From the Blog

I Tried to Quit My Job

I gave my notice at my job a few weeks ago. I sat across from my boss, took a deep breath, and told him I was leaving.

Unlike a lot of people, I actually sort of like my job. I like my coworkers, the environment is nice, and my boss is a sweetie pie. I feel appreciated and I’ve been given enough flexibility to go off and do things outside my job description, like build websites. It’s about as comfy a job as I could hope for.

So why in the hell would I want to leave? That was more or less the question my boss asked me. I didn’t have another job lined up. I wasn’t moving out of town. I was just going to, um, stop being employed. Yes, in this job market. Yes, in this economy.

Well, what the hell, right? How do I just up and quit my damn job? What the hell kind of nutjob starry eyed dreamer am I? The point of “work” is to get income, right? And the point of continuing to work is to get more income.

This “Heather quitting her job” idea wasn’t without a lot of discussion. I have derived my income from a paycheck for practically all my life. And it wasn’t really even because I was chomping at the bit to quit my job. Remember I said I like my job? But sitting in an office for nine hours a day is a looooong time.

I realized this as our own projects have piled up more and more. When we launched PDX Web Ads last month, I was up until the wee small hours during the week, finishing up emails, working on graphics, planning out tasks. Then getting up, bleary eyed, and going to my job in the morning.

I know how heroic this sounds. I did this for days. While we also had other projects and websites to build. Our free time outside of work has been taken up by our own work. Fun work. The kind of work we like. The kind of work we want to build and grow.

Dave has been encouraging me to quit for a while. We have endeavored to get to a point where it won’t be too painful to live on one income. We have no debt, which for me, was a lot of work. I was chewing my nails over paying bills when I first arrived in Portland three years ago. But last year, I got rid of the last bit of credit card debt and we paid off the car.

Also this month, after getiing rid of much of our extraneous crapola, we are moving into a (much) smaller apartment downtown, saving $500 in rent. We’ll also save on transportation costs by leaving the car parked and walking everywhere. We’ll trim expenses in other areas, also. Except for coffee. Coffee is non-negotiable. I start frothing and biting.

It might seem like using our money to pay off debt, getting rid of our stuff, and living in smaller spaces are pretty gigantic sacrifices. But these weren’t hard choices for us. We want to need less. We are weird.

All this means we need less income. I explained much of this to my boss. All the starry eyed dreaming. Unlike most managers, my boss is an actual human being. I told him I like my job, but I need more time. How often does it happen that you put in your notice at a job, and you not want to run around the place screaming for joy that you are leaving that god forsaken hellhole? He joked that we could take Dave out for a beer and convince him to quit his job, so he could stay home and work on projects, and I could stay and work. That would be great for my boss. But Dave is also the biggest advocate for me to put my energy into developing our own businesses.

As my boss and I talked about it, we discussed the possibility of going part time. We could shuffle some of my urgent daily tasks to someone else, and I could keep doing some of the specialized accounting stuff that no one else wants to do. You know, the crappy stuff.

So that’s what is happening. I tried to quit. But we ended up deciding I could go part time. I’ll have more time to work on our own projects, but I’ll still contribute a little household income that will allow us to keep saving a bit.

This feels like a good solution. It’s probably the best of all scenarios. It won’t be too disruptive, it’s not yet a huge leap of faith, and not a reckless escape where I set things on fire as I leave. Screaming. With no pants on.

What? Like you haven’t had that dream yourself.

(Update: I Quit My Job)

Comments

  1. My thoughts? Terrific! Great compromise! I envy what you are doing. I tried the self-employment path thirty years ago and failed miserably. Why? Because I didn’t have the maturity to run a business, you two have that maturity. Go for it now because the opportunities are going to be great in the coming months and years.

  2. Sounds like a great boss! I think if I tried to quit my boss would kick me in the ass on my way out.

    When you guys are rich and successful internet entrepreneurs, don’t forget about your bro down here in Nevada. hint hint.

  3. michael lewallen says

    Congratulations you crazy fool! I work in a building with nothing but creative (painters, film, sculptures, photographers) people all trying to have their life, run a business and stay independent. It is very hard, but none would change even though their income is puny compared to the corporate world. This is a building of dreams, hope and creativity, great people who love what they do. Good job!
    michael

  4. Ya big softy! :P

    Congratulations and I look forward to your next big adventure!

    ~n

  5. Congrats, Heather! You guys are totally lucky to be able to do this – take advantage as much as you can, it’s totally worth it. ^_^

  6. I am both in awe and completely envious of you.

  7. You’re not weird at all :)
    I quit my job last year for exactly the same reasons. Time is more important and precious than money. We can always find ways to make money but we can’t make more time. And also you’ve realized it’s better to put time into your own projects than other peoples. I wish you good luck and just make sure that you’re not drawn back into your job at the expense of your own projects.

