Why Quitting Your Job Won’t Solve All Your Problems

Why Quitting Your Job Won’t Solve All Your Problems

There’s been a lot of energy and conversation lately around the topics of lifestyle design and following your passion.

Some people will tell you that quitting your job and doing what you love is a panacea for all of life’s problems. It’s the cure for what’s ailing the stressed out, overworked, and underengaged human.

The truth is obvious: quitting your job will definitely not solve all of your problems. Just as finding your One True Love, or the One True Religion won’t magically make all of your problems go away either.

With anything that we strive for, the grass usually seems greener on the other side. It can be hard not to romanticize the achievement of your goal. But the truth is that the road to the summit may not always be easy, and when we get there, we may find ourselves with the same mind we came there with, asking “What next?”

If you’re relying on something external to solve your problems, and you attain that external solution, you’ll likely be in a position to create another ideal, and another set of problems. With that comes another set of judgments about where you want to go, and inevitably, more striving.

The truth is, nothing beyond yourself will set you free. Freedom is a state of mind. You have the choice, right now, to do whatever you want. Will there be consequences or ripple events created based on your decisions? Yes. But that freedom to do what you want is always within your grasp, now.

I think a lot of people want to quit their jobs because the situation of working for yourself brings a sense of more freedom and control. And that is a real shift, in a situational context.

But there are limitations to working for yourself, to the perfect relationship, or anything else we might want.

So maybe it’s not the lack of limits that we’re seeking. Maybe we simply want to choose how we create our own limits, on our own terms.

Looking back, that’s why I wanted to quit my job. I thought it would bring me freedom, and yes, I too romanticized what that reality would be like once I “escaped.”

But these days I’m realizing more and more that freedom is something that we have access to right now. Anytime you rely on something else for it, you give your power to that something else. And that’s definitely not freedom.

If you want to quit your job or pursue any dream, realize that it is not a destination that brings you freedom. It’s exercising your power to be free right now that allows you to choose working for yourself.

Sometimes we need a reminder that freedom is something freely accessed, regardless of our life situation.

Let’s not forget that.

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103 Comments on "Why Quitting Your Job Won’t Solve All Your Problems"

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sunagape
Guest

One of the most liberating moments in my life was the day I decided to stop having problems. Problems weighed me down, and hurt my feelings. Now, what I called problems, I call challenges, or “things,” and they are much easier to handle. Although it is just a word, it is a powerful word with lots of baggage. Becoming aware of our own loaded terminology can go a long way to giving us that sense of freedom.

JonathanMead
Guest

@sunagape Yeah imagine that, we can actually choose to not have problems. Crazy idea, eh?

JeffMunn
Guest
Well said, Jonathan. I can’t tell you how many people I have worked with who thought they would be escaping their problems by leaving their jobs. And this is especially true for people who have a lot of stress. I knew a guy who left his high powered law firm job to take a job in the government. And soon he was complaining that he was working the same hours as he did at his old for for a third of the pay. I knew a woman who left her law firm to come to the consulting firm where I… Read more »
Relationship Advice for Women
Guest

Stress can add up quickly when you hate what you do– and especially if you don’t agree with the ethics at your company!

LoraleeHutton
Guest

Love this Jonathan. In leaving my “job” many years ago, I found myself creating a business with “many bosses” and although I was able to make daily choices to create freedom within that business, what I learned was I could have done the very same thing, while working at my fun ‘job’. I just didn’t know it yet. So, stepping out and seeing ME creating the fun, and the mess was the best gift I could give myself. Its really about the journey, not the destination, isn’t it? Loralee

Conni
Guest
Ah you are so right, Mister Mead! Thanks for that post. I also believe that a lot of people overestimate what quitting their job would do for them.. After the initial high, they might find themselves being miserable again, because they didn’t actually solve their true problem. Not too long ago I was miserable living in paradise working my dream job under water. So I went and looked for a better paradise with a better dream job. Same thing after a while. I didn’t solve the root of my problem of feeling miserable just by changing my life situation!! It’s… Read more »
JonathanMead
Guest

@Conni I never thought I’d enjoy being called “Mister Mead.” :)

Yeah, unfortunately we take our minds with us wherever we go.

JonWilburn
Guest

Jonathan,

So good. I’ve realized in the most recent of days that it is about mindset. Thanks for putting yourself out there.

Jon

JonathanMead
Guest

@JonWilburn Absolutely, thanks for stopping by Jon.

