Let’s face it. Jobs suck.
I spent 13 years of my life working in various jobs, and I never felt right about it. Not once did I feel like I was doing my life’s work.
There was always a little voice in the back of my head telling me “you’ll never be happy working for someone else. When are you going to get the balls to try working for yourself?”
In 2006 I found those balls.
After 13 years of working on shit I didn’t care about, after the boredom, the depression, after all the crap I endured from bosses who expected 60 hour weeks and still gave me a hard time about taking a week off here or there, after feeling like there MUST be more to life than Corporate America™…
I decided to ditch my well-paying but mind-numbingly-boring job and find out for myself if being self-employed was the answer to all my prayers.
I always knew my life would be incomplete until I at least tried working for myself. To see if I could do it and find out what life would be like without the rules everyone else lives under. For some reason, it took me 13 years and 5 jobs to finally take the plunge.
Finally I looked myself in the eye and asked, “why the fuck should I spend close to 50% of my waking hours during the most healthy and vibrant period of my life at a job, doing something I couldn’t care less about, contributing far less than my true potential to the world?”
I decided I wanted my life to be about more than powerpoint slides and meetings, and worrying about what some boss thought of me.
Why the hell did it take me so long ask this question and own up to what I felt was my destiny?
Mostly it was fear. Fear and comfort…
Why You Should Never Work a Job Again
Listen, if you like your job, that’s cool. I know there are some people out there who are fulfilled by their jobs. (although I suspect you might not be totally satisfied if you’re still reading this)
Most people I know pretty much hate their jobs. They complain about the work, the people, the commute, the pay, the hours, the lack of vacation time and control over their lives.
They talk about dreams and hobbies and “some day” as if it just isn’t in the cards for them. That version of life is for someone else, someone with better luck and fewer responsibilities.
99% of these people will work a job until they retire or die. Most just accept that having a job is something you simply do in life. You’re born, you grow up, you work at a job, you retire and enjoy yourself for a few years or a decade, you get old, and then you die.
Some of the poor and middle class complain about corporate control of wealth and power, and yet most of us work for those companies, buy what they sell us, watch what they create and accept their vision of the world as our reality.
But don’t get me started on that…
This isn’t about society or what other people do.
It’s about you.
It’s about asking yourself what you want your life to be all about. Do you want the next 30 years to go by, only to feel like you never tested yourself? Like you never stretched your limits and capabilities and experienced everything you possibly could in life? Like you wasted your potential because you lived under some invisible set of rules your whole life?
I’m not saying you should quit your job tomorrow (although you would probably be just fine if you did), but if you have the entrepreneurial bug like I did, you’ll never be completely satisfied until you try working for yourself.
If you feel like your job is keeping you from living the life you really want to live, here are three reasons you should never take a job again.
- Working a job gives someone else control over the majority of your life.
- Working a job is dangerously comfortable.
- Working for yourself is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you will ever do.
These aren’t feudal times. If you live in the free world, there is no reason you have to work for someone else. The freedom to pursue happiness and live the life you desire is the greatest gift of modern society, yet most of us piss that opportunity away.
When you work a job, someone else is ultimately in control of what you work on, what you’re responsible for, when you work, when you take time off and how much you earn.
If you absolutely love your job, perhaps giving up that amount of control is worth it. For most people, it seems insane to accept those conditions.
When you work for someone else, life is just comfortable enough to keep you from asking the really important questions.
Sure, you feel like your soul is being crushed every day at work, but at least you get a paycheck, right?
How much of that paycheck is spent on vices and entertainment just to make yourself feel better or to cover up the fundamental lack of fulfillment you feel?
Fear is what keeps most people from doing extraordinary things in life. Most people choose to stay in jobs they hate because they’re scared shitless of the alternative. They’re afraid they don’t have what it takes, that they’ll fail miserably and become homeless embarrassments.
The truth is, if you get past the fear and laziness, there’s no reason you can’t accomplish anything you want.
Jobs keep you just comfortable enough so you never have a strong enough reason to confront those fears and start living your life’s purpose.
As a kid growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I spent a fair amount of time fishing with my dad. I used to see this phrase on t-shirts and bumper stickers a lot:
“The Worst Day Fishin’ is Better than the Best Day at Work.”
The same is true of working for yourself.
During the worst days of working for yourself, you’ll be terrified, worried, anxious and full of self-doubt. You’ll think you made a huge mistake and you’ll convince yourself that you don’t have what it takes.
But even that day will be better than the best day of working for someone else. Maybe not on the surface, but deep-down there is still a sense of purpose and satisfaction that can only come from pursuing self-reliance in it’s highest form. Lions in the wild seem about ten times more alive than lions in the zoo.
There’s no better time than right now to start working for yourself.
How do I know this?
You’ll never be younger, and you’ll never be fully prepared.
The perfect day to commit to your dream will never come. There is no such thing as being fully prepared. There are things you can never learn or prepare for except by actually doing them.
Working for yourself takes a tremendous amount of courage and energy. Every day you let go by makes it less likely you’ll ever pull the trigger, and less likely you’ll persevere if you do decide to quit.
If you’re feeling brave enough, here’s a challenge to consider:
Make your current job the last one you ever take.
Commit to making self-employment the only alternative to the job you have right now. Don’t give yourself the option of finding another job. Ever.
If you get sick of your job and want to find another, use that drive to go freelance or build your own business. Don’t give in and take another job.
If you get laid off or fired, use that as a sign that it’s time. Take your unemployment benefits or savings and buy your freedom by jumping into self employment.
But don’t wait around until you have no job, or until get so sick of your current job that you have no other option. Instead, commit to yourself that you’ll quit your current job by a certain date. After that date, you’ll never work a regular job again. You’ll do whatever it takes to support yourself through your own creativity and perseverance.
If you’re reading this and you don’t have a job right now, fuck looking for one. How long will you spend looking for a job that you’re going to hate in six months anyway? Use that time instead to build a life of freedom and fulfillment. Live on your parents’ couch or live off your spouse’s earnings for as long as it takes. Convince your supporters that this is the greatest gift they could ever give you, and then don’t let them down.
Don’t accept this challenge lightly.
Take a weekend by yourself to really think about this challenge. Go away for a couple of days and ask yourself life’s hard questions. Ask what you really want your life to be about. What do you want to try, to experience, to accomplish?
If you decide that working for yourself should be a big part of your future, give yourself some time to put a plan together. Then, don’t be shy about telling people your plan. Once you set a date, the world will conspire to help you make your dream happen.
And remember, the worst that can happen probably isn’t all that bad.
The journey won’t be easy, but at least you’ll be growing and pushing yourself. You’ll be testing your limits. That’s one of life’s greatest gifts.
The irony is that by at least trying self employment, you’ll learn so much and gain so many new skills that you’ll end up becoming much more employable anyway.
Whatever you decide, be honest with yourself. You don’t have to accept your current reality as how you’re “supposed” to live, or as what you really want.
Start having this conversation with yourself today, because it’s one of the most important things you can do.
You owe it to yourself to live the life you know deep down you were meant to fulfill. You know it’s there. Making it happens all starts with admitting to yourself what you want.