The #1 Reason You Will Never Quit Your Job

The #1 Reason You Will Never Quit Your Job

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Jason over at Tribe.ly 

72% of us dream about living life on our own terms, escaping the day job, breaking down the cubicle walls and adventuring into business for ourselves. Since you’re reading this blog, I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that you are part of this overwhelming majority. I was too.

In late 2004, I was approaching 9 years at my job. I worked in a management position for the largest privately held corporation in Philadelphia. I was being compensated well with a 6-figure salary and benefits package.

I managed to make a 1 hour commute through traffic into the city in the morning.
I spent an average of 10 hours in the cube daily.
And then another 1 hour commute through traffic back out of the city in the evening.

50% of my life during the week was dedicated to growing someone else’s business.
33% of my life during the week was sleep; replenishing my energy to grow someone else’s business.

That left me with 17% of my life to split between my wife, my two young children, and myself.
I sold 83% of me so I could try and “live on my own terms” 17% of the time.

I was comfortable, but that didn’t stop me from dreaming about what it would look like to live life on my own terms 100%.

You know the dream. You reject the identity of being a cog in someone else’s wheel. There is something inside of you drawing you into a greater purpose… be still; listen.

The Search for Fulfillment

I enjoyed my work, my coworkers, my compensation and quite honestly it wasn’t a bad company to work for at all. I was young, and in a position to be groomed for higher responsibilities and next stages of leadership. My accomplishments and achievements for this company were something to be truly proud of. I was the youngest person in company history to ever be recognized by the President personally for an award. When times got tough for the company, and others were being laid off around me, my job remained. I was really very fortunate to be in the position that I was.

Yet, there was something very wrong. Something inside of me. There was an emptiness and a longing to enter into something bigger. I was completely unfulfilled. I felt underutilized, limited, and held back by corporate politics and ceilings of positional career growth. I had ambitions of offering my talents and strengths to the world outside of the limitations that I felt at the company.

Fulfillment to me didn’t look like a paycheck, or a benefits package, or a stable job, or a career path.

Fulfillment to me, was the pursuit of the dream. I didn’t really have a choice. I was compelled to respond to that spark inside that was calling me into something greater.

The Overwhelming Chasm

As I took inventory of my situation, this is what I saw:

  • Young family, dependent on me as “bread-winner”
  • Big house in the suburbs = big mortgage
  • Debt that we accumulated early on but were chipping away at
  • All savings invested in retirement plan
  • Limited extra time in the day to invest in building my dream
  • Early signs of an economy moving downward

The visual that I was left with was this huge gap between my dream, and my current situation. Imagine standing on the edge of one side of the Grand Canyon. If you’ve ever been there, you know the feeling… your heart skips a few beats and you find yourself breathless as you approach the edge. A massive chasm, very wide and very deep, standing between you and the other side.

The reason most of you will never quit your day job, statistically speaking, is because this chasm will always be insurmountable in your mind. Most of you will systematically attempt to eliminate each item on the list. Everyone’s list of challenges standing in the way is different, and the list is ever-changing with the ebbs and flows of life. In many cases, new items are added faster then you can remove them. It’s only natural for you to work toward eliminating all obstacles; narrowing the chasm so that in the end you can simply step across, without any risk at all.

After 6 months of deliberation, standing on the edge, heavily weighing my own chasm of obstacles, I came to a profound realization. If I’m ever going to go after the dream, and get to the other side, I must jump.

So I jumped.

A Big Shock: After Taking the Leap

We had a little bit of a parachute… some savings and some clients that would give us a bit of time before crashing to the ground.

But it wasn’t enough.

2 years after taking the leap, my family and I watched our house get foreclosed on, our cars get towed away, and our debts climb to unbearable heights. Our marriage was on the rocks… we were both suffering through heavy bouts of depression. We had crashed into the bottom of the canyon floor, and found ourselves completely broken.

If my story ended here, with my family and I in pieces on the ground after a long fall, I honestly do not believe I would be here to write this today. It is critical for you to understand how far we fell and how messed up things got as a result of our choice to jump. Without that perspective and understanding, you wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate what happened next.

You see, the shock wasn’t that we found ourselves crashing, and later picking up the pieces on the bottom floor.

The shock came as we started to piece our lives and ourselves back together… we stumbled upon a remarkable discovery. As we began to help each other up, and stand again, there was something very different about us. We were changed. We had wings. We could fly.

So we flew.

We experienced a wholeness as a family, and wholeness as individuals that we’ve never experienced before. The story that developed and grew out of our brokenness and our newfound ability to fly became a platform, and a place where we could help others. You see, that original dream that we so desperately wanted to reach was replaced with something greater. As we spread our wings and flew up above the canyon, we were able to see life from a new perspective, and were able to recognize that the original dream was too small. Inside of us, existed a new strength and power, an incredible flame, that rose out of our story. The flame has compelled us to inspire, and help people in the various stages of their own process of following their dreams.

It all starts with the spark.