LJP
Guest
Jonathan, I romanticized what “freedom” would be like too! I had this romantic vision of what life would be like working from home–networking with people in my jammies because..hey..they’ll NEVER know, going to bed/waking up whenever (or wherever), working with a pint of beer in one hand at a bar with wifi…yeah I thought I’d be living THE life.. but that’s not exactly what happened lol. Yes, these days, I do have more flexibility with my time but now as I look back, my belief of what “freedom” meant to me in the past, seemed so unrealistic. Don’t get me… Read more »
NeonPaul
Guest

Romanticising things can be a real hurdle. When you convince yourself of this perfect idea of the future and that there is only one road to follow, it completely throws you off when things don’t go exactly the way you planned.

JonathanMead
Guest

@NeonPaul Right, that’s when you set yourself up for a big let down. Living without expectations is much more enjoyable, but also a difficult thing to do.

myoneresolution
Guest

I, too, have fallen prey to the philosophy that the grass is greener on the other side. But if we’re always living for that next best thing, always striving for the freedom to come, we can too easily miss enjoying the freedom we now have. We give our future too much control over us.

Kate England
Guest
It’s true, the idea of starting your own business is wildly spread as the end all solution to any kind of dissatisfaction. Very little is said about the typical problems that people who actually do start their own businesses run into. Topics such as how you continue to evolve as an entrepreneur, how you handle the ebb and flow, how you create your own corporate culture or how you can continue to be passionate about something year in and year out. I think a lot of people who really are looking for a sense of fulfillment and meaning, get stuck… Read more »
LJP
Guest

wow… i applaud this. very well said:) @Kate England

Kate England
Guest

@LJP Thank you kindly! :)

keashkl
Guest

@Kate England I really like what you’ve said here, too. I often feel like I’m not doing enough when I look at the plethora of blogs and newsletters and cool websites. I absolutely know that I am unique and have something wonderful to give to the world. I just need to practice how to not get wrapped up in the growing popularity contest of the digital world. With so much information available to us, we have to go inside to listen to what our hearts truly desire.

Kate England
Guest

Yes, I think I know what you mean, comparison can be a creativity and confidence killer! To me, Jonathan’s essential reminder that “freedom is something freely accessed, regardless of our life situation” really brings it home that we can make space for that freedom in different ways, within our internal process.

actorjoe64
Guest

@Kate England My God, Kate. Not to get off Jonathan’s topic but I gotta tell you your last point is resonating with me too. I’ve had to really evaluate my FACEBOOK activities because I’ve been feeling like it’s becoming Digital “High School” with all it’s drama and competition for likes and dis-likes. I’ve had to restrict it to once a week and I’ve started feeling better for it.

settermjd
Guest
Jonathon, I totally understand the idea and myth of “if I get to x then all will be right with my life”. And I have also left my full time role to pursue the course of a business that is all mine. But through a very strong and level headed partner (friends and family) I’ve entered it with the most level headed approach that I believe I can given what I know right now. Doing “your own thing” is exciting, but it’s also a lot of responsibility and not to mention hard work. It’s been rewarding so far and I… Read more »
JonathanMead
Guest

@settermjd Whenever someone tells me they’ll read something more than once, I think to myself that I’m on to something. Thanks man.

settermjd
Guest

Anytime.

rewirebusiness
Guest
Jonathan, This is a really great way to get into the present. I think that when we think of leaving our jobs, it equates to freedom because in so many cases we definitely feel a sense of entrapment, loss of creativity, etc. (I’m sure you felt some of these as well). The solution, in my mind, is being able to realize that leaving the job, the relationship, the work, etc., doesn’t solve anything. The solving comes from within and it starts where ever you are right now – – in the present moment. Figuring out why you harbor those feelings… Read more »
spiritsentient
Guest
Fantastic post Jon, and I certainly understand from experience. I quit my job and dumped my girlfriend all in one night 7 years ago. That being said, I`d like to clarify the ‘good’/’bad’ job-quitting. I see quitting a job, for most people… like this: 1. Your heart is telling you to quit your job. 1a. You quit it with a great, well-thought-out plan and conscious mindset, moving on to something far better. 1b. You quit it without a plan, but you`ve gotta follow your heart, and with step 1 done, you trust your intuition to guide you step 2, with… Read more »
rewirebusiness
Guest

@spiritsentient I really liked your comment….and definitely love the transition through the steps….i think most people want to go from 1a to 1d..without the in between work

JonathanMead
Guest

@rewirebusiness@spiritsentient I agree, this is probably one of the best laid out illustrations of the steps most people take. There’s definitely a conscious and more unconscious way to do it.

spiritsentient
Guest

@JonathanMead@rewirebusiness Glad you guys are feelin’ it! Great community and great conversation over here, and always thrilled when I can contribute :) Thanks all!

excitedbylife
Guest
I quit my job 3 months ago now, primarily for health reasons, but also after seeing my father moved into a retirement home unable to enjoy his retirement due to age and health. I am a great believer in mini-retirements where you save up enough to take a year off from work to explore delayed goals and dreams. Why wait until you’re too old? To a certain extent, I do agree that our attitude that counts and not any given job situation. In the words of Victor Frankl, “The last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one’s attitude… Read more »
JonathanMead
Guest

@excitedbylife That’s a great reminder. I’m incredibly amazed by people like Victor. Attitude is a potent thing.

