Last night I got a phone call and an email from two completely separate friends telling me about how they’re looking to quit their jobs. Both are in totally different circumstances. One has spent the last few years building an education targeted at a specific career path. The other is involved in a family business that he’s no longer interested in running.

The common thread between them:

Their current job is killing them. (their words not mine)

Maybe you’re in a similar situation. So what do you do now? The first thing to do is make sure you’re serious about making the big change. There’s no turning back. There’s no hedging.

If you’re going to go for it, then really do it. Don’t ease your way in. Jump out of the plane and figure out how to build the parachute on the way down.

Don’t jump from one painful existence to another. If deep down you’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, then go for it. The longer you wait the harder it will be. If you’ve always wanted to work for a particularly awesome company then do it. There’s no better time than now.

Make sure you’re not trying to ride the current startup wave. The Social Network was an awesome movie but like the latest weight loss pill TV commercial, results are not typical. When I quit 18 months ago it was the middle of a recession, things couldn’t have looked much worse. My dad was concerned for my mental health. But I knew if under those conditions I still felt that strongly about it then it was the right thing to do.

Make sure your wife/girlfriend is a full partner. She will probably suffer most from your dramatic career change. Present worst case scenarios up front and make sure you are both on board. Too many relationships are broken under the strain. Remember your family is way more important than your career.

Don’t be motivated by money. If you pick something overly motivated by money you’ll be back in the same unsatisfying position in 6-months.  Write down the top ten problems you’d like to solve if someone would pay you to do it and then go build a company around one of them, or find a company doing a good job at one of them and join the team.

Start doing something TODAY. Don’t wait until after the New Year. Write down a plan, brainstorm ideas, set some goals, call a friend, just do something. You’d be surprised how far ahead ‘doing something’ is of ‘doing nothing’.

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