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How to Quit Your Job

by: JD

by JD on November 2, 2010

When I was first exposed to this whole idea of quitting my job, traveling abroad, making money online, and just generally doing what I wanted with my life (instead of working), I was pumped. Who wouldn’t be?

And when you read articles online from people who are doing it, or have done it, it all seems relatively straightforward, right?

In theory, the formula works something like this:

1. Start a blog or online business

2. Make money

3. Quit your job

4. Travel

Piece of cake. I’m free!

Then reality sets in. You start working on something, or maybe you just continue reading travel blogs. And somehow, months and years can pass by where nothing actually happens. For whatever reason, even though you would rather not be, you’re still getting up every morning and going to work, while the entire world is just sitting there – waiting for you to explore it.

Well, you don’t have to do that.

Don’t be the person who dreams about traveling, working remotely, and taking back your life. Be the person that does it.

Here’s How You Quit Your Job

Step one to getting on the road, for most people, is not quitting their job.

Two years ago I came home one night and suddenly became incredibly angry at myself for not creating a life that was interesting or meaningful to me. So, in a fit of rage I walked into work the next day and quit.

After that, I was broke for a while and managed to acquire $800 in debt. (Smart.)

So, even though you’ve got these huge plans and fantastic ideas for your travel adventures, you don’t have to be rash about your decision making. I know there are a lot of travel and lifestyle design experts, who would tell you the best way to get out of your employment situation is to walk in the office tomorrow and quit.

Well, I guess that’s true. But not everyone’s financial situation is setup to allow that.

There’s nothing wrong with planning, just set some kind of deadline or cut-off for yourself to keep you motivated.

What Holds Most People Back From Quitting Their Job?

Most people don’t ever actually make any progress towards getting out of their current employment because they think they have to do it a certain way. They wait to act because they want to do something that will actually work. Or, if they do start a project, they quit too early because it doesn’t yield the results they were hoping for in the first few months.

So, they don’t start a blog about travel because they’re not sure how to do it right. They don’t work on creating income online because they don’t know what the best, easiest, or fastest way is. They don’t save up much money because they don’t know how to create large, positive gaps in their budgets.

And do you know what happens to these people? Nothing.

They don’t go anywhere.

The Biggest Factor In Quitting Your Job Is Effort, Not Perfect Effort

I originally heard of this concept from Matthew Hussey. People are so obsessed with doing things right that they feel paralyzed and consequently don’t do anything.

Forget about building the ultimate blog, writing the perfect articles, saving up “enough” money, or starting the perfect business. You won’t. It’s impossible (at first).

If you were capable of perfect effort, you would already be out of your job and on the road. The exact reason you are here reading this article and wondering how to quit your job is because you don’t know what to do.

So, you have to learn.

And the only way to learn is to start working at it. To put in the effort.

The good news is that it doesn’t matter at all if you do it right. You just have to do something.

Over time, you will begin to discover what works and what doesn’t. You will begin to make distinctions about your blog, business, or money saving endeavors, that you hadn’t made before. You will begin to acquire knowledge. And that process is what will get you out of your job. Not your perfect plan.

Do Something

Since the age of 18, I’ve started no less than ten different blogs and websites. All of them failed because I didn’t have the stomach for the long haul. Blogging takes work.

I am confident that, at this moment, I am making a gazillion retarded errors with this blog. I’m sure I will look back at this very post a year from now and laugh at myself. But I have to learn these lessons. And obsessing over perfection will never get me there. I just have to write and try and get better as I go.

What have you been thinking about doing that will move you out of your current employment situation and into the life you want?

Don’t delay progress on your goals so that you can do it perfectly. That’s stupid. You can’t be perfect yet, primarily because you don’t know what you’re doing!

You’re going to suck. That’s the point, you suck because you haven’t learned what is required of you yet.

The only way to not suck is to make a blunder of something and learn from it. Progress begins with effort, not perfect effort.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Adventure-Some Matthew November 2, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I recently released my first ever digital product, an ebook. It definitely wasn’t perfect. In fact, I used that to my advantage. I offered the first version for half-price, and will be using the feedback to improve the ebook and re-release it for full-price.

Even if I hadn’t sold any copies at all, it would have been well worth the effort, because I have learned so much through the experience. So now I’ve taken one step towards my financial freedom, and am better prepared to take the next one.