Steve Marquez
Guest
This so resonates with me Jonathan. It’s all to easy to think that the next job, or next lifestyle change, or next relationship will ‘fix’ us – and the truth is it won’t. The only way to ‘fix’ ourselves (if indeed we are ‘broken’) is from the inside. Moving from a 9-5 to working for yourself may appear to be the answer but i think it’s important to remember that we take ourselves with us – and it may be that all we do is swop the stress of the 9-5 for worry about the state of our own business… Read more »
myspanishadv
Guest

Wow! What a post and something I’ve been struggling with stronger than ever recently. I’ve shipped out to Spain having quit my job in search of freedom and still find my self asking those very same questions you answer here. For me freedom comes with asking “what’s next?” I might only get the feeling fleetingly but without asking that question I would definitely feel more chained.

JonathanMead
Guest

@myspanishadv At least you’re asking questions. It’s more than most people do. :)

maialondon
Guest

It’s so true. Freedom seems to me to equals happiness and both are something we should have access to right now and just decide to be happy and free all the time and not when and if we achieve all our goals and desires. We still need goals, but we need to be happy with whatever we have right now. If you’re going to quite your job, you should have a plan.

maialondon
Guest

It’s so true. Freedom seems to me to equals happiness and both are something we should have access to right now and just decide to be happy and free all the time and not when and if we achieve all our goals and desires. We still need goals, but we need to be happy with whatever we have right now. And If you’re going to quite your job, you should have a plan.

livelovework
Guest
I absolutely love this topic and I agree completely. What I write about in my blog is loving and making the best of the work-life you have. There are plenty of blogs about getting the life you want, and many of them are great blogs. Still, I have found greater joy and happiness by working on myself, starting with what I have today. I don’t believe success, happiness and personal satisfaction are the result of our external circumstance- they are the result of our internal circumstance. When I grow and focus on living a positive, healthy life, my external situation… Read more »
PaigeBurkes
Guest
I totally agree with your message here. I’ve changed jobs and relationships looking for something better for decades. Since I always brought the same “me” into the new situation, the situations tended to repeat themselves. After a while I started to see the patterns and got tired of repeating them. I recognized that I was the root of my problem, not the people and things around me. Taking real responsibility for my life and not playing the victim by blaming people and situations for the things I didn’t like was the turning point in my life. That was when I… Read more »
actorjoe64
Guest

THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU!!! I really needed to hear this TODAY!!!! For the past year I’ve kept saying over and over again to myself( and those who will listen) that every satisfaction you are seeking out of life has to be come from the INTERNAL….NOT THE EXTERNAL!! You are sooooo on point on this. Thanks Again!!!

actorjoe64
Guest

THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU!!! I really needed to hear this TODAY!!!! For the past year I’ve kept saying over and over again to myself( and those who will listen) that every satisfaction you are seeking out of life has to come from the INTERNAL….NOT THE EXTERNAL!! You are sooooo on point on this. Thanks Again!!!

Fairground Media
Guest
Good stuff. Reminds me of a time my own mother insulted me! I was still working a corporate web development job, complaining over the phone, explaining that my job was the reason I hadn’t called her in months. She went on to tell me she doubted I’d be happy anywhere, and I’d be crazy to leave a job that paid so well for “no good reason.” Though I did eventually leave, I’m glad she gave me the kick in the pants to meditate on what it was ABOUT the job/role/atmosphere that made me so miserable. Otherwise, be it at another… Read more »
JeannieSpiro
Guest
I’ve been in corporate for many years and only over the last several have I also created a solo business. When I first started it I had the dream that I could take a leap of faith and quit my job, money would come and all would work out.However with two children and many responsibilities logic and reason took over and I carefully and strategically have plans in place. I’ve watch many of my friends and classmates leave their jobs with the expectation that they would be happier pursuing their passion. The reality is that you trade some pros and… Read more »
Tanja @ Crystal Clarity
Guest
Tanja @ Crystal Clarity

Great post, Jonathan, and SO important to be aware of! What’s the old saying “wherever you go, there you are”? I’m lucky in that I really enjoy 90% (maybe even 95%) of my job; and I think that recognising that – valuing it and appreciating it – is key to making sure that when I do finally get to the point where I’m ready to launch my own business, I don’t end up moving backwards instead of forwards.

g24
Guest
A few years ago I left full time employment to work for myself and yes, the freedom was liberating. I wish I had done it sooner but fear and procrastination saw me hang on until there was almost no choice. Full time employment – the conventional day job – forces structure and routine upon our lives and when that goes, something is needs to replace it. One important point I have since come to realise is that while quitting your job brings great freedom, you do have to change your thinking and work harder to unlock that potential. In many… Read more »
Qwertio33
Guest

One things this made me think of is that I can re-frame my day job as ‘working for myself’ because I am using the resources I get from it to springboard my business. So really, as I work in my 9-5, it’s still freeing because I am choosing to use those resources to continue toward my ultimate goals.

