Resigning from the 9-5
I recently stumbled upon my letter of resignation sitting in a dark corner of my Dropbox folder. In some ways it feels like a decade ago that I submitted it, even though it was really just 2015.
You know how there’s this fantasy that writing that letter will be this amazing and liberating experience? You’re talking to your boss, and you’ve had it, and you just pull it out, and run out of the building as if you’re reclaiming your life?? (please tell me I’m not the only one who thought about that on the drive to work every single day for seven years).
It wasn’t like that.
I wrote it at home. Called my boss. Told her I wasn’t coming back. Emailed it. Sent a hard copy. Then I just sat there in my living room with my 2 month old baby alone. I didn’t feel liberated or empowered. I actually wondered if it was the dumbest thing I had ever done (minus the time I put a fork in the microwave).
Everyone wants to know when and how you can quit your 9-5. The absolute truth is that it really depends. We didn’t have much of an exit strategy, and we also had a new baby… but we did own a home that had gone up in value since we purchased it three years prior. We did have a little bit of savings even though it was a sad amount. I did have some of my side hustle which has evolved into this business. And my husband (who btw submitted his letter of resignation the same day as me (I know, we’re nuts)), landed a private job two days later which saved us. We ended up selling our home, downsizing dramatically, and had a mega chaotic existence until he finished up his project and we could move. We knew that we could HUSTLE and be smart and figure it out if we worked hard. And if we totally flopped, we had the credentials to get another 9-5.
So what does it actually feel like to leave a job? 9/10 times it will be terrifying, and you will completely doubt yourself. You will feel guilty. You won’t have the support of your loved ones. You will question your sanity. These feelings are not signs that you shouldn’t proceed. If we let those feelings rule we would never make changes.
What do you need in place? I highly suggest that instead of focusing on how to maintain the existence you had, you go minimal. Get rid of the square footage, get rid of your stuff, and stop buying. Thank goodness the best things in life are free! If you work really hard, you 100% can make it, and I know this because we did, and we are regular human beings. Get organized with your finances, budget, and what you actually need to pull in to make the transition. Have a game plan.
Other things to contemplate… Your emotional baggage and hang ups will follow you. Life continues. I’ve realized that you cannot runaway from ordinary and mundane situations like cleaning toilets, figuring out what’s for dinner, paying bills, etc. The excitement, the honeymoon phase, will end.
You will also lose friends. Relationships will not stay the same, and not everyone will support you– including family. Think about it this way, you’re making a profound statement with your actions, and other people who don’t make those changes might not be cool with that. Or they’ll think you look down upon them (even though you don’t) because they’re living the life you ran from.
It might not be for everyone. Millennials glamorize quitting the 9-5, going counterculture, and being an entrepreneur. I want to be clear that you don’t have to do this in order to be happy. Happiness is an inside job, and if you have depression or anxiety, it’s probably going to follow you unless you deal with your inner dialogue. There are in fact massive perks to working a 9-5, especially one you like. A steady paycheck, health insurance, a retirement plan, work hours, paid vacation, paid leave, fun coworkers, a community…
Buuuuuuttttt, I would do it all again in a heartbeat. My personality, my skillset, my lifestyle are deeply connected to my being on my own. I absolutely LOVE this existence that I’ve created because it fulfills me and I think I can make a difference in this world. I believe that sitting at a soul sucking job for thirty years is not living. Life is now, and I want to be enjoying it, as there is no guarantee of a tomorrow, ever.
Have you quit your 9-5? Or are you contemplating it? I’d love to hear your story below! Or shoot me some questions if you’d like me to talk about it more.
Have an AMAZING weekend, guys.