I Quit My Job Because My Sanity is More Important Than Money

I Quit My Job Because My Sanity is More Important Than Money

Last updated on June 30th, 2019 at 09:52 pm.

It was 10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. Just an ordinary morning in late February; the weather was nice, albeit gloomy.

I walked into a conference room where my manager waited. This meeting was a weekly “checkpoint” where we would review a performance improvement plan.

I walked into the room knowing this meeting would not be necessary that day. Why not? Because by the time I left that room, I would have resigned my position.

If you want to know how to quit a job, I’m not sure this is the right way to do it. But it’s one way to do it. I quit my job without another one lined up. More on that later…

Thinking about quitting your job? I quit my job, and I ended up much happier.

My Journey into – and Exodus from – the Corporate World

Here’s what you should know about me: I’m not always the most decisive person.  As a result, I entered college not really knowing what I wanted to do with my life. I picked English as my major because I had become a bit of an English nerd in high school, and it was my best section on the ACT.

The problem is that nothing I’ve said here translates to good job opportunities. There isn’t a whole lot you can do with an English degree. I knew I didn’t want to teach English, and being an author wasn’t exactly a dream of mine.

A Change of pace

After freshman year, I knew I had a decision to make. I was attending a private university that cost quite a bit of money.  I would need a job that pays well.

So I thought about my interests.  My interests other than English, of course. I had always been a bit of a computer nerd as well. I used to mess around with things like Linux. I wasn’t exactly a computer “whiz,” but I’d say I was much more savvy with them than the average person.

I get bored easily so I loved just playing around with different operating systems to see how they work. I like to mix things up. Monotony is the bane of my existence. I also learned a lot about how different computer systems worked in the process.

My first computer was a mishmash of hand-me-down parts I managed to get my hands on at the age of 11. I took it apart and taught myself all the internal components and how they fit together.

I also knew that technology was a much better field in terms of job prospects. Plus, I would need to make good money to pay down those private education loans.

So, to start sophomore year, I switched to IT as my major.

From then until graduation, things went pretty well. I wasn’t the absolute best in school, either, but I still graduated in four years.

A career, or just a job?

Between the time I graduated from college and the time I left the corporate world, I bounced around between several jobs. I honestly don’t have any major complaints about most of them.

So, why did I change jobs so often?

The truth is that I was never really happy or satisfied in the corporate world. And not many people really are, but many seem to handle it better than I did. Plus, as I mentioned before, I just get bored easily.

I also hated the commute. Seriously. Loathed it. Not only that, but having to be in the office five days a week. My jobs have always been possible to do remotely, but physically being in the office was always required.

Of course, management always says it’s because being there leads to “better collaboration.” I suppose to an extent, they’re right…but I never fully bought that. I just think employers don’t trust their employees to be responsible and get  their work done.

I mean…we’re adults. We can handle work. And if you don’t trust us, why did you hire us?

But hey – that’s just my take on it.

Regardless, I was never happy with the whole experience. I pushed for higher salaries – with some degree of success. I tried switching to different jobs, with what I thought would be more interesting responsibilities. And I thought if I did all though, maybe it would get better.

Except it didn’t. I never stopped hating it.

Student loans: (Partly) the reason I Quit My Job

As I mentioned earlier, I attended a private university. This left me with nearly six figures in student loan debt – something I tend to mention quite a bit. But that is obviously because having that much debt is, well, a big deal.

Also as I mentioned earlier, that was one of my biggest reasons for wanting an IT job with a good salary. That would help me repay my student loans faster.

Well, in August of 2017 – shortly before starting this blog – I did just that. I finished repaying my student loans.

At that time, I didn’t plan to make any major changes. Part of me wanted to leave, but I knew I was nowhere near financial independence. So I figured would keep doing the traditional work thing indefinitely.

After all, that’s what middle-class people do, right?

That’s what I thought. Turns out, I couldn’t swing it. I just wasn’t happy and I was getting unhappier by the week.

And since my student loans were paid off, I no longer needed the level of income I needed before. Not to mention the fact that I will soon be moving from a 1 BR apartment to a house with roommates.

So, the reduced income needs in terms of supporting my monthly expenses plus my general unhappiness made this seem like the best course of action.

Oh yeah, and I was on the verge of getting fired, anyway.

I Quit My Job without another one!

