Why I Quit A Six Figure Job
I had the best job in the world. My immediate team of ten people were all world class, and everyday I was able to work on hard and interesting challenges with them. Hours were flexible—many of us worked seven to four (by choice!)—and there was virtually never any overtime. It wasn’t unheard of to have our end of week review down at the pub. I was paid a six figure salary.
After six months, I quit.
I need to be working for a reason. Salaried work isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the benefits it provided me weren’t benefits I actually wanted.
A job is easy money. This is the obvious one. The easiest, most comfortable way to get money is to work for someone else. I currently have enough assets to sustain me for about two years, and there’s nothing that I want to buy, so I don’t need any more money.
A job is low risk. Related to the last point but worth stating separately. You get a paycheck every month, whether or not the company makes money. This risk is shouldered by the owners of the company, and that’s why they stand to gain (or lose) a lot more. I can provide my own safety net at the moment, I don’t need someone else to do it for me.
A job fills the time. This isn’t relevant to me, but I’ve heard a few times “Won’t you get bored without a job?” This is so far outside my conceptual space I didn’t even think of it. If you are worried about being bored without a job, first try cutting TV out of your life and see how you find ways to fill that space. A job is a TV that takes up even more time.
A job allows you to work on large challenges. The type and scale of problems you are able to work on in IT at a big company are totally different to those you have the opportunity to attack flying solo. It was a fantastic experience working on these projects, but I’m no longer feeling inspired by them.
A job allows you to work with smart people. This is actually the primary reason I accepted the job. The opportunity to work in such a high calibre team in such an environment was one that doesn’t come up often outside of salaried positions. There are many other smart people I will get to work with outside of a job, but I will have to work harder to make that happen.
They’re pretty fantastic benefits, and I don’t regret the last six months in the slightest. None of them are particularly relevant to me any more though, and when matched with the downsides the balance is no longer positive.
A job is working on someone else’s schedule. I was expected to be productive for eight hours in the middle of the day, five out of seven days a week. This doesn’t match my natural rhythm. Some days I can work for fourteen hours, others I just need a day off. If I work in the mornings only, I don’t need a weekend. I’m really keen to explore different modes of working to find what is most productive for me.
A job means you have to show up. Forty hours of every week were sold to someone else. That’s a huge opportunity cost. I couldn’t put everything on hold for a few days to chase a new idea. I couldn’t use the burst of energy I get often when I had a great idea late at night, because I had to be up early the next day.
A job is working on someone else’s dream. This isn’t necessarily bad—helping people achieve their dreams is fantastic—but those dreams didn’t align with my own.
A job is selling your time. When I’m working by the hour, there is an economic incentive to take longer to complete a task, but a professional one to be efficient. I don’t want competing motivations. Why are the hours spent on a task even relevant? I want to sell value rather than my time.
So what am I going to do? For a large part, I don’t know, and that’s kind of the point. I have a few projects I’m working on—A tour of the US and this blog being two major ones—but now the biggest benefit is that I’m free to say yes. Yes to projects, yes to schemes, yes to travel, yes to “let’s stay up on a weeknight and watch B-grade sci-fi.” I don’t want the best job in the world, I want the best life.