As many regular readers of the Art of Selfhood know, I recently resigned from my corporate enslavement and decided to go it alone.
I wish I could claim to have been big and brave enough to tell them to shove it all by myself, but that wouldn’t be the entire truth and I don’t want to lie to you.
The truth is I needed a little nudge in the right direction. I had to become so uncertain and frustrated with my situation that I saw leaving as the only option. For years, I tolerated a high level of bullshit because the pay was stellar, but when the boss suggested pay cuts due to the oil price crash, I knew it was time to explore other options and begin to live my life.
Having had 12 fantastic weeks off so far and having started to make more than enough money to pay my bills all on my own, I’ve decided to let you fellas in on what I’ve learned.
For those of you who are thinking about telling the man to go and penetrate himself with a foreign object, this may just be the nudge you need.
(1) You’ll Have an Abundance of Time
I’ve written elsewhere that time is the single most precious commodity any man has. I don’t think I’m alone in that view and more and more people are waking up and realizing that the money they are currently being paid to endure some sort of servitude is simply not worth it.
Money is important too, no doubt, but there’s more than one way to make it and they’re printing boatloads of the stuff every day. Time is irreplaceable and is something you can never get back once it’s gone.
What I’ve found since being “off” is that I have more time to spend on the important things in life: building my business, hanging out with my wife and son, reading and learning and generally enjoying myself.
You might wonder what you would do with all the time you suddenly had if you resigned from your job. If that’s something you seriously worry about I’m afraid I can’t help you. I’ve been busier than ever and highly productive since resigning. If you’re a man with ambition you will be, too.
(2) Thy World Shall Not Stop
A lot of what is holding guys back from resigning from their job is the fear that their lives will somehow end or the world will stop if they do.
This fear is perpetuated by the media who constantly harp on about the lack of available jobs and how lucky you are to be working to begin with.
However, as long as you have been financially savvy and not blown all your money on nonsense you should have enough to see you through while you get something else off the ground.
I don’t recommend resigning until you have at least 6 months living expenses to cover you and a plan of action regarding what you’re going to do next. I stacked money away for years and was sitting pretty before I decided to take the step, and I highly recommend you do the same.
The world won’t stop when you resign from your job. Things will just keep on keeping on! You’ll start your own business and wonder why you didn’t do it years ago, if that fails you’ll find another job and be no worse off, and life will go on just like it always has.
A “career” is a very modern invention. Human beings throughout most of our history have not enjoyed any sense of security or steady career. For most of our history every day we woke up with nothing and went to bed the same way, and we did what we had to do to survive in between.
Maybe that’s why people who have stable, steady careers are closet suicidal. It’s so boring and predictable that our brains just start dying and shutting down.
Which brings us to the next point……
(3) You’ll Begin to Feel Alive Again
I can say that I didn’t hate my job in corporate-land by any means. I thought it was just alright and it was comfortable.
Sure, flying on choppers out to sea was exhilarating the first few times and getting to see new places was a great experience, but like everything else in life, if you’re doing it all the time it becomes routine and the excitement dies down.
I felt somewhat dead emotionally during the time I worked in a corporate environment. So much of my time and identity was caught up in the company and their agenda that I forgot what mattered to me as an individual, set aside a lot of my goals in order to meet theirs, and since the paycheck was steady and fat and I had nothing to really worry about, I lost a lot of the exhilaration that comes with the hustle.
Once you’ve mastered a skill and it no longer challenges you or things become too routine it’s time to shake things up and start again. Your brain requires new stimulation in order to grow new neural paths and circuits, or it will simply start to die and fade into oblivion.
When I finally sent in the resignation email and hit enter I felt a wave of excitement, adrenaline and happiness I hadn’t felt for years. I knew things weren’t going to be easy out on my own, but I was confident I could do it.
We need a certain amount of challenge, novelty and uncertainty to feel excitement. Quitting your job will certainly bring that about.
(4) You’ll learn Who’s Real
You don’t need me to tell you the world is full of parasites and people who hang around you hoping to gain something from you.
If you’re in a high-paying, lucrative field like I was all sorts of people will suddenly make “friends” with you. When you quit, you’ll learn who really cares about you as a person and who is just a fake.
For a while after I quit when I met new people who asked me what I did for a living I’d tell them “currently nothing”. This is an interesting experiment and will teach you a lot about a person by observing their reaction. People who continue the conversation are potential real friends, people who make a polite excuse to move on are social climbers you’re better off without anyway.
This equally applies to women. Prostitutes leave when the money dries up, wife-material ladies say “It’s alright poppy, it’ll all come good” and give you a back rub.
If you want to know who your real friends are, and what your girls real intentions are, pull the plug on your steady pay-check and see who scatters.
(5) You’ll Learn About You
If you quit your job with absolutely no plan, you are an imbecile.
If you quit your job with a plan in mind like starting your own business, I salute you.
What you’ll quickly learn when you decide to kiss work goodbye is that you have a whole bunch of weaknesses which are preventing you from reaching success on your own. You’ll begin to learn what these are and you’ll be able to do something about them.