The truth is that I had been having issues at work for a while. In fact, the first time things went awry was in December of 2017 – only a few months into the job.

However,  due to the complexity of the work environment, this wasn’t actually discovered until several months later – I believe it was in June of 2018.

But it didn’t stop there. I won’t bore you with the details – partly because I can’t remember all of them. Basically, I started being put through a series of disciplinary actions over the next several months.

And to be honest, it was probably me, at least to an extent. I just wasn’t happy. I was very close to the tipping point, and being in that kind of place makes focusing very difficult.

In this post I talk about how to quit a job - or how I did, anyway.
Staying at a job you don't enjoy is not fun.

But I also think it was the job. I don’t feel I was trained as well as I should have been. Especially for someone who didn’t have prior experience at this type of job.

I did try expressing that concern at times, but not much changed.

So, on that Tuesday morning, I walked into the conference room and I quit my job. I couldn’t decide how I was going to quit, but eventually, I decided to just do it. I was done. I couldn’t keep pretending to be happy and I was probably going to get fired anyway.

But I didn’t even want to let it get to that point. This job wasn’t where I wanted to be, so I had no real motivation to try to improve. It made sense to just move on.

Sometimes, your sanity is more important than money. Sometimes, you have to take care of yourself. And sometimes, going into an office every day isn't taking care of yourself. Click To Tweet
If you don’t take care of yourself, you aren’t going to make it.

Or, at least I wasn’t.

What’s Next?

The slightly crazy thing about all this is that I’m not really sure what’s next. Quitting your job without another one might seem a bit crazy, but that’s what I did.

I didn’t intend to do things this way.  As Grant Sabatier suggests in his new book, Financial Freedom, I intended to use my job as a “launch pad” into my non-traditional career.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, either. I would say it’s partly because of my indecisiveness, but it’s probably more because I’ve never done this before.

I would love to find clients for various freelance projects, but even that is difficult if not impossible if you don’t know what you’re doing. And sure, there are job boards, but those are either insanely competitive or the pay is insultingly low.

Writing, SEO, and…?

Although I don’t have an exact plan for what I am going to do now, the first thought is to start getting into freelance writing. I am going to intentionally put this off until I get back from Europe, though. That way, I can enjoy the trip and then hit the ground running when I get back. I’ll be there from the last week in March until the second week in April.

Also per Grant’s advice, I am probably going to look into picking up as many income streams as possible. This is in part because what he says is true – more income streams = more financial security. But beyond that, I don’t currently have a single income stream that could come anywhere close to replacing a full-time income.

As a result, I may try getting into some SEO optimization projects. I know Grant said he did this as one of his side hustles, and it’s something I had already considered. The only thing is, again, finding clients can be a struggle.

And…of course, working on the blog. I’ve mentioned monetizing it here and there in the past. Due to no longer having a 9-5, I will be pushing more for that. I mentioned in my first anniversary post some of the ways I will make this more of a priority.

Building a Better Network

This is certainly not the last piece of the puzzle, but it is an important one.

I’ve never been the best at networking, but being a blogger has made me understand its true importance.

Why? Mostly because if someone reaches out to me for a collaboration, if I don’t know that person, I will not usually be very receptive to it. Why would I want to work with that guy if I don’t even know him…?

Oh. Right. If you turn that on its head, you see why I need to do a better job of networking.

And that will definitely be a push this year. I recently joined my local FinCon group and will be much more active with those events. I attended not one, but two book signings for Grant’s new book.

I’m not saying I expect any of these things to automatically lead to opportunities. But that’s not the point. It’s about building relationships. It’s about putting yourself out there and making yourself known. Then, maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll come to mind when that person comes across the right opportunity.

None of this is guaranteed, obviously, but it’s usually worth  building those relationships. So that’s what I am trying to do!

In Closing

Wow, this post went on longer than I thought it would. I’m probably lucky if you’re still here!

For now, I will continue to work on this blog, and I’ll be hustling harder than ever before. After all, I’ve got nothing better to do, right? Well, other than traveling the world. Unfortunately, that does require money – even if you can fly for free.

Who knows – I may even try some version of barista FIRE.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll catch you on Twitter or with my next post!

What are good reasons for leaving a job? In this post I discuss why I chose to leave.