John DeVries November 3, 2010 at 6:28 am

I saw that on your site when I was there.

We’re all evolving and sometimes it can be hard to accept that you’re going to make mistakes. Sounds like you’ve got a pretty good handle on this though. :-)

Meredith November 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I didn’t think about doing it, I just did it! I realized that I hated my job more than anything, but my financial situation sucked. I only had about one month’s living expenses saved up, so I got myself “laid off.” I know that sounds crazy, but it totally worked. I did just enough at work to get by, and since I really didn’t care anymore, I was able to devote all of my energy after work to doing the things I LOVE.

As a result, I was laid off (AKA fired without cause) which meant I could collect unemployment. I found a job 4 weeks later that I love, and with a company whose values align with mine. I know it may be a controversial move, but it totally worked for me. And I’m still sucking at figuring out what I actually want to do, but life is good :) I have time to figure that out.

David Damron November 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Your thoughts are 100% true.When I made the I’m-out-outta-here decision I did two things most do not do…I made a plan and acted ….That’s the best advice I can give to your readers.

VagabondDave November 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

This is so true. I kept telling myself for a while that I just had to work another year, save some more money, reach a certain goal…I’m glad I told myself to just go, just do it, don’t delay or make excuses any longer. I quit 3 days ago!

John DeVries November 18, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Meredith,

Awesome. Bold action works, and it works universally. That’s not to say instantly dumping the job is the solution for everyone, but it IS a solution. And it worked out! I’m glad you found employment you love, what is it?

John DeVries November 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm

David Damron,

Thank you for your thoughts amigo.

Plans can change, but action is forever. Better to do something than to sit around and think about it.

But this is also why I encourage people to be voracious readers. If you learn from others, your plans will be more intelligent. (And so will your actions.)

John DeVries November 18, 2010 at 3:22 pm

Vagabond Dave,

I’ve got my eye on you buddy. Go tear it up.

Ryan November 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm

John- Huge, man. Action breeds action. I can relate to taking months and months to do something, but then you realize the biggest difference is effort, with “perfect effort” an illusion. The important thing is just to do something. In eating the elephant one bite at a time, the important thing is to keep eating.

John DeVries November 18, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Ryan,

“Eating the elephant” Love that analogy. That’s going on Twitter right now.

Chase Night November 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Great post, John. I’m wrestling with how soon to quit my job as we speak. I took your first approach last summer and wound up sitting in my girlfriend’s apt for four months accumulating about $3000 in debt. Oops! Trying to pay that off before I quit this one, but don’t know how much longer I can stand it.

John DeVries November 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Chase,

I feel you man, been there. Being poor sucks.

Here are a few things that might make your current situation easier.

1. Set a deadline. Give yourself plenty of time, but set one. 3 months, 6 months, 1 year – whatever. Once you know the job ends at some point, two things happen. First, you feel some relief because you know you’ll be out eventually. Secondly, you get your ass in gear because you have no other choice.

2. As much as I thought I hated work, I’ve noticed that sometimes I just need to chill. Life has a way of working out. Sometimes our dreams take longer to come to fruition than we initially hoped. But the days are easier if you accept where you are and maybe even appreciate that at least you aren’t totally broke while you’re working.

3. Lastly, start making progress on your way out. Going to work is easy when your other plans (the plans to get you out of work) are coming together behind the scene.

Good luck mate. You can do this. Be patient, and resolute.

Meredith November 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm

John,

I’ve got a full-time gig at Nordstrom as a personal stylist, which is fantastic, and on the side, I’m teaching modern dance classes, which is my real passion. What I’ve found is that I’m pretty OK with working anywhere, as long as I am respected and valued, and as long as I can pursue my other passions that may not completely pay the bills :)

John DeVries November 19, 2010 at 6:26 am

Modern dance, eh? Way cool.

For years I was afraid to dance. Went to a wedding a few months ago and tore it up (I still suck, but at least I don’t care anymore). Someday I want to actually learn how.

IgorDmitry November 17, 2011 at 10:53 am

I’m quitting my job at the end of the month, w00t! While still not sure if i’ll be travelling right away or staying put for the first few months, travel is certainly in my plans. Thanks for all the advice you have provided on this blog and hope we cross paths sometime in the future!

JD November 17, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Thanks Igor!

I’m so excited for you! Yes, if you hit the road I will buy you a beer. Enjoy your freedom man!

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