    I wrote a short post this week for those who are thinking of quitting who need a little help…
    http://www.lifetothemaximum.com/2011/01/2011-begins-hows-your-first-day-back-at.html

    All the best
    Michael @lifetothemaximum

  8. I’m so happy for you…everything seems to be falling in place.
    All of your hard work is definitely paying off.

  9. Thanks everyone!

    I’ll certainly keep y’all posted on how it goes. After working for a paycheck for 20 years, it is surprisingly difficult to think about being self employed. I have to gain that confidence that we can create something ourselves that has worth, and that people will pay for. Instead of relying on an outside assessment of our value (what an employer pays us). It’s a lifetime of conditioning to overcome.

    If all else fails, I have my dashing personality to fall back on, right?

    Right?

  10. I actually quit my job for similar reasons… I liked my job, but I couldn’t handle the life-sucking aspect of being a 24hr on call code monkey. I would work on projects until 4 or 5 in the morning and sometimes I wouldn’t leave the office to go home at all, just a quick cat-nap on my keyboard until the boss came in the next morning.

    It’s that kind of stuff that kills you. In the end, I too went part-time for a while and then ended up going entirely freelance.

    Kudos to you, I’m sure you’ll feel better now that you don’t have all of the extra job weight on your brain.

  11. Great news Heather! This is wonderful! Let us know when you get time for a celebratory beer or coffee! :) Transitions are hard and take a whole lot of courage! Congrats dude. :)

  12. I fully encourage leaving the corporate paycheck for happiness elsewhere, homemade happiness.

    I posted more of my products Monday night, (I got laid off last April, now starting my own at home craft business) and within 24 hours, had 2 orders and 4 inquiries on what I can do. I had a good feeling as I was posting my products.

    Follow your gut, do what makes you happy, don’t stay where you know you’re unhappy. Congrats and proud of you for taking the leap!

  13. I would say don’t quit your day job…. Blogging is not a profit maker unless you are in the elite and have super good cpc and cpm.

  14. Quitting is quite possibly the best decision you could make! You have a knack for writing that Portlanders are finding out. Anyone would be lucky to have your talent and have as promising a future as you do!

  15. Quinn, you are right. It is super tough to make a living from blogging. I may write a post about the various paths to making an actual living from blogging. None are quick or easy.

    But you’re mistaken in that I never mentioned that blogging would be the source of my income if I quit. That would be nice in my ultimate fantasy world, where I have attendants to bring me breakfast sandwiches, and a sleigh pulled by a dozen golden bulldogs, and also a rocket car for weekend drives.

    I’m fully confident that one day, I will have all the things mentioned above. But for now, we are working on other projects that we are hoping to build into a livable income.

    Update: I did sort of write a post about making money from blogging: How to Become an A-List Blogger, Advice From a D-List Blogger

  16. Yay! This is an exciting development! We’re staying tuned!

  17. Debbie Jedele says

    I am downsizing and want to go part time by summer. I went car free last September and haven’t regreted it yet. :) My family does think I’m weird though.

  18. Hi Heather! I just came across your blog.

    I just quit by job a few months ago, and I went through such an ordeal to just decide that. For awhile I found myself really wanting to retain some type of part time or freelance role within the company. Unfortunately, the company wasn’t for me in the end as things devolved steadily in the environment and in other areas of the job. So after hoping I could hang on with some type of thread, I just left it completely. Now I’m trying to build my own business through what I learned I’m passionate about and not passionate about at my last job.

    But really, it is just the TIME to explore that is so important. The TIME to breathe, to create, to live and find your authentic self. This is what quitting my job has taught me. And I’m glad I didn’t hang on to anything.

    I hope your journey in the next few months is an amazing one!! I look forward to sharing and hearing what you have to say.

    Best,
    Quinn

  19. Aloha Heather!

    Found you through Rowdy Kittens (we love her!) Loved your post; quit my old business, it had become like the worst job ever, working sometimes 80 hours a week, I hated my boss… :) we parted company on fairly good terms, hey I even let her have my stapler. Seriously though, I hope the part time thing works for now, even if you eventually quit altogether this may well have been a good interim decision. Thanks for the great laugh…that dream? I had it all the time before I fired my old boss (yes, it really was me ;)

  20. Part-time is a great compromise. And a serious compliment from your boss. He could have said “see ya later” and hired someone else. But he chose you – on terms that you could live with while you move on in life.

  21. oh, i know envy is a sin… but i’m a sinner so i can say “I envy you!” you and my roommate. my roommate walks into a casino, plays a slot machine for, like, 10 mins and wind $5500.
    so. you two I envy.

  22. I have always dreamed of just working from home. I think I watch too many House Hunters International. lol I always wonder how they can just go & stay months in another country……what about their jobs? The answer…they work from home. If I could figure out how to make an income, I would quit my job in one second flat.

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