October 7, 2014

In the personal finance world, it can seem like everyone is quitting their job to pursue the freelance dream. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to quit your job just because it seems like everyone in the personal finance world is. You don’t even have to want or even like entrepreneurship at all. It doesn’t inherently make you a good or interesting person.

For me, I had no clue about entrepreneurship or making money online before blogging. I thought it wasn’t possible. When I first got my full-time job here in Portland, I was ecstatic! I was never so happy in my life to have a ‘day job’. I had struggled for so long looking for this very job and got the chance of a lifetime, beating out 200 other people. Unfortunately, things changed at that job and fortunately I had carved out some work for myself that I am happy doing.

While I am happy with the route I chose, I fear that many people will think quitting your job is easy. Or that quitting your job is something you should want or aspire to do.

Don’t drink the kool-aid, my friends.

There is nothing wrong with loving your job. Some people aren’t meant for entrepreneurship, just as some people aren’t meant for day jobs. It’s ok for you to choose either one.

If you LIKE your job or even are lucky enough to LOVE your job, don’t buy this be-your-own-boss and live happily ever after crap. Because if you like or love your job, that is a damn near fairy tale in this day and age. Enjoy it!

Conversely, if your day job is making you sick, you are ending up in the hospital because of stress, are partaking in destructive habits just to make your job bearable, maybe it’s time to go. Think about self-employment or start looking for another job.

Yes, the world of work is changing. It’s exciting and thrilling. But it doesn’t mean that you should feel guilty about being a 9-5er.

Focus on what your heart and body are telling you. Not what some freelance guru is selling or some 9-5 prisoner who wants everyone else to hate their job is selling too.

Whatever your work situation is, own it. Love it. And if you don’t love it, work hard to change it. I know it’s not that easy, but start taking the steps.

Now, WORK IT.

Melanie

Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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34 responses to “Thoughts on Work”

  1. I completely agree with you that not everyone is cut out for quitting their day job. I know I’m not, at least at the moment. I really like my job and I love my boss. I consider myself lucky. On the other hand, I do think it’s very possible to live in both worlds of working 9-5 and working for yourself on a part-time basis. As long as you are able to juggle, I see nothing wrong with doing both.

    PS – look for some exciting news on my blog in the next week or so related to this topic 🙂

  2. “Because if you like or love your job, that is a damn near fairy tale in this day and age. Enjoy it!” So true. I think younger people especially are in the mindset that if the job is not blowing their socks off, perhaps they need to leave and try to find something else that makes them happy. Contentment is underrated.

  3. Lauren says:

    I love that you wrote this. Freelancing is tough! You always have to be on your toes, looking for the next opportunity. The stability of a typical job is very attractive to me at times, and I think I may head in that direction again within the next few years.

    • Melanie says:

      If you can give 100% of yourself to a 9-5 job, enjoy it, and come home and “live your life” at 6pm, that can be attractive. My work/life balance is very blurred and I’m not quite sure how to turn off. I love it! But I think if you aren’t interested in freelancing, a “regular” job is so much easier.

  4. Oh I’m not planning on quitting my job any time soon. I do want to get into freelancing to make extra money, but only so I can reach financial independence faster. Freelancing works for a lot of people, but it’s still a lot of work… and to be hones, I have a pretty cushy job right now. Shhh don’t tell anybody, but I’m at work right now.

    I’ll leave my field, when I’m ready to not work anymore. I might get into freelancing for some extra cash, but I don’t see myself relying only on that money.

    • Melanie says:

      Freelancing is great for extra money. If you have a cushy job, and enjoy it, then live it up! I never had a ton of benefits working at non-profits, but there were some advantages.

  5. Good Advice! Here’s another one for you. Don’t let people tell you how many children you should have, or that you should have any at all, or that you’re selfish if you don’t want any. They aren’t the ones who are living your life. They aren’t the ones taking care of those children, you are! Do what’s right for you. (written by a mom with 1 child who wouldn’t take the advice to have more)

    • Melanie says:

      I am with you! I don’t want kids, so I am constantly trying to defend myself and my decisions to others. But it’s better to stick to your guns on that one. Thanks for re-affirming my stance. 🙂

  6. Kara says:

    I like my job, but I want more out of my career and more flexibility in my schedule. That’s why I want to keep my job (part-time) and have my own side business.

  7. Ben Luthi says:

    This is great, Melanie. I actually loved my day job five years ago and never would’ve thought to branch out to self-employment, but now I can’t wait to make the jump. I think the difference is that I found that job extremely challenging, while the ones I’ve had lately haven’t been.

