01/08/2013 13:56 BST | Updated 01/10/2013 06:12 BST

Take a Break Before It's Too Late and Get a New Professional Life


What's the point of work if it makes you miserable?

Yes, work pays the bills and allows to you lead a lifestyle, but how many of us can say "I'm genuinely happy with my life and career?"

Not many professionals it would seem.

According to recent research, the accounting profession were nearly at the top of the 'unhappiness list' - only those in financial services nudged them out of top spot.

The cause of this unhappiness? That old perennial issue - the work/life balance - or rather lack of it.

Sadly, it seems that relentless day-to-day professional pressures, combined with ever-longer hours and a gruelling commute, make Monday mornings the lowest point of the week for many.

Thankfully summer's here, which means a well-earned break, a much needed respite from the daily grind, and an opportunity to reflect on your career and ask, "Can I really carry on doing this until I retire ... or die?"

What's your answer to that question? "Yes?"

Then great, you've a career that's worth protecting.

However, once in your 40s or 50s, with 20-30 years of corporate slog behind you, your answers increasingly likely to be a big fat "No!"

Getting to this more 'mature' stage of corporate life will have required constant compromise, with money, status and progression being traded for your time, effort and dedication. But this routine can eventually lock you into living somebody else's life, as the gap between what you want from your job and what your job wants from you, becomes increasingly wider.

This lack of balance takes its toll.

With growing unhappiness at work comes greater unhappiness at home as relationships deteriorate with family and friends. Worse still, more stress and no exercise can lead to ill-health. Even the boredom that comes from being in an unfulfilling job can eventually translate into depression and excessive drinking.

So, once more, "Do you love what you're doing?" Don't fudge the answer. And take the time to reflect on these five questions:

1) Am I looking forward to work on Monday?

2) Does my job really use my talents and passions to the full or even partly?

3) What impact's my career had on my family and personal life so far? And what impact will it have in the future if things continue as they are?

4) Will my job allow me to do more of the things I enjoy over the next few years?

5) What will tomorrow be like if I keep on doing what I'm doing in the same way or in the same place?

For some, the answers will confirm that they're happy and fulfilled in their current job. For others, they will highlight the fact that they are stuck in a rut, perhaps in the wrong job, or perhaps that they should no longer be in a corporate environment at all.

If that's the case for you, it's time for a change.

If it's the 'corporate grind' that's causing the problem, now may be the moment to break away completely and create your own opportunity, setting up a business that allows you to follow your true dreams and aspirations. After all, it's pursuing a passion that will drive you forward and give you the extra push that's needed when the going gets tough, in a way that just doesn't happen when you're working for someone else.

So, if the prospect of facing the corporate grind for the next 20 years has lost its appeal, do something about it now.

We are in the age of the entrepreneur, a time when there are more opportunities than ever before for you to combine your interests with the skills and knowledge you have acquired through your corporate career. Take advantage of that fact. With the right planning and preparation, becoming an entrepreneur will give you back control of your life.

If your answers to the five questions above have revealed that your current job doesn't fulfil you at all or only mostly financially, or even that it's not the right job at all, take it as your cue to move on before the toll to your health becomes an issue and quick you out of your job anyway.

No excuses. Take responsibility for your own future and have the courage to act. With the economy getting back on track, put 'playing it safe,' and taking no chances behind you, decide what you want from life and go after it. Then accountant or not, you will give yourself the opportunity to be truly happy, balanced and in control of your life.

The Corporate Escape Coach™, author of Corporate Escape. Download Two Chapter of Corporate Escape: