You won’t hear this from your parents, but there are many smart reasons to quit your 9 to 5 job.
Let’s first talk about your day job.
Is it everything you dreamed it would be? Odds are it’s far from it.
Sure you must have been excited in the early moments, like the day you received the job offer, got your first paycheck, and received a promotion. That’s normal.
Now that you’re settled in, how do you feel about it?
If you’re like many adults, your work leaves a lot to be desired. For example, 72% of millennials want to be their own boss.
Why? And why is this number so high?
Studies show, and I believe, it’s because when you’re the boss you have the freedom to work on what you want. That’s highly desirable compared to being force-fed work projects from a supervisor.
You also gain greater flexibility in your lifestyle to do things you can’t do as an employee. The boss can work, network, and vacation whenever they want, as long as they produce results.
These two factors, freedom and flexibility, are priceless.
However it’s not a coincidence that a 9 to 5 job often limits both of these desirable qualities.
If you’re hired for a specific job description—like website maintenance—it’s your job to manage the website each and every day.
There’s no freedom to work on an app or a side project you’re both passionate about and think could benefit the company.
And the flexibility is also not there in many 9 to 5 jobs. For example, good luck taking a month off—and keeping your job—if your wife just had a baby and needs help at home.
At that point, you have to let down your employer or family.
Speaking for myself, just knowing that I have the freedom and flexibility empowers me to do my best work.
I also have the time of my life making progress and learning new business lessons since I’m free to try new things.
And failure doesn’t put me at risk of being out of a job because I’m my own boss.
It’s interesting to read what Leah Busque had to say about working for yourself, “Swapping out the nine-to-five for a more agile, independent working life brings with it one other huge benefit – a channel for self-actualization.”
What she calls self-actualization I call self-awareness, and this blog post describes why it’s critical to your success.
Specifically, I’ve found that your happiness, health, wealth, relationships, and life can improve when you hang up the corporate career.
Reasons To Quit Your 9-5 Job
Reason 1: Job security is dying
Your grandparents had a period of job security like none other after World War II. And your parents job security wasn’t bad either.
But things are different in 2017 with new technology, the Internet, and a different way of doing business.
For example, the World Economic Forum explained that the top 15 global economies might lose more than 5 million jobs in the next five years because of robotics and other trends. That’s a ton of workers who will be unemployed if this comes true.
And companies across the board are shifting from hiring full-time workers to hiring part-timers and freelancers.
Advisor Perspective finds that 18% of workers are part-time in 2017, which is close to the record high of 20% in 2010.
I’m confident this is a trend that will continue and employees won’t ever have as much job security as they did after World War II.
So if you build skills and provide enough value to others to work for yourself, you don’t have to worry about a changing economy where big companies are laying off their staff. You control your own destiny.
But if you stay on the big corporation wagon, you’re at the will of your boss, their boss, and their boss all the way up the ladder.
That’s a dangerous proposition going forward.
Reason 2: Stress is awful for your body
Remember when millions of people thought smoking cigarettes wasn’t bad for you? That’s a joke.
And by now people understand that eating unhealthy junk food and processed fast food is a serious threat to their body.
But do you really understand what stress does to your health? I’ll help you out.
Here are a few of its terrible effects:
- Puts you in a negative mood
- Damages friendships and family relationships
- Leads to high blood pressure
- Can cause heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and a heart attack
- Interferes with your sex hormones
- Advances aging
- Poor decision making or addictions
If you work 45 hours a week and you’re stressed during every second, that’s clearly a dangerous way to live and you’ll face the consequences.
And we all know that work stress doesn’t stop at work. People bring it home and suffer on the weekend too.
To lower your stress it’s smart to get enough sleep, eat healthy, work out, and meditate. Though it’s wiser to still do all of that, and more importantly find a job that doesn’t drown you in anxiety.
Consider finding a job that not only doesn’t stress you out but it doesn’t feel like work for the sake of your health.
I promise you that these jobs exist if you put in the work to find them.
Reason 3: A 9 to 5 will never make you rich
I admit this is probably the least important reason on the list.
Because money is not a top priority for finding work you enjoy, you shouldn’t make a career decision solely for the income or you’ll be disappointed.
But if you’re looking to become wealthy or mega-wealthy, you won’t achieve it as an employee.
Take a look at this map from Forbes that highlights the richest person in every state.
Do you see business owners or employees? I don’t see any account executives or assistant managers on that map.
They didn’t make their fortune climbing the corporate ladder. They built their own ladder.
And technically my claim that a 9 to 5 won’t make you rich depends on your definition of rich. Though you have to admit an Amazon employee’s net worth doesn’t come close to founder Jeff Bezos’ fortune.
This isn’t to say that you can’t end up with millions of dollars at the end of your career through investing your salary and compound interest, you 100% can as I show in this video.
