why quitting your day job is not the answer
why quitting your day job is not the answer…
by: tiffany han
editor’s note: please see out post on ten questions every entrepreneur should ask themselves for an intro to tiffany han‘s awesomeness. tiffany posted this a while back on her blog but we loved it so much that we’re reprinting it. enjoy!
There’s a trend in this online-self-growth world for everyone to look to quitting your day job as the holy grail.
“I want a flexible schedule.”
“I want to be able to travel.”
“I want to live my passion.”
Sure. I get it. I’ve wanted (and still want!) all of those things too. But the stark reality is that for most of us, quitting one’s day job is not the secret magical step into Utopia. Often it’s the first step down the long road of entrepreneurship. One that – while fulfilling, and most often worth is – is arduous and hard.
It’s hard to be in debt.
It’s hard to not know how you’re going to pay your bills.
It’s hard to think that only saying yes to work that makes your heart sing might cause you to lose your house.
And I get it. There are going to be people who read what I’m writing and say, “Oh, you just aren’t believing it enough.”
“If you think it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be hard.”
“If you buy this e-book, I’ll teach you how you can quit your job and make money living your life and it will be so easy-peasy that you’ll be so mad at yourself for not doing it years ago.”
It is wholly irresponsible for the life-coaching-creative industry to be pushing people towards quitting their job as the answer to a happy life.
If you don’t have a happy life already, quitting your job is not going to make a damn bit of difference. If you are angry and bitter and resentful of everything that you do, quitting your job will make you angry and bitter and resentful without a paycheck or benefits.
How do you think that’s going to help your anger/bitterness/resentment levels?
I write this not to discourage people from following their dreams and trying their absolute hardest to craft a life of their dreams. On the contrary: go, dream, do. Make shit happen. Start that business. Bring on the magic.
But I also have experienced this myself and I can tell you that I’ve gotten 3 different part-time jobs since I started working for myself. Since I’ve been a coach, I’ve only had 4 months when I haven’t worked for another company. And throughout that entire time, I’ve also been co-running Teahouse.
It takes a lot of time and energy to make a business successful. And for most of us, the money required to really live off is more than a starter business brings in. For my first year of coaching, I earned a few thousand dollars coaching. Did I love it. Yes. Was that enough to cover my cost of living in the Bay Area? Oh hell no.
So I strategized. And I plotted. And I made choices for myself.
I chose to not be able to dedicate myself 100% to my coaching business. I simultaneously chose to be able to pay my bills while also choosing to put myself into a position where I didn’t have many days off, where burnout was rampant, where taking care of myself and my body took a backseat.
It was my dedication to my career and business that pushed me to make those choices. I chose a part-time job and some hustle over jumping headfirst into coaching. I am certain that if I had done that, I would have gotten myself into a financial bind.
Which would have forced me to take a full-time job. Which would have been the end of my coaching biz as I knew it.
For me, the learning was this:
Can making a goal to quit your day job be a powerful step? Yes.
Do you need a plan of how to proceed? Absolutely.
Does quitting your day job mean the end of working for “the man” ever? Probably not in most cases.
A fulfilling business is possible. It’s what I’ve created my business on, and it’s how I live my life. But I also know that it takes a lot more work than just “I want to quit my job.” and is more than just “Leap and the net will appear.”
Sometimes you need to spend time making your net, and the first step is learning to weave. So if you’re there, looking at other people’s nets, thinking about how beautiful they are and how you’ll never have a net like that for yourself, step back, look down at your own life, and figure out what your net will look like. Then you start creating, strand by strand.
It might feel like it’s taking forever but trust that you’ll get there. And the stronger those fibers are that you use, the more care you put into your craftsmanship, the more freely you’ll make that leap.
The net will appear because you created it. Like a boss. BAM.
PS. If your boss is a jerk, find another job. Yes, you can. Your choice to stay in a situation where you are treated unfairly is a poor choice.
PPS. Personal responsibility y’all. Let’s all find some.
about tiffany han:
Tiffany Han, CPCC is a coach for highly-creative people who want to wake up happy. If you’re feeling the growing pains of running your creative business and are ready to STOP spinning your wheels and actually get stuff done, her Glitterbomb Your Biz group coaching program is sure to light your fire (Registration open through 9/22; starts 10/1).
I SO agree with this!
The “success story” is to quit your day job and do you passion 100%. Then, if you can’t make it, you feel like a complete failure. AND doing your passion 100% of the time means shooting weddings when you’d rather take arty photos, making tchochkes to sell at a craft fair when you’d rather sculpt, etc.
Soon you may even end up doing what you love LESS than when you had a regular “job job”.
There is something quite honourable about making a living at a day job and then pursuing your photography/art/painting/coaching in your spare time.
i totally agree with what you said sandra! i’m often jealous of my husband who has a 9 to 5 job and gets to come home and leave all of his work at work! his free time is his to do with what he pleases…play guitar, write etc… and he doesn’t have to worry about if his creative pursuits will pay the rent or not. i think it’s really about figuring out what YOU want and what YOUR idea of success is and then moving towards that 🙂
Thanks for sharing a “real” perspective that’s not just a follow your dream and it will happen. People usually leave out all the choices and trade offs and yea and thats its still really hard work. Just because you try to follow your “passion” doesn’t mean its easy. I’ve seen people too intentionally have mutiple side jobs to keep the diversity and to not work a 9-5 which is ok too. If you want to check out another point of view Cal Newport, pHd has an interesting perspective on following your passion which at least helps put it in another perspective when you are still working a day job https://calnewport.com/blog/2010/10/16/the-passion-trap-how-the-search-for-your-lifes-work-is-making-your-working-life-miserable/
Thanks for having such great contributors on your blog!
totally agree tess! thanks for sending that article as well. SUPER interesting!!!
great post and information!