the financials, and including an affordable, practical, marketing plan. Start out small, with just a few tables and a small menu, weekends and a couple of weeknights only, and see how it goes. Then assess your progress and follow up with a growth plan. As your business scales up, you can start to let go of the reins at your mind-numbing day job.