How I Quit My Job: My Detailed Escape Plan and Journey to Freedom
One Monday morning, I walked into work, took my manager aside and said to him, “I would rather sell my body than work for our bosses any longer.”
I can be pretty dramatic but this time I was pushed to my absolute limits. Rage had been building up inside of me for the last 12 months and I was DONE. I figured that people willing to pay me to use my body valued me more than the company and the senior management did. Luckily, I was very close to my manager who had really fought hard for me that I felt bad for him having to be the one who mediates the issues that came up.
At first I wrote a few drafts of a post about WHY I quit rather than how, but it just became a big rant and I was over ranting about it. To summarise, why else would you be pushed to leave a job without having a solid plan in place? Shitty management, non-alignment with the company, tired of the politics and so on. Nevermind that I had stuck it out for 8 years thinking loyalty was something they would favour.
NEWSFLASH: they don’t give a shit.
You’re always going to be replaceable.
I was tired of the hypocrisy. My flexi-work time was removed because they wanted me in at work at 9am when they rarely showed up at that time. I was denied from attending professional events that were held by a supplier that I was the vendor relationship manager of. I was left out of meetings where they presented my work and I don’t know if they gave me credit for it (probably not). The final straw was being bullied and not having any higher level support as well as HR support because they took the other person’s side who convinced them I was the troublemaker.
This happens too often in the corporate world and I want to share my experiences so that others might realise that they shouldn’t put up with being treated like shit because life is too damn short and too damn precious for that.
I decided to finally stand up for myself.
So, now for those who are interested in making a change, whether it’s a new career or a new lifestyle altogether, here is EXACTLY how I planned my escape, although I didn’t have much of a plan of what I would do after. I was just going to go with my gut and follow my bliss… and guess what? It was the best thing I’ve ever done.
I didn’t set a date for when I would quit, but on 1 January 2015, my sole goal in life was to quit my job within that year. So here goes:
5 years prior
Getting my mindset on the right track
I thought about leaving the corporate world completely, just to start my business and/or travel. I was scared and talked a lot about it, read a lot of articles and started learning about other people’s journey to freedom. I devoured case studies and thought-provoking blogs until I started believing it was possible for me.
4 years prior
Started gaining clarity about what I want and don’t want
I began by reviewing my life and what I actually wanted. There are many exercises you can do that I’ve discovered from people who are now living their ideal life, and the best was actually just doing whatever I really wanted to do and be the best as I possibly could at it. It took me a very long time to start (about 3 years actually) but I finally got there – I’m talking about writing and decluttering. Simple.
3 years prior
Started exploring alternative options
This was as simple as applying for many jobs that I would actually want to do, rather than just for money. The experience was great since there was no pressure to find a job, and it helped build my interviewing skills and self-confidence since I turned down job offers for various reasons (location, money, size of the company, growth opportunities, etc)
2 years prior
Addressed my worst case scenarios
This is a simpler approach and more specific than addressing your fears. For example, your fear could be that you can’t find a job that makes as much money as you are now, or in the industry that you want or that will cover your bills each month etc; but maybe the worst case scenario that you can think of is that you have to get a minimum wage job.
My worst case scenario for the longest time was that I would have to sell my body to get by. I’m not sure why I believed this, but my mind is pretty messed up. Everyone I told about this just laughed and told me it didn’t even have to be an option. I could easily get a minimum wage job and still have enough left over after paying all my bills if I moved back home.
My actual worst case scenario was that I would move back home, cut all my spending then look for a job, any job that will take me that doesn’t involve taking my clothes off. Once I realised this, the worst case didn’t sound so bad. It sounded pretty fun and it was pretty close to what I did in the end.
Networked with entrepreneurs and small business owners
I went to events like The Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention, MeetUp group nights for Sydney entrepreneurs, joined my accountant’s MasterMind group, attended more industry events and said YES to every invite to anything related to entrepreneurs.
1 year prior
Became obsessed with my finances
I sort of wish that I had moved back home sooner and saved $2000 per month on rent, bills and groceries. But the idea of commuting was not appealing so I weighed the pros and cons and decided that I preferred the convenience of living within walking distance to work.
I would scrutinise my spending, then calculated that I would only need $1500 per month to survive on and realised that was manageable. That’s about $50 per day. When you start putting things into a different perspective, you begin to reassure yourself of the possibilities.
I saved $6000 by the time I quit as my absolute backup money in case I don’t get any income for 4 months so it’s up to you how big you want your safety net to be. If it’s a higher amount, then it’ll take longer to save up and this could actually demoralise you from being comfortable enough with quitting and you could keep procrastinating on making the leap.
6 months prior
Started writing down at least 10 ideas each week on ways I could make money
When you make it a habit to get creative and explore alternatives to working at your current job, you open up a whole new way of thinking. You refine the things you are more interested in and seem like less effort. Life doesn’t have to be shitty and it doesn’t have to be hard. This is really key to getting unstuck. It’s all in the mindset.