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[…] and one that will hopefully stick with you as well. Now I don’t mean for you to immediately quit your job and start to travel (although I do think it would provide you with the appropriate perspective), […]

deev67
Guest
Thanks for this post Jonathan – so what I needed to hear right now. I am very guilty of falling into that trap – thinking something else is going to make me happy and bring me freedom. I have craved freedom my whole life and feel trapped in the life I have. But what you and all the comments are saying is correct – quitting my job may make me happy and give me the feeling of freedom for a while. But what happens once that wears off? I’ll probably go right back to being unhappy and miserable with the… Read more »
Marya | Writing Happiness
Guest
I quit law because it wasn’t me. I quit marketing to take up teaching. I quit my job to stay home with my kids. I quit my job as a stay at home Mum to start blogging. All this time I have been writing. Quitting took place because it was the right choice at that time and although it significantly reduced my problems, never did it solve them completely. Challenges come with whatever you keep or whatever you quit. Thanks for a thought provoking post. :) Marya Thankfully I read the post about embracing multipotentialities or I would be soo… Read more »
Lakenliv
Guest
I, too, have felt trapped in jobs that have felt meaningless, but only lately have I become aware of the importance of choosing a job or lifestyle based on value rather than skills only. There are many things I’m good at, and saying yes to new challenges and learning opportunities is one of them. This has made me a true job hopper. With me, the challenge has always been to find meaning in a position when I’ve acquired the skills needed. I’ve always looked at jobs -and life- as something to learn from. Having a job has never been my… Read more »
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[…] Why Quitting Your Job Won’t Solve All Your Problems “If you’re relying on something external to solve your problems, and you attain that external solution, you’ll likely be in a position to create another ideal, and another set of problems. With that comes another set of judgments about where you want to go, and inevitably, more striving. […]

ArthurHung
Guest
**So maybe it’s not the lack of limits that we’re seeking. Maybe we simply want to choose how we create our own limits, on our own terms.?**This comment really spoke to me, and I intend to offer the right words of praise here for it: “Yea! I like this post lots. Like a kid who’s in a toystore, we already know what we like and what it means is to be ourselves on ever deeper levels no matter who we become, cuz we’re growing so fast, we gotta SPIRAL with ourselves, with our hearts, body and mind ——- together ——-… Read more »
Stuart Mills
Guest
Hi Jonathan, I too have struggled with the self-imposed confines that I believe a job brought onto me. I was at one job for just over 2 years, until I was made redundant, and I told myself that it was the job’s fault for making me stressed and unhappy. Sure, it wasn’t a challenging job, and I wasn’t given much opportunity, but there lies the point – I wasn’t GIVEN much opportunity. I made no attempt to seek it out myself. Happiness is found in ourselves, but it’s made a lot easier when we create favourable situations for ourselves. Situations… Read more »
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Rebecca Tracey
Guest

ahhhhh – ye olde “arrival fallacy”, thinking that getting from point A to B will make you happy (I used to see it with weight loss all the time when I was a nutritionist). Then when you get to B, you realized YOU, at your core, didn’t necessarily change because your circumstances changed, and you start seeking out C, thinking THAT’S what will finally make you happy. Our brains really are funny aren’t they!?

bretthenley
Guest
Dude – “It’s exercising your power to be free right now that allows you to choose working for yourself.” YES. It’s the work, the process, that creates the right mindset for freedom. I”m going to firmly step out on that proverbial limb and say this: No plan will ever truly prepare you for what’s next. I see so many responses to posts on living your passion or leaving your job focused on the need to be strategic. I’d advocate that you need to take action, immediately, no matter how small. Start something every day (by something I don’t mean jumping… Read more »
bretthenley
Guest
Dude – “It’s exercising your power to be free right now that allows you to choose working for yourself.” YES. It’s the work, the process, that creates the right mindset for freedom. I”m going to firmly step out on that proverbial limb and say this: No plan will ever truly prepare you for what’s next. I see so many responses to posts on living your passion or leaving your job focused on the need to be strategic. I’d advocate that you need to take action, immediately, no matter how small. Start something every day (by something I don’t mean jumping… Read more »
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