I write about financial independence here fairly often. I do so because I truly believe that obtaining it (and the wonderful gift of time that it provides) can give us an opportunity to become the best version of ourselves that we can be. Or, at least a moderately less crappy version. ;-)
And if we’re being totally honest here, our jobs can really suck. They can provide a steady stream of mind-numbing boredom and monotony, back-stabbing closed-door politics, painful 1984’ish level jargon, soul-crushing conformity, chest-constricting stress, headache-inducing managerial incompetence, physical pain, long overdue promotions and pay raises, jerk-store clients, and never-ending re-orgs – all in the same freaking week.
Whether it’s yet another mandatory team bonding event with the same people you already spend 50 hours a week with or fumbling your way through another quarterly performance review where you have to invent new ways to position the same strengths and “areas of improvement” for the dozenth time – there are those moments where every employee utters under their breath, “[email protected]#. This.“.
It’s reasons like these (and many more) that most millennials hate their jobs (and more broadly, most Americans). We’re overworked and over-stressed. And most jobs aren’t providing the meaning, purpose, and pay that we had hoped for.
As a result, most millennials don’t stay with their employers for more than 2 years, and just about everywhere you turn online these days, you’ll find millennials who have never faced serious headwinds outside of work in their entire lives recommending that you quit your job, become your own boss, and find your true self. And many of those articles will surely have resonated with you, just as they have with me (it’s no coincidence that a majority of Americans want to be self-employed).
Despite all of this, I want to offer a contrary counter-take: Don’t quit a job just because you don’t like it.
Let’s unpack that. I am NOT recommending that you:
- slog through a toxic work environment that is putting you in therapy and on meds.
- avoid leaping into uncharted waters to challenge yourself with new responsibilities.
- stop seeking more promising opportunities to move to.
- never leave the world of wage slavery.
To the contrary, you should work to change all of those things either by actively seeking to change the status quo at your existing employer, finding a new employer, making a well-reasoned jump to self-employment, or achieving financial independence. But to run away from a job without having a plan, sizeable net worth, or promising secondary income to ease the transition into self-employment or a new career? That’s not the ticket.
Here’s a sobering dose of reality: work is all about getting paid to do stuff that others do not want to do for free. And as such, a majority of the time it can be difficult, boring, monotonous, painful, stressful, and unrewarding. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from it, benefit from it, grow from it, find good moments, and ultimately move towards and then truly appreciate finding yourself in a better situation in subsequent gigs.
I’ve seen far far too many of my new grad colleagues get frustrated and quickly leave what tens of millions of their fellow Americans would call a “great job” only to find themselves with more school debt or in a significantly worse job situation because they weren’t truly ready or qualified to make the leap to something else. Perspective sometimes only comes after loss. The grass isn’t always greener.
So don’t quit your job because you don’t like it and want to run away from it. Quit your job because you’re confident that whatever you’re running to next is better and you’re ready to succeed.
It’s Sunday night….and the timing of this is perfect cuz what day is tomorrow? I was on vacation last week and to go back to the dreadful place gets me depressed.
Haha. Glad I could convince you to return from vacation (which is always the worst, no matter where you work).
AMEN – Most millennials will learn more about life by working at McDonalds than what they will ever learn from our universities.
They will soon learn there is no ‘Play Doe” or “Safe Spaces”. They will have to deal with customers regularly engage in “Hate Speach” like, “My hamburger sucks” or “I told you I didn’t want f…….g pinkles.”
The unhappiest people are those who believe they are a victim.
On the average, Financial Independence will take 10, 15, 20 to 30 years of planning and execution – depending on your annual income and expenses.
It should be obvious – 10 years to FI is very challenging for anyone regardless of incomes. Ninety percents of the working force will fail this challenge.
If you cannot stay with a job for at a minimum duration of 10 years just because you don’t like it – DO NOT start the Financial Independence journey!
This is a really important article, I know A LOT of people that hate their jobs. Instead of being proactive and saving, investing, starting a side biz they party, complain, and go into debt.
Being proactive is the absolute key, people need to understand there is more in life if they just work hard AND smart.
Always good to know how to suck it up!
First of all, great article, and I always love your work.
But, surely if people aren’t happy with their job, the become less productive, so, if they run their own business they’ll provide more value and be more productive because they’re happy?
What is your opinion on that?