Your Small Spark Can Change the World

My hope is that my story will not scare you from taking the jump into the chasm in your own life, but that it will inspire you into a realization that you have wings to fly. Everyone has their own journey, and yours will look different then mine. Doors will open and they will close. Some will need to be broken more than others, and some will learn how to fly before they reach the bottom.

The small spark inside of you is trying to get your attention. May you respond and allow it to grow into a flame that will compel you to step into your purpose and change the world around you.

As you enter into the next steps in your own journey, I’ve prepared a gift for you to offer further inspiration and support — its a free eBook, “The Tribe Builder’s Manifesto — Your Small Spark Can Change the World“. Please download and share it. I would also love to hear about your story and your spark — please leave a comment below!

About the Author:  Jason writes at TRIBE.LY, a blog about building tribes that can make positive change in the world.

Want to finally wake up excited about your work?

photo courtesy of  jpoage

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99 Comments on "The #1 Reason You Will Never Quit Your Job"

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Jenny
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In the same boat here. A part of me is hating myself because I did quit my job in March, didn’t have a good plan, panicked, and crawled right back to the Corporate world in August. 8 months later my bank account is happy, Im living comfortably and travel (but on only about two weeks of vacation time alloted), but I’m slipping back into the mindset that I can’t do it much longer. Why am I wasting so much of my life for someone else? I just wish I had a solid plan. I have a travel blog Im currently… Read more »
Holly
Guest
I am on my way to starting a business. I have been told that my idea is very good at a local small business development center. Honestly, even though I would love to be well compensated for my idea that is not it. I have two kids, and about two years ago I went through a layoff and a divorce at the same time. My ex lives about 100 miles away with his new wife, and my mom and dad have been 3,000 miles away from me for the last 15 years. What had happened to make me take another… Read more »
Matt Lashley
Guest
Fantastic story. And well-written, to boot. My story is similar, except during a 4 year hitch twenty years ago, I was trained by the USAF in info tech (an industry I had no real desire to be in), then worked for the state on big mainframes, then worked for a mobile software start-up, then started my own failed mobile software start-up (with angel investors), then worked my way into a 6 figure management position — which I left at the end of 2013 because my kiddo had just turned eighteen and I decided, “Now is the time to make the… Read more »
Sarah
Guest

I’ve been scouring hundreds of articles looking for reasons, really good reasons for me to jump and leave my job, and this post just did that. Thanks for inspiring :)

Lina
Guest
I knoe this was posted a few years ago. But guess what..i ended up here because I have all these thoughts in mind about doing what you did..making a change for myself and finding happiness that i had been struggling to maintain due to a lot of different reasons. I am now serving my last month at a full time job that paid me okay, but I was just exhausted with. It doesnt feel like the pay is ever enough when i feel so exhausted overworking myself everday. I will be off to find things that would make me satisfied… Read more »
Donewithmydayjob
Guest
This article is exactly what I needed. I too have a corporate job, close to 6 figure salary, great benefits and perks – but a big void in my life! The only reason I work is to exist (pay bills etc). At 35, I want to take a leap but my husband does not have a stable job – so fear that it may have some consequences. Most of our savings are vested in retirement funds, and we have no children yet! A few days ago I sat at work in a closed booth – crying – hating every moment… Read more »
Maqsood
Guest

Nice very Nice.
I think you are lucky have 17% to spend with your family, what the job I am doing in which,
12 hours Duty
03 hours of transport preparation for duty.
07 hours Rest
only getting 2 hours ( 8 % of my my life to have on net or personnel works at shared room).
nothing more routine life like a machine.
I have a spark, but afraid of Leap.

Mary Mercer
Guest

I can’t get this to download, I need to read this. I’ve been at my same job nearly 20 years, no salary change in 7 years, no benefits, 1 week vacation. I guess my loyalty won’t let me leave. I have been married to my best friend and husband for 37 years. Any idea how I can get the ebook?
Blessings for all of the stories.

Mavis
Guest
I’m standing near the edge with a bungee cord tied to me. Yes, I want to take that leap by leaving my current job but at the same time I’m holding onto it as I know I need it to pay the bills and essentially live. “Paid to Exist” is exactly how I feel right now and I know that it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life, which is why I am taking action to learn what my passion is, to develop the “authentic” me so I can ultimately release that bungee cord and… Read more »
Senea
Guest
I’ve gone through this metamorphosis of sorts where I’might in and out of the cycle of desiring to leave the typical 9-5 to live out my passions. I’ve stumbled out on faith only to run back to the comfort of the corporate world. I have always felt as if there is more to lifeven than the standard we are taught early on to sustain. It’s always the fear of what if things go horribly wrong. Anyway I love how your journey chronolized your rise and fall, then rise again. It’s a scary world but your story has inspired me because… Read more »
Tarus Jackson
Guest

I have worked for a year and it has come to my realization that life is not about what you are now , its not just about the salary I take home. I want to do something I wake every morning , smile knowing that there is lots of possibilities out there. Where my hard work will equal to my return …. not when I land but after the spark.

I wish to draft that resign letter.

