It was September of 2006 when I finally gave notice at what was turning out to be a dead-end corporate gig. While it paid handsomely, it was so incredibly boring that it was sucking the life out of me. I am a curious learner by nature, and to have days go by with nothing but paperwork to push around was killing my spirit! So after 4 years at this job, casually collecting my big paychecks, I quit cold turkey. I gave them a month’s notice so I could assist in any transition, but guess what? There wasn’t one, because they never got around to hiring anyone. Believe me, it was not a healthy environment. But back to how we survived.
See, I quit without having another job lined up. Most people said I was stupid, and I heard it quite a few times when I first announced in on my site. But while I did not have another gig lined up, I did have a plan, and it has paid off rather well, I must say. We had learned a lot about planning when we moved to the beach and our rent tripled (while our income didn’t) , so for months before I quit, my wife and I started shoveling money into a savings account. This would be the account we would live off if I had not been able to make any money for a while. Within a few months, we had put enough away to equal a few months of my salary, so we felt comfortable with me moving forward with my plan.
One month before I quit, I had my resume professional redone. It was worth the money, but the funny part is that I have not had to use it yet. We also started talking to all of our friends and colleagues to let everyone know that I was going to be out of work in a few weeks, which paid off for me big time, and I started contacting old employers to see what they were up to.
So now, let’s consider this the day I walked out the door for good. I left my back problems, my anger issues, my lack of interest in my job, all at my desk that day and went home. What a glorious feeling! That was a Friday, and on Monday I had a part time job as a web designer. And that job (thanks to a friend of mine), which started off as a 20 hours a week for a little while type thing, is still going strong. Granted, I still only put in 20-25 hours for them a week, but it keeps me honest.
The rest of my money has come from online ventures. I run this site, I run a website on environment and sustainability issues called The Good Human, and I do a lot of other jobs on the side. All of the income from these other sources balances out the hours I put in for my “employer”, and I get to it all from home and in my own time, and I never had to go back to a corporate gig. It’s been a great 17 months so far and I would not trade it for the world.
The key for us was to plan in advance, even if that did not involve having a job lined up – I was not sure I wanted to go back into the corporate world. So we saved a ton of money, as much as we could. We talked to everyone. We cut back on eating out and other entertainment prior to my last day. We lived even further beneath our means for a time than we normally do, because we knew we had to sacrifice for me to be able to leave my job.
And even knowing now what I didn’t know then, I would still do it the same way all again. I have been working for 14 years now since I graduated college, and the last 17 months of all those years has been the most rewarding and interesting, and I hope I don’t have to ever trade it in to go back!
*Previously a guest post at Five Cent Nickel.