Do you Want to Quit your 9 to 5 Job?

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Every week, I write an article to share my learning or discovery during my startup journey. Here is the link to my reasons for penning these articles for myself and for many others like me.

Today there was a Post in my Facebook feed: “Do you want to quit your 9 to 5 Job?”. A girl was promoting her seminar. She was going to deliver a talk on how to leave your 9–5 job and become financially independent.

In the post, she provided more details about herself. She was working earlier with big companies. Then, she quit her corporate job and started freelancing. She is now doing a lot of workcations across the country. She enjoys her passion for travel as she can now work from anywhere.

I have seen the world from both sides, i.e., the corporate “9 To 5” job and now an entrepreneur “Unlimited Time” job. I feel that these messages about quitting a job to become financially independent are a market gimmick. It is far away from reality.

With almost a year of experience quitting my job to build my startup, I think these market gimmicks should also have a disclaimer — “Quitting your job is subject to startup risks. Please interpret all the success stories carefully.”

So here is my version of the gimmick vs. reality interpretations.

Importance of a good network of connections

The girl from the post mentioned that she had worked for big companies earlier. Then, she left her full-time job and started freelancing. A year later, she opened her own company. I could read her posts as she is on my FaceBook friend list. In her earlier post, she shared that her first freelancing projects came from her references from her previous jobs.

I can repeat this message a hundred times a day — You need to have a good network of connections when you decide to shift from a regular paid job to an irregularly paid independent work.

Making these good connections with decision-makers in an organization takes time. So if you want to reach out to your ex-boss, ex-vendor, or ex-customer — you need to WORK somewhere first.

Skipping the real grind

Generally, in all these messages or stories, we hear how a person reached from point A to point B, how a person was unhappy working ten hours long in a lesser paid job (Point A). They were also losing their mind due to stress from petty office politics or from backstabbing by their office colleagues.

But now, the situation is different (Point B). Now they own their work schedule as well as the company culture. They can work or take a vacation of their own will. They no longer need to please their boss or higher management. They do not have to fill out the performance appraisal and have long unyielding discussions with their managers, which ultimately leads to meager salary increases. Now they need to compete only with themselves and not their sycophants’ colleagues.

I fit perfectly into this person’s shoes who was unhappy at point A for all the above reasons. But now, Point B does not look the same as I had imagined at Point A. Life at Point B is much harder than I had imagined in my colorful dreams.

Now I work six days a week. The thrill and charm of finishing the Friday workday early to start the weekend fun has vanished. Now I am responsible for each and every decision related to my startup. No more support or sharing of responsibility with other people. There is no one to cover up my mistakes. There is no one in the organization to whom I can reach out to take a piece of advice on career advancement. No one is responsible for my training needs or keeping me motivated and engaged. Now, all my daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly tasks need to be self-motivated.

One-person world only.

Another attraction about these kinds of “Quit your job” posts is a picture of a person working with a laptop and the sea waves in the background or working from a bar. What this picture fails to tell is that they are sitting alone there.

There is no one besides you at a bar, a beach, a hotel room, or your home office. Now, there are no more water-cooler moments, no more short tea breaks with colleagues, no more spontaneous programs to eat out for an occasion, and no more after-lunch strolls.

By the end of a week working at home, I feel so bored with my own company that I need to go out at the weekend to get energy from other people.

By sharing all these underlying truths about the “Quit your job” message, I am not trying to give a pessimist view of an entrepreneur’s life. Also, I am not discouraging you from quitting your 9 to 5 job.

I feel that these “Quit your job” messages are very hyped. They are not giving the true picture of an equally hard life of entrepreneurs.

People should not leave jobs just because they want to own their schedules. I feel this skewed message is also the reason behind the startups’ high failure rate (90%). People are jumping into the startup ship with dreams sold by the catchy headliners of the “Quit your Job” posts. However, these people later discover that reality is complex and harsh. Hence, they could not sustain themselves in the startup world for long.

Though, I do not regret my decision to jump into the ship of entrepreneurship. But I will also confess that I was also carried away by the rosy picture of replacing your boss’ slavery with your freedom in your startup.

Now I fully understand that neither employment nor entrepreneurship is completely good or bad. Challenges are everywhere. We should be able to connect with the reasons for switching from full-time employment to self-employed or building your startup. We should not be misguided by the flashy “Quit your Job” messages.

“Entrepreneurship is not a part-time job, and its not even a full-time job. It’s a lifestyle.”

Wishing you a great week and hope you find success in your job or startup, whichever path you choose to traverse in your career.

The next article will be published at weekly intervals. If you like my article please give me a follow 😇 or simply send me some claps and feedback.

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Anju Aggarwal

Anju Aggarwal

A budding entrepreneur journalling her in-progress startup journey. Expertise in Products, projects & Process management in the IT domain.