In February, I quit my job. I decided last summer that the 9-5 corporate grind was not for me, and I devised an exit strategy to replace my salary by working half the time. This is the best career move I have ever made. Why? Read on.
For 15 years, I worked in the corporate world, including top-tier advertising agencies in Philadelphia, law firms, the United States Attorney’s Office, and a nonprofit. These jobs were great learning experiences, and I got to work with some tremendous talent along the way. But one of the lessons learned was that corporate life isn’t for me.
What I Disliked About Corporate Life
As you move up the corporate ladder, the more meetings you have. Meetings are an enormous waste of time. Rather than doing work, people talk about doing work. Worse yet, these meetings go on for far too long. Often, people forget what was discussed, and the can gets kicked down the road until the next meeting. I got to the point where I had seven meetings in a day, barely leaving time to go to the bathroom or eat in between. They were draining, unproductive, and an absurd waste of time.
Email was another bane of my existence. In the corporate world, being responsive and accessible is paramount, meaning you have bosses who email you when they (and you) should be sleeping. They expect you to respond to emails within a ridiculous time frame, which does nothing but distract you from the work you should be doing. I’ve seen people labor over an email for an hour or more, dissecting every word and how the receiving party might perceive it. Meanwhile, they could have talked to the individual in person or called them to resolve the matter in five minutes or less. Email shouldn’t be checked more than twice a day (at most), and countless business books have said just as much, but good luck convincing your boss to adopt this approach.
Time is our most important resource. It can never be replenished. Even though I’m still in my 30s, I value my time more than anything. I realized that my time in the corporate environment was being wasted. Here I was, letting someone else control my time, dictating what should be done and when. The worst part is I had some bosses who thought tasks should be done concurrently as if I were a team of people working on a vaccine. Let me debunk a myth: there is no such thing as multitasking. There is only task shifting. It is impossible to work on more than one task at a time. Science has shown that completing tasks leads to productivity and satisfaction, not task shifting.
In my teens and early 20s, I worked as a cashier at a grocery store, thinking, “I can’t wait until I have a salaried position.” Once I got to the corporate world, I realized that a salaried job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You forfeit your time and freedom for a salary. What do you get in return? In most cases, underpaid and mediocre benefits. And you have to work more than 40 hours a week, including at night and on weekends, to avoid getting laid off. What do you get in return for going the extra mile? More work! At least at the grocery store, I got paid extra for working holidays and Sundays. Everyone is disposable in the corporate world. Any employee can get laid off at any time. So, why not be in control of your destiny? Why not spend time realizing your dreams and making yourself rich rather than doing so for someone else? These are the questions I asked myself.
Finding a Solution
My cousin, Jimmy, has been a writer, working from home since he graduated from college. Over the years, I dabbled in freelance writing to see what it was like. I had a knack for it, but I never went all in. That all changed in February.
Jimmy connected me with a client of his. I explained to them how I wanted to quit my job and replace my income by writing from home on a freelance basis. I did the math and quickly realized that I could work 20 hours a week writing and replace my entire annual salary from my most recent job. If I become even more efficient, I can make more money. So, unlike the corporate world, if I work smarter (not harder), I make more money. I realized I’d be a fool not to do this, so I put the wheels in motion, and my exit strategy was in place.
This plan was in place six months before I left my job, so those six months dragged on like you wouldn’t believe. Thankfully, my son, Oliver, was born during this time, so I was off for six weeks realizing that parenthood is the most demanding job ever. But the presence of my little man made me value my time even more. I never want to work nights or weekends again because I want to spend that time with him.
What Life Looks Like Now
What does my life look like now? Every week, I write anywhere from 15 to 20 SEO-optimized articles for clients. That takes no more than 20 hours a week (sometimes less). In the morning, I drop Oliver off at daycare, and I pick him up at the end of the day. I no longer have any meetings, so there’s no need to rush my writing or my quality time with Oliver.
Having an additional 20 hours in my week means I can spend more time working on my book about the first 20 years of TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, so that can come to fruition sooner rather than later. I’ve also been offered the opportunity to teach at local universities. In two weeks, I will start teaching Event Planning during the day at Drexel University. As a former professor at Temple University, I can’t wait to return to the classroom.
I also use my free time to write more content for my website, conduct interviews for my YouTube channel, play video games, and participate in countless activities that bring me joy. My time is mine again, and I hope this shift in my approach to work and life sets an excellent example for my son. He should know that there are many ways to earn a living and that doing so shouldn’t mean having to sacrifice your worth, your potential, or your time.