Kasey
Guest

My wife says my job isn’t good enough even though I make 15 an hour she makes more though she says my life has no direction and I’m satisfied where I’m at well I was b 4 she said she wants to leave me I like my job and pay my bills why isn’t that enough I’m scared of losing her and daughter but should I have to jump threw all these hoops for her love

John
Guest
This is a cult. I mean that seriously. You guys are out of your minds to take life advice from these fools. Get a game plan. Figure out what you want and get it. Don’t just “jump”. Take risks, but calculate them. There is no valid information in this article- just shock and buzz words and phrases to make you think it’s something groundbreaking. Then it’s turning around and having you build someone else’s dream by making you think it’s something you want. Laughable at best. Of course this comment won’t make it to the comments section, but I figured… Read more »
Tanisha
Guest
Thank you so much for your blog! I find this to be very encouraging as I am at point of taking that the leap, but I am really scared. I am a single mom of two girls and their fathers are absent which makes it extremely difficult to make ends meet. I have founded and incorporated a nonprofit organization to support women who are homeless and abused. There is a fire in me that is burning so hot to leave my job and promote my organization, but the fear of the unknown is killing me. I have a good job… Read more »
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[…] Angela Clark’s story of leaving a $300k job […]

AR
Guest
Hi Jonathan Thanks to google that i landed up at your blog I am in a a very similar situation and i am going to spill the beans to the owner of the company soon(read 1st April ) Started with this organization as a Country Manager , Director and now Managing Director for the last 5 years I feel obligated to my employers as they have been amazing and provided me an opportunity of a life time – THEN , with a few issues which are normal in any organization – nothing to complain about I have a side business… Read more »
Crystal
Guest

I have a question for all of you…would you have been more happy in the same job but instead you worked 3 days a week but were paid half the salary and only health benefits? Would it have been enough time to pursue your other life goals and keep you financially stable?

Maria Little
Guest
My husband, two dogs and I had a dream in 2014. We wanted to move from the cold north to the warm south, become real estate agents, finish my memoir, begin our children’s book series and experience a new way of living. We live in Texas, are nearly finished with the first kids book, I am a real estate agent, nearly done with my memoir, and pitching my book to a NYC agent this month. The first week we moved to Texas we were in a major car accident, hit head on by a UHAUL. My dogs and I got… Read more »
Bob
Guest
In October 2007 on a job I had for 3 1/2 years (I really liked my coworkers) but management was well I can’t use that kind of language here. So I got up at 3:15 on 10/1/2007 and walked off my job and I never looked back. I went to Europe. So this article is good in a way but if you are going to sit around and wait for someone to hand you what you want or are dreaming of, you are going to be waiting a long time. There is a great book by Susan Jeffers “Feel the… Read more »
Eve
Guest
I would love to hear what happened during those 2 years of your life when you were at the bottom. I believe you had all kinds of skills and experience to get at least part time job and still have a lot of time to yourself. 2 years of instability with children, losing a house is something insane considering you were a valuable employee before. Maybe you explained all this somehwere in the comments or other posts, but I didn’t see. Please point me to the explanation of this way of thinking. You skipped the best part. 2 years is… Read more »
Ana
Guest
So here I am, pretty much where you are. Realizing my life belongs to someone else. I make 6 figures, I have a little bit of freedom in my time, but the view from the top is not better. I am constantly anxious. I can’t sleep and I feel m job is eating my soul. My husband and I do not have kids. We have both lived fairly frugally. I have no debt anymore and he is paying off his. Including our mortgage. I have about 2 years of basic expenses saved. I want to quit and start my own… Read more »
Suzanne
Guest

I love this story. My story is pretty similar as I had a six-figure salary and a decent job but I also felt the disconnect between my time and how much of it I was giving up for a salary. I made the leap but am only in the beginning of my journey. Your story is very inspiring.

Danny Vermette
Guest
Thanks for this article. I quit my full-time job just over a month ago without having done much planning. I felt comfortable doing it that way precisely because I don’t have anyone depending on my financially, so the risk I took was mine alone. For me it was also important to think about what was likely to happen if I didn’t quit my job. Was I going to talk myself out of trying something new? Would I get so burned out at work that I became ineffective at my job? Was I likely to see any growth in that job… Read more »
Brian Sypniewski
Guest

I took the leap 8 months ago and I’m still falling. I’m just getting by and slowly feel my depression growing. I know I wasn’t happy at my last job. The work was boring and the work schedule was rotating swing shift 6 days a week. My body and mind just couldn’t take it anymore. I always was saying. “There has to be more to life then this” even tho I’m scared and have no clue how I’m going to get by next month I glad I jumped. I hope I find whatever I’m looking for

Cate
Guest
I have been debating on this for two years now and have listened to HUNDREDS of videos on YouTube and read blogs trying to get the courage to make the leap. I have nothing to fall back on financially however if I did make this leap, it would give me more time to go door to door of local clothing shops and offer alteration services. I am also just starting a blog on Statement Analysis and hoping that will one day bring in speaking and teaching tours. I make some money doing alterations but not enough to pay the rent… Read more »

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