If you’re just beginning to think about going into business for yourself, you may think that it’s going to be several months (or even years) before you can leave your current job. A lot of people who would love nothing more than to follow their dreams get caught in this mental trap, but it really isn’t true. In fact, if you work in a toxic environment, there are several strong reasons that you should leave now instead of waiting around.

“IT’S REALLY NOT THAT BAD” – BUT IT IS!

Toxic working conditions and environments are a lot like toxic and abusive relationships. If you stay in them long enough, you start to believe that they’re normal and that there’s nothing wrong with your situation. When you started working here, your boss probably didn’t make you work 50–60 hours a week every week with no incentive pay. Now, though, he expects you to do that and come in on the weekends if there’s more work to do.

Furthermore, you’ve grown accustomed to harsh criticism, even when it’s not warranted at all. Your “norm” is not normal, and it’s not good for your physical or mental health. The longer you stay here, the more it will affect you.

YOU’RE DEVELOPING HARMFUL WORK HABITS

Speaking of harsh criticism. If you know that your boss is going to throw a fit every time you make even the smallest mistakes, you’re going to be a lot more likely to try to cover those mistakes up instead of taking responsibility for them. Do this at your next job, and you probably won’t last very long.

Do it as you try to build and launch your own business, and you’ll be in a lot of trouble. No one will want to work with a CEO who can’t own their mistakes, so you might want to go ahead and get out now before bad habits like these become ingrained in your work performance.

YOU’RE LEARNING POOR MANAGEMENT SKILLS

At the same time, if you aren’t quite ready to strike out on your own, you might think, “But I only have to make it a few more months before I can leave and start my own business.” At this point, though, what kind of leadership skills do you have, and what kind of examples have you had for leadership in the working world?

If you stay in a toxic work environment too long, you’ll not only take on unhealthy habits to avoid your boss’ wrath, but you’ll likely also take on some of your boss’ managerial habits. That’s the kind of thing that could result in a failed business before you even launch.

YOU’RE LESS LIKELY TO WORK ON YOUR BUSINESS PLAN

Finally, when you work in a toxic environment, the last thing you want to do when you get off work is more work. More and more, you’ll find yourself slipping into the habit of getting off work and vegging out in front of the TV or doing anything else to distract yourself from everything you have to deal with at the office.

While you might think that your toxic work environment would be a motivator to move your business forward and really work hard on your business plan, it’s likely that it’ll sap you of all of your energy. Even if you need to continue working at a corporate job for a while longer, if you’re in a toxic work environment now, you should get out as soon as possible.

Whether or not you quit right now to throw yourself fully into the entrepreneurial lifestyle, you’ll find that leaving a toxic job is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your future.

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