  8. Kassandra says:

    Glad you wrote about this. I know that it would be hard for me to return to the traditional corporate job now that I’ve been on my own some time. That’s because being self-employed helps me to create a life that reflects what I value. People can accomplish the same by working for an employer so each person needs to evaluate what works best for them.

    • Melanie says:

      Agreed. It’s easier for some people to work 9-5, and then enjoy life. For me, I’m always working! But I love self-employment because I have flexibility. For example, I am utterly exhausted today and working from the bed. 🙂 Can’t beat that.

  9. Myles Money says:

    If you love your job, why would you ever want to quit? This is definitely a goal for me. I don’t see myself sitting on beach drinking cocktails and watching the sunset… well, maybe once in a while… but there has to be more to life, and when you reach financial independence that gives you the freedom to choose what you do rather than working for the money because you need it. I want that choice and that freedom.

    • Melanie says:

      I think many people aspire to love their work, but it is hard. I think it’s a balance of working for what you want and being grateful for what you have and meeting somewhere in the middle. Hopefully I’ll be having some drinks on the beach as well! 🙂

  10. I don’t think it’s possible for me to say “YES” to this enough!! If I found a job that truly made me happy, I would stay there, no question about it. Unfortunately, I went through 4 jobs in 3 years and wondered if there was anything better out there. I never thought I would be a solopreneur, either, but I wanted to take this chance to see if it was better or worse than my previous full-time experiences. I was kind of in the predicament Tonya cited – thinking the grass was always greener. But if I can work for myself and not have to deal with toxic bosses, that’s a win.

    • Melanie says:

      Glad you like it! 🙂 I loved my old job back in LA, but there were some workplace conflicts. I do think I could find another job I love, but for now, I love the lack of office politics or conflict. I do think the grass is always greener and I just want to make sure people remember that — and not think just to jump and give up a good thing, because it seems attractive.

  11. dojo says:

    I had an awesome job for 10 years and still, comparing it with running my own business makes me understand that, in my case, being ‘my own boss’ is great. I earn way more than before and can schedule work as I’d like to accommodate for a baby and our travels. Aside of these 2 issues, my job was perfect 😀

  12. This is a fresh reminder to pay attention to how you feel about the work you do. It takes up so much time in your life, there’s no sense spending that much time doing something that makes you miserable.

  13. Michelle says:

    It makes no sense to me why people would quit jobs that they enjoy. And I totally agree that not everyone is made for self-employment/etc. I think it really depends on the person’s specific situation.

  14. Janet says:

    Great post!

    I was always worried that because I am a born procrastinator, I wouldn’t be motivated if I didn’t have a traditional job. But I’ve found that because I have switched fields and am doing something I love, and for myself, it just seems to work.

    I left a well-paid but incredibly stressful job 10 months ago. I’m now working twice as many hours for half as much pay, have regained energy for friends and hobbies, and I have never been happier!

  15. I too knew nothing about making money online, or that you could make enough to quit your day job. I was astonished at first that someone would want to do that, but then I started thinking more and more about it as I read more and more about how to freelance. I’ve never enjoyed my job in the 2.5 years I’ve been at it and I’ve been looking for something else, but couldn’t ever find anything with as good of pay and benefits as my current job. Now my goal is get my freelance income up to just over half of my current FT job salary and then take a different FT (or PT if it pays enough) job and quit my current job. But you’re right, it’s not for everyone. The job I had before this one was very enjoyable and if I was still working there I wouldn’t probably be considering quitting or freelancing on the side.

  16. NZ Muse says:

    Wise words. I love being a staffer, I love building up my institutional knowledge and working on one thing (although doing a variety of stuff all towards the same end, if that makes sense) and currently I’m working in the biggest organisation I’ve ever worked at, and I think I may just have found my place – who knew I’d like working in a larger org?

  17. Lisa says:

    Girl – you are speaking right to me! I like my job, don’t necessarily love, but that doesn’t mean I’m quitting. There’s more to your life than your job. Making sure I love my LIFE is more important than loving just my job.

  18. Savvy says:

    I listened to an old interview with Penelope Trunk the other day where she said starting your own company should be a last resort. It is really, really hard and most people don’t do it unless they’ve exhausted all other options. Also I saw a real-life friend on Guys Grocery Game last week. She is a cookbook writer and freelance cooking instructor. She said she made less than 20k last year. Her husband was laid off and she fears they will lose there home. Scary.

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