Bob Haegele

Hey there. My name is Bob and I blog about personal finance here at The Frugal Fellow. In particular, I focus on topics related to student loans, investing, credit cards, and sometimes sustainability. Interested in starting a blog? Find out how to become a blogger!

This Post Has 43 Comments

  1. Yikes. Brave move! Enjoy the break and good luck on your new adventure.

    1. Thank you. 🙂

  2. I feel the same way about my job! Hopefully once I pay off my student loans I can do the same 🙂

    1. Why not!? The more you can reduce your expenses, the more flexible you can be.

      …only caveat to that is obviously, having a lower and/or unreliable income makes it more difficult to work toward financial independence. But I guess the point is you have to find a balance – you gotta find what works for you.

  3. I envy you so much for taking the giant leap into uncertainty. I want so badly to quit my job as it only brings me stress, but regardless of how my ventures online are working out I still feel it impossible to quit. I love your blog by the way. Keep it up.

    1. I believe anyone can escape a bad situation. I don’t know your situation but step #1 is to save up so that you can cover a year of expenses. Doing that opens up a lot more options. And thanks!

  4. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! You are a really good writer!

    1. Thank you!

  5. Great post! I have no worries that this was a good decision for you. I’ve been laid off and I’ve quit terrible jobs. All that experience has put me where I am today, starting my own business. Enjoy your trip and be happy you have savings to fall back on to do something you will enjoy when you get back. That’s a component of financial independence that most millennials don’t seem to get. Take care!

    1. Thanks, Johnzelle! I actually didn’t know you had started your own business. That’s awesome. I hope (know) you’re gonna kill it!

  6. Thank you for sharing this! I think choosing for yourself is always a good move. You have excellent writing skills and appear to know your strengths and weaknesses quite well so I would say trust that things will work out. Hey and whereabouts are you going in Europe?

    1. Thanks, Jo! I will be going to several places – Munich and other cities/towns in Germany, Prague, Vienna, and Split, Croatia. I will also fit in day trips to other small towns if I can. Of course, I plan to post about it here in addition to sharing photos on Instagram. 🙂

  7. I actually did this in December too. I’m a little jealous of your student loans being paid off, but alas. I was in such a toxic work environment that even though I loved what I did, it didn’t make up for the havoc it reeked on my body.
    So, I say good for you on making this move and wish you luck!

    1. Thanks, and congrats for doing the same! It’s exciting, isn’t it?

  8. Good for you! Hope you hit the ground running when you return from your trip!

    1. Thanks – that’s the plan!

  9. Good luck with the new journey! I think if your heart is in what you’re doing then you’ll figure out a way to make it work. Also I imagine you’ll be so much more productive not being drained by the corporate environment!

    1. Without a doubt. Things are so much better when you aren’t constantly thinking about how much you want to be doing something else!

  10. Good luck with your new work situation! I’m sure you’ll figure it out, even if it means a few lean months at first. There are plenty of freelancing opportunities in the personal finance blogosphere.

  11. Thank you for sharing your experience, this was interesting to read. Enjoy your European trip, I’m sure it will be a blast! Which countries will you visit?

    1. See my response to Jo above. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Congratulations on taking this courageous step! Did you make a big scene or dramatic speech? 🙂
    Like you, I’m hoping to break away from the 9 to 5 thing and become a freelance writer, but it’s hard to even know where to begin. Best of luck!!

    1. Haha, no. As I’ve told some people, the issue was not so much the people as it was the 9-5 culture. Sadly, there wasn’t anything they could “fix” that would have made it work for me.

  13. It’s blog official now! You’ve gotten my thoughts on this already, but like I’ve said, this really does seem to be a perfect time to try out this freelance career thing to see if it really is for you.

    And I wonder if you’d be happy with a fully remote job. Or, like A Purple Life, it’s the essential part of a 9-5 that you really dislike.

    1. I was passively looking for remote jobs while still working. The stars didn’t align at the time, though, honestly, I think I would rather be more of a “dabbler” anyway.

  14. Wow. That certainly was a way to get out of something you didn’t like. The fact that your student loans were paid off definitely helped as it would be much harder to take a leap of faith when you have recurring bills to pay.

    Have fun on your trip and hope things fall your way so you can put your job in the rearview mirror and forge ahead

    1. Thanks! I will definitely do that. And, indeed – having those student loans knocked out was a big plus. My expenses will be much lower than they once were.