I came up with things like
- Apply for 10 jobs a day
- Become a freelance digital marketing consultant
- Become a freelance writer
- Blogging about my expertise (digital, marketing) and interests (dancing, personal development)
- Sell stuff online (eBay, my own e-Commerce website, etsy etc)
- Build websites and do online marketing for local small businesses
- Partner up with someone to help with their business
- Go full time on my dance studio and expand it
- Teach dance classes and workshops
- Hold dancing-related events
4 months prior
Refined and took action on 2-3 ideas
I started telling my close friends about my plans to quit my job and start freelance consulting while writing on the side. They all supported me which helped give me good energy to keep on this path, while they would also always try to think of ways they could help – like putting me in contact with people who might want to hire me or work with me.
Then I decided to just have 2 clients and focus on building success with them while I make time to write and recharge my batteries.
3 months prior
I booked my Dirty 30 trip across the USA
This trip will have a series of posts dedicated to it because of how much we got up to and especially about how I met the love of my life in Hawaii. Remember at this point, I didn’t know how soon I was going to quit my job, but my Dirty 30 trip was non-negotiable. It was almost not approved, but my manager fought for me and I was so grateful to him.
2 months prior
I started writing, but only got to one blog post. It was ironic because I wrote about how to overcome self-doubt which I constantly have to deal with, but then my self-doubt about my writing stops me from publishing posts consistently. I’m still trying to find the courage to blog and the support has been amazing from the post prior to this.
1 month prior
I visited my parents each weekend to go through my old things that I could declutter in my new journey to minimalism. I was only focused on the things I could throw or donate. I knew later I would then focus on what I wanted to sell or keep. It really simplified the process for me even though most general advice would tell you to categorise everything into sell/donate/throw/keep. Find what works best for you.
1 day prior
Gave my landlord 4 weeks notice of moving out of my apartment
It was a Sunday in early July 2015 and after months of waking up every morning and lying in bed for about an hour thinking about how much I hated my life, I decided enough was enough.
I couldn’t wait until the end of the year when things would slow down at work.
I couldn’t wait until February the following year after my bonus was paid out.
I couldn’t wait until 2 years time when I’d reach my 10-year tenure and get my long service leave.
I was finally going to stand up for myself and what I believed I deserved – a better life, surrounded by people who respect me and support me.
A photo posted by Mz Trina (@mztrina8) on
So I called my landlord and gave notice, then called my parents letting them know my plans of moving back (I’m so blessed they always give me this option) and booked removalists for the bank holiday weekend.
On the day
Handed in my resignation
Had it printed out, came to work just after 9am and spoke to my manager for a good half hour. He was very supportive and knew it was coming, just not sure when. I had given him a heads up months ago about wanting to quit that year, so we worked together on a succession plan. Again, I can’t thank him enough for everything he did for me.
Texted my parents, my close friends and colleagues
I told my family and a few close friends who knew about my plans and they were all so happy for me. I was dancing around the office, meeting people for coffee and sharing my excitement.
Extended my Hawaii stay for another 4 weeks
After getting the OK from my Auntie in Honolulu to stay with her for as long as I like, I decided an extra 4 weeks would be enough to add to the 5 days we had booked there and was worth the additional $400 and change from a Qantas to a Jetstar flight.
Added a road trip to Melbourne with my parents for the start of my Dirty 30 trip
They were down to yolo with me since I was going to be gone for 2 months.
Celebrated with some fried chicken for dinner
I can’t remember who I was with but it was glorious. I guess I got pretty drunk that night.
A photo posted by Mz Trina (@mztrina8) on
My mood had changed, my outlook on life was more positive. I was constantly feeling great and danced every morning before heading to work, which meant I arrived after 9am but guess what, I didn’t care. I still put in good work, did a decent handover and stayed respectful.
There were farewells happening every day in the last 3 weeks, then my final week was only 4 days thanks to the bank holiday and I departed on my 8-year anniversary with the company. To think that I started as a bright-eyed 21 year old who was hired as the second digital (back then we called it online, or ecommerce) person in the company after my boss, and finally heading onto a new adventure was extremely bittersweet.
A photo posted by Mz Trina (@mztrina8) on
In the 7 months since that last day, I:
- travelled for 3 months through Sydney > Melbourne > LA > Vegas > LA > Chicago > New York > Hawaii > Sydney > Melbourne > Tokyo > Taiwan > Tokyo > Melbourne > Sydney
- met the love of my life in Hawaii who came to visit me over Christmas and New Years holidays and we have talked everyday since we met
- started an eBay store which has become my main obsession and sold just under 200 items in the first 3 months becoming a PowerSeller and Top Rated Seller
- began blogging again about my adventures and how I’m still jobless and loving it, hoping to inspire others in similar situations.
A photo posted by Mz Trina (@mztrina8) on
Now I truly believe that anything you could want is possible. All it takes is getting your mindset right, gaining clarity and having plans for your worst case scenarios. I welcome you to reach out to me if you have more specific questions about this journey and look forward to supporting you on yours.
With love and light,