The 5 Philosophies of Quitting Your Day Job

Back in June I asked you what you thought of doing the thing you are most passionate about to make a living. We had some great convo on the topic (which you can read here), and I’ve been thinking about it a lot since.

Here’s the exact situation I find myself in. (While only some of you will be able to directly relate, I think most all of you will understand where I’m coming from.)

I have a great paying job as a Quality Engineer in a Pharmaceutical company. I do my work fairly well, get along with folks fine, but am completely bored with it. My passion is to write more, to speak to groups more, and to help other people in their writing and blogging more. I can only do so much of that now with a 40-hr job, an amazing family to lead, and other responsibilities.

I want to leave this career to make a living doing the things I love, and after talking to a lot of folks about it I think I have narrowed down my options to these 5 Philosophies. See if you agree.

The 5 Philosophies of Quitting Your Day Job

1. The “Stop Whining and Do Your Job” Philosophy: which goes…90% of the earth’s population would be so thankful for your job. Who do you think you are to complain about not being passionate about it? Be thankful for it and be thankful for the ability to work on hobbies on the side. If you really are that good at the things you love, someone will come find you. Otherwise, stop wasting your time dreaming about one-in-a-million scenarios and enjoy the fact that you can create things and share them so easily these days.

2. The “Milk Your Good Job” Philosophy: which goes…as long as you have this job that allows you to provide for your family, continue to work at it AND continue to do the things you love on the side. Your “time on the side” is limited, so only spend it doing the things you love. Figure out what the one thing is that you do best and keep working at it with laser-like focus. If that leads to bigger things and allows you to quit your job, which chances are it won’t, great! And if you’re never able to leave your current situation, be thankful for the side projects.

3. The “Craft Your Exit Plan” Philosophy: which goes…the only way you’ll ever be able to leave the job you have to support your family is to plan¬†specifically¬†for it and work harder than everyone else. Forget the “big break”, no one is debating right now whether or not to pay you a salary to write your blog (There’s only 1 Jon Acuff). So figure out 10 things you are good at that you like (not “love”) and start doing them. Some will stick, others won’t, and eventually you might be able to create enough income sources to start doing some or all of it fulltime.

4. The “What if You Got Fired Today” Philosophy: which goes…take an hour or two to truly think about what you would do if you got fired today and were forced to try and make a living doing the things you love. Then start treating your side projects as if you did get fired. The combination of the income from your real job and the hustling you’re doing on your side projects will either get you to the place you want to be or completely burn you out, but at least you’re giving it everything you got.

5. The “Pink Slip and Make it Work” Philosophy: which goes…quit your day job. If you need to downsize to make it work initially, then do it. If you need a small part time job on the side to make it work, then go clean bathrooms. Get a smaller house, get rid of DirecTV, fall back in love with Ramen noodles, whatever you need to do. Make sure you have some work lined up and some cushion on money in savings, but understand that unless you accept the risk and jump, you’ll never leave where you are. Worst case scenario is that you use up your savings, lick your wounds, and go get your job back (or a similar one).

So here’s my question(s) to you.

+ If you are in a similar position to me, which of these philosophies are you leaning towards?

+ If you were in my position, but have since moved on to pursue your passions, which philosophy did you employ to transition?

+ If you’ve always been in a job you are passionate about, which philosophy makes the most sense to you?

Would love to hear what you all think of this from YOUR unique perspective.