  15. This is an interesting read. Congrats on the courage that you had to start over!

    I’m a financial consultant currently and also not really really loving it. I also hate commuting, now I’m close to my job but probably my next client will be far far away. Let’s see how it goes!

    Enjoy your time in Europe, fingers crossed that the weather is good! You’re not visiting the Netherlands right? Prague is my favorite European city, you’ll love it!

    1. I am not visiting The Netherlands this time around, but that is certainly on the list. I think my approach is going to be to only see a few cities at a time rather than trying to see the whole continent in one go.

      I mentioned to Cheesy Finance that I also want to see Scandinavia, so I may consider rolling NL into that trip as well.

      Thanks for the comment, and I wish you the best of luck with your own career!

  16. I’m glad you got out. I got out, too, because it was stifling me. I felt smothered. I kept telling myself, like you did, that “this is what middle class people do.” But I never could figure out why I was so unhappy. I stumbled into the FinCon group by accident and my life was forever changed. Side hustling led to almost as much as I was making being miserable, and I got out. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish more people would realize money does not make up for selling your soul.

    1. Awesome! I’m still figuring it out, but I also still feel good about it. And I am getting more involved with the whole FinCon group – they are definitely an amazing bunch and I think that will be very helpful.

      And, nope – money is absolutely not worth selling your soul. Not by a long shot.

  17. Glad you had the courage to break free. No job is worth your happiness. I hope you find that freelancing is more rewarding. Or at the very least, helps you find your passion.

    Enjoy Europe! I would love to hear about your adventures.

    1. Thank you! I will definitely be doing lots of sharing about the trip. 🙂

  18. This is me right now. I’m in the military and it’s not what I signed up for. I switched from part-time non-comissioned member as a clerk and went full time as an engineering officer. Despite my engineering degree, I have been shoved into a position where I have to sit and study all day (yet again). I’m the kind of person who will get bored easily, just like you. (I often am found falling asleep in meetings and in classroom scenarios). I did address the problems before and while command are addressing it, there’s not much my immediate bosses can do for me. I am debt free, but I still have time to owe. I’m going to figure out how much I have to buy out and see if it’s quite possible.

    I think I’ll follow your advice and jump into my blog and stream even harder. I’m glad you did the jump and I’ll be next. Enjoy your trip, I’ll be following this blog just as regularly!

    1. Sorry to hear you’re in a similar place and I hope all goes well for you. I think, even if you don’t totally “take the plunge” like I did – you can absolutely find something that will work better for you. I wish you the best of luck!

  19. OMG…I feel like I wrote this post myself minus the English major and the IT stuff. Within 30 days after I graduated, I knew I didn’t want to do what I was doing. I changed employers, I changed cities, I changed settings – but in the end, all the same.

    I think I’ve had enough and ready to go, but a part of me is somewhat scared of the unknown. I’m hoping they will just let me go within the next 3 to 6 months – that way the decision is no longer mine.

    1. I feel like it’s a common theme…or maybe everyone who is unhappy is drawn to this post? Not sure, but I was a bit scared too. But if you have enough savings, you should be fine!

  20. Well done making this decision. My husband quit his job back in October because it was wearing him down so much and really sucking the life out of him. He still hasn’t figured out what his next career move will be, but he’s much happier now.

    1. Thanks! And I am, too. There comes a certain point where sticking around just for the paycheck just isn’t worth it anymore.

  21. Bob! Craziness!

    But EXCITING. Getting caught up on my readings here… there’s a podcast I love that this reminded me of – The Ken Coleman Show. It helped redirect me (career wise and attitude wise) when I needed it.

    Couldn’t fix the career part yet, but with renewed motivation (aka a new mortgage) it def helped my willingness to begin building a new career. More college classes…

    Best of luck! Cheers!!!

    1. Thanks! You, too! And I’ll have to check that podcast out when the dust settles on my travels. 😄

  22. Glad to have stumbled upon you blog. I left my job a year ago and have been hustling by buying and selling stuff online. Although my job was better when it comes to the income it gave me, I felt that it was so excruciating and painful to dragged myself to office daily that’s why I left. I’m currently experimenting in different ways on how to earn a living. Wishing you all the best in life.

    1. Sounds like a similar situation. I’m glad you got out as well. Hope it goes well for you!

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