The first thing you’ll learn is that to work for yourself or start a business you need to actually be good at something. You need a skill set which allows you to compete in the economy. You’d better be good at something or you are going to get fried because there’s a lot of competition out there.
I honed my writing skills for a period of fifteen years before deciding to make a living from it. FIFTEEN YEARS. I’ve been writing since I was 15 years old and now I’m good enough to make a living by working for myself and live as a free man.
Working for yourself requires intense self-discipline, the ability to effectively manage your time, the ability to sell yourself and your skill set in the free market and all manner of things which working for someone else will never allow you to develop in any significant way.
When you get out of the corporate handcuffs you’ll come face to face with all these weaknesses and you’ll have to overcome them quickly. There’s no way you can totally plan for this because there are some things you won’t see until you experience them first hand, but you can start developing your self-discipline today.
Anything you build ends up building you. A business is no exception. Just like anything you build you’ll have to start by laying solid foundations. This will take time, patience, dedication, and energy. You may or may not have those things already, but you’re going to require them on a whole different level to successfully work for yourself.
(6) You’ll Learn Money Isn’t Everything
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Having enough money is damned important and nobody can live without it!
Here’s at the Art of Selfhood we don’t believe in fairytales or law of attraction mumbo-jumbo. We know the world is a fiercely competitive place and a man without money is a man who is as good as dead.
That being said, MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING.
There are certain things in this life which money can not buy. Quitting your corporate job and going it alone will teach you what those things are. Here’s a short list:
Character, health, class, respect, true love (family love), satisfaction, and inner peace.
Those are some damned important things. I’d rather have a single one of them and little money than an abundance of cash and a lack of any of them. Of course, I’d prefer to have them and a lot of cash, if we’re going to be truthful.
The important point here is that there are some things in life which are more important than a stable career and a steady paycheck. Getting satisfaction from what you do is one of those things. Since learning I could be paid to write for a living I have been working almost just as many hours, but it is very satisfying to do because it utilizes my natural abilities, sits well with my personal disposition and is engaging work.
One of the greatest ways to derive satisfaction from your work is to be able to control the process from start to finish. Far too many of us are alienated because we never get to see the end product or how we positively impact the world through our work.
Writing, for me, is different. I start with a blank page, I create something and I receive cash for it. I control the entire process and I get the reward (money) directly when my client is satisfied.
There’s no price you can put on job satisfaction. I was fine with what I did before, but I love what I do now. I take personal pride in every sentence I write! Thus, I am deeply engaged, using my creativity and slowly mastering the craft one step at a time.
(7) You’ll Feel What it’s Like to be Free
All of our lives from school onwards we are taught to obey a master.
This is nothing less than a system of mass slavery and taught servitude. Most people will never even be aware of it because they just go through life without thinking. Those of us who are aware of it can not stand it. A lot of us struggled in school, not for a lack of intelligence, but rather because we never understood why we had to submit to someone else’s insane, pointless demands.
This trend only continues if you work for a company. You’re taught that there’s a hierarchy and even if you can see that the people above you are brain-dead morons, you have to keep your mouth shut or you risk facing the door. The door, we are taught, is a terrifying portal to another world where we’ll surely starve to death and die.
This is more nonsense. The door is the way to freedom. The door is the portal to another world alright, but it’s the world of abundance and satisfaction.
Provided you have the skills to make a living, which you do if you work for a company or they would never hire you to begin with, you have a way to earn a living for yourself. Why continue to give 50% or more of what you generate up to someone you don’t even like so that they can continue to boss you around and tell you what to do even when you know they’re wrong and you could do it better your way?
This is taught slavery and servitude. Ironically if you try to take this away from some people they will lash out at your and defend their masters, like a well-trained dog. That’s what this system is designed to do – turn those who are being exploited into defenders of the system itself.
I’m personally thankful I was able to work offshore for a short while. I had a lot of great experiences and I made as much money as I would ever have needed, setting myself up for this exit. I don’t regret it, but it was always a means to an end and I knew I’d get out some day. My whole life has been a preparation for this moment – my moment of liberation!
If there are guys out there who are so close to quitting but are talking themselves out of it every time, I encourage you to take the leap. Don’t be stupid and set off to sea with no supplies, but if you’ve got a map (plan), some rations (savings) and the determination and drive to succeed, you’ll be alright and you’ll make it, I promise!
It may take a while before you start making as much as you did when you worked for your boss, but you’ll get there and then you’ll surpass it when you put half as much energy into your own goals and pursuits as somebody else’s.
In the meantime, while you’re hustling for clients and struggling to keep the books balanced, the struggles will be more than compensated for by the other things I’ve mentioned in this article: freedom, satisfaction, self-worth and knowing that at least if things don’t work out you had the balls to take a shot unlike all the other zombies who drift through life miserable.
Writing this has been a pleasure. If any of you gents have questions or concerns about going out on your own just drop me a line and I’ll give you the best advice I can.
Desire. Decide. Persist.