How to quit your 9 to 5?

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

If you have followed my blog most likely you also have dreamed of quitting your 9 to 5 (Just a wild guess based on your interest and what you read). I understand how badly most people wanted to achieve this, unfortunately majority still chose to stay where they are.

To be honest, I consider myself one of these people. I am an accountant working as an auditor in one of the Big 4 (a common term we used for the 4 biggest accounting firm in the world) here in the Caribbean. Even though I’ve been dreaming of having the freedom and the time to do whatever I found meaningful, the fear still kicks in and never decided to do it (until I realized that it is really possible).

It is the fear of unknown and the journey of embarking to uncertainty, what most people have considered as the most risky yet rewarding route (for those who have succeeded) that a person can go. I have watched tons of Youtube videos and read a lot of books on how rewarding this route can be but still I am here sitting in front of my company laptop doing the same task that I am doing for almost 9 years now.

Just a bit of a context, I don’t necessarily hate my job and I don’t considered myself as too stressed doing it. I even considered myself as fortunate to have this job and benefits from my company.

It is just that I hate to think that I am settling for something “just good” because it is “comfortable” rather than pursuing something “far greater and meaningful for me” because it is way outside of my comfort zone.

Basically, it is all about this “fear” that is stopping me.

I processed these fears, asked myself and made a conclusion out of these…


1. Know your “why”

You need to have clarity why quitting your 9 to 5 matters to you. You can’t use it as an excuse for you to run away on something or just because you think it is cooler (as what social media has packaged the life of entrepreneurs)

As mentioned by Gary Vee,

” you should definitely not quit your job just because you think the grass is greener on the other side. Many people turn to entrepreneurship and fall into the trap where they arbitrarily decide that they’re awesome, only to later find out that the market doesn’t value them the way they value themselves.

the world plays in the middle, but all the action is in the edges. In other words, successful entrepreneurs operate in the extremes. They work longer hours, take more risks, and swallow more failures than your average person is willing to go through. Step one of quitting is having the self-awareness to know whether entrepreneurship is really your calling or just a sexy daydream.

Understanding your “why” makes it more sense in your decision and it gives you the necessary motivation when things don’t go well when you have embarked this journey of the unknown.

I also believe that you can’t just decide in the midst of a stressful situation at work or during your tough times. Those decisions may likely be coming from your emotions rather than from your logical reasoning.

Remember, expect that once you have chosen this path you will be doing more than what you used to do from your 9 to 5. It will never be an easier path, but I can guarantee that it will be more fulfilling than ever.

2. Will your 80-yr-old-self regret this decision?

I just assumed that I will be able to reach this age in the future, but I am pretty sure that we will all die someday (it can just be a little sooner or later).

I realized that whenever we are planning to do something or has to decide on a big decision in our life, we have to do it backwards. Think of it this way. A person who’s at his deathbed and have already consumed all his energy and time here in this world, will certainly regret the things that he NEVER DID rather than the stuff that he did.

The worst thing that can happen to anyone is not about failing miserably at something but rather dying with regret of not being able to do anything.

Quitting my 9 to 5 can significantly push me out of my comfort zone, but will I ever regret that I did it come my deathbed? The answer is certainly “No!”, contrary to this, I will rather regret not doing it for sure!

3. Listing down all your fears and have a logical solution to each of it

For me, my greatest fear is negatively affecting my love ones because of this decision. Listing down all your fears and coming up with a solutions ahead of time lessen that fear, it also somewhat creates a to-do list and an appropriate timing before you decided to do the leap. These are some of the items I listed down on my journal:

  • “I won’t be able to pay my rent and will starve to death / I won’t be able to provide to my family” – You can save in advance to ensure that you will be able to pay your rent and have some buffer for other expenses (I have added a detailed discussion on this below in knowing your “Survival Number”).

I have also read something about this, and realized that each of us has the ability to start a side hustle. Creating a revenue generating side hustle before our leap significantly lessen the risk involved to it.

  • “What if I didn’t succeed?” – For sure you will fail at first (It is considered necessary) but if you will work hard and focus on what you can do and improve, everything will make sense in the end.
  • “I will run out of money before I succeed” – Then just go back to work or have a part-time to earn a little and sustain it. As simple as that.
  • “What other people will think of me” – It is not my business to know their opinion about my decision for as long as I know I am doing this for myself and for my future. All others don’t really matter.

4. Know your survival number

You have to know how much do you need to survive, understanding the cost of all your needs gives you a specific idea of how ready you are to take the leap. Your survival number should at least include the following:

  • Rent
  • Monthly food budget/grocery
  • Internet
  • Monthly amortization (If you are paying any debts, loans or mortgages)
  • Utilities
  • Other necessary expenses (I included here the amount of money I am sending to my parents as I regularly send them money for their needs. You can include here the other necessary expenses of your family if you already have a family)

After knowing your survival number, you have to set aside cash and save it as your buffer.

It is up to you how long you wanted to project your buffer, in my case, I have calculated for a year of expenses. (I know this can be too much but this gives me extra comfort for any unforeseen events that may happen when I did the leap).

This also allows me to become more certain now than before in doing this decision as I now have a better understanding of my numbers which lessen the fears and risk involved in my decision.

5. Slowly build the business or venture you wanted to pursue

I realized that Gary Vee is right in terms of using your time after your 9 to 5 to build a side hustle. I initially have the same sentiment that I don’t have time to do it, but the truth is, we all have the time, we all can allot something to slowly build any side hustle. The question is, “how bad you really wanted it?”.

Do you know how many hours you are spending browsing social media? Or watching Netflix? How about the hours used each week partying? Imagine if you can allot those hours in building your side hustle.

To be honest, this is the most challenging one. But it pushes you early on and gives you a glimpse, on what you should expect when you quit your 9 to 5. I considered this as like “testing the water” which is crucial if you manage to create one before quitting your 9 to 5.

Remember, you are in control of your free time (considering that you only work from 9 to 5). If you will only use it wisely, you can do so much from it.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, we can only prepare as much as we can. Although there are people who just quit their 9 to 5 without any back-up plans or what so ever and manage to pull it through. I still believe that careful planning and execution is still the best solution for any types of fear that we have. And those fears are the only thing that is stopping us from doing it.

Learn to manage those fears and your decision of quitting will be easier.

Let me know your thoughts if you have other ideas that can help other people overcome this fear of taking the leap.

3 replies on “How to quit your 9 to 5?”

Thanks Aditya for your comment. Beginning with an end in mind gives us clarity on what we truly wanted to pursue in life. This is the exact approach Jeff Bezos did when he was thinking to go full time growing Amazon. He left his job and started changing the world.

Liked by 1 person

Yeah! Jeff bezos is inspiration for all of those who has a big dream. It doesn’t matter where you are in your current life but you can change your life for better and you will thank yourself years afterfor not giving up! It was good fun interacting with you! Keep bringing this kind of posts!

Liked by 1 person

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