Though if you want tens of millions or hundreds of millions, my advice is don’t be an employee for long. In this case, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow goes to who you work for, not you.
Reason 4: Work destroys your relationships
If work gets so out of control that it starts destroying your personal relationships, you may need to switch up where you go to work.
For example, one of my best guy friends worked as an accountant for a Big Four accounting firm. He made excellent money and enjoyed the job for the most part.
But he was always gone on work trips, which took a toll on his marriage with his wife.
And he didn’t want to be in a terrible marriage, get divorced, or end up like the miserable senior partners at his company with wrecked families.
So what did my friend do to protect his marriage and his future happiness?
Despite his manager’s warning that he was making “the biggest mistake of his life,” he quit the accounting job he studied endless hours for in undergrad and to get his CPA.
Then he pursued a passion of his, coding, through free online classes at MIT and practicing.
Turns out he loves coding far more than accounting. And with his new knowledge, he went on to co-found a software startup that is highly profitable.
It worked out beautifully for him and his wife because he now has greater freedom and flexibility to navigate his work.
Reason 5: You don’t love what you do
Where money is the weakest reason on this list, doing what you love is the strongest motive to quit your 9 to 5 job.
Legendary songwriter Bob Dylan said it best,
What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.
First, just consider how much time is actually devoted to work.
After you subtract the time spent working (40 hours at the minimum), commuting to work (5-10 hours at the minimum), and the time spent sleeping and doing day-to-day responsibilities—there’s not a lot of free time left to enjoy yourself.
And if you’re miserable at your job, then it’s no wonder you’re unhappy in general.
Most of the week you’re at a place that makes you unhappy. This agony can stick with you after you leave work like a stinky odor.
Plus, you’re not going to reach your potential if you’re not inspired by what you’re doing. Knowing you have more to give but not doing it also doesn’t feel good.
Mainly, life is too short to go through it depressed for most of the week at your job.
Your time on this earth is limited. You only live one life.
So you owe it to yourself to give it all you got doing what you love.
Someday your dreams will catch up to you and it will be too late to try what you always wanted.
Please do it now while you can. Aligning my passion with my work has been the best choice I’ve ever made!
If you want to truly get a kick in the butt, read this: 101 Do What You Love Quotes.
You Can’t Let Regret Own You
Regret can come from both inaction and action. It stings both ways, but usually more so when you didn’t take action.
According to 30 diverse professionals in a Harvard Business Review article, here are the top 5 career regrets…
- I wish I hadn’t taken the job for the money.
- I wish I had quit earlier.
- I wish I had the confidence to start my own business.
- I wish I had used my time at school more productively.
- I wish I had acted on my career hunches.
I’ve highlighted the two most applicable regrets—I wish I had quit earlier and I wish I had acted on my career hunches—because I believe many of you will also face these regrets if you don’t take action soon.
The worst thing about regret is you can’t go back in time to change it. You have to live with it whether you like it or not.
That is unless you live with no regrets by doing what you want when you feel the desire to.
And that’s why I mean by not letting regret own you. Don’t let it get the best of you.
You need to own your life and make decisions for your happiness or eventually it’ll be too late.
It’s a sad, depressing scenario when your time has passed to make a career transition, start that company, or own your own restaurant with your best friends.
You and your friends only have a small window to start a taco joint one street off the beach, before you have spouses and kids that need a more stable income and environment.
You can’t start the clothing line you’ve dreamed about since you were 8 years old, if you’re 88 in a nursing home.
Eventually you’re going to be old and gray. Do what you can now to ensure you’re not saying “what if” later.
That’s how you become a satisfied old man or lady.
Please don’t misunderstand this article’s message.
It’s not a blanket statement that you should quit your 9 to 5 job, or any job, if it’s not perfect—no occupation is without its faults.
And it’s not even a pro-entrepreneur article where I’m trying to convert 9 to 5 people to become business owners.
Even though I tried not to, maybe I wrote this entire article with a bias considering I quit my 9 to 5 job last year and have never been happier with work.
Although choosing the entrepreneur route has pad off for me I know some people who would be miserable doing what I’m doing. Their happiest at a 9 to 5 position.
So the purpose of this blog post is to push you to reflect on what you do and look for ways to improve it. Find another job that works better with who you are and what you desire. Or start a side hustle you’ve been dying to try.
Remember if you hate Monday mornings then it’s not Monday you’re mad at—it’s your job.
So you can continue to head into the office with a bad attitude and crippling anxiety, or you can find work that gives you freedom and flexibility.
I won’t decide for you because I don’t know all of the details. And even if I did, it’s not right to allow another person to impose a major decision on you.
You have to decide based on your individual case and the context.
Trust your gut when it comes to staying at your job, taking another one, or working for yourself.
What will you decide?