Why I Quit 9 To 5

As you know, I finished my day job last fall for the transition to living through my writing.

When I was preparing to announce myself, I met a British-born writer named Robert Wringham, who publishes an independent newspaper for labor refugees like myself (or those who think of it), called the New Escapologist.

I loved it right away: it is smart, advertising-free and perfectly square. Considering that I was in the chapter “Great Escape” in my own story, he asked me to write a piece for the magazine, as evidenced by the latest issue. I have reposted it below (edited something to fit a blog format.)

The months after my flight consisted of one lesson one after the other, as I expected, but the biggest lesson was quite shocking – and that is something that 9 to 5 should learn as early in life as possible. This part is my warning of being an escape that wins forever for the right time.

***

After leaving a workplace, I drove to a nearby field and parked my car against a row of corn. It was afternoon, the day I had chosen to finally do it, but I was still nervous. I sat there about half an hour before taking the trigger.

I called my boss and told him I left the company to work for myself. I had practiced for a confrontation, but he was very professional and understanding. The moment I hung up, laughed out of me, as if I had just received a joke told me years ago.

The drive home was euphoric, as I expected it to be. But two weeks later I would discover a worrying side effect of having been an employee for so long.

I enjoyed the weekend after my last office Friday as usual. But the following Monday happened to be a holiday, which I quickly realized carries absolutely no benefit to the self-employed. My former colleagues were paid to do anything but work, for me it was simply another day. If I chose not to work, it was my loss and only mine. When you are self-employed, every day is Wednesday.

This sense of absolute responsibility for the result of my working life was a new feeling. It started on me that before I left the job at 32, I had never really experienced a self-directed period in my life where I actually tried to accomplish something. At 29 o’clock I went backpacking for nine months just to see what it was like to be in other countries. It was an unforgettable experience, but it didn’t mean any goals or specific intentions.

Apart from the rewarding but relatively pointless period, I was always a full-time employee, a student or an dependent child. This meant that I had always had someone who told me what to do, and b) a network of reminders, best practices and potential penalties that together provide a certain acceptable range. The worst thing that can happen is that I would gradually move on with the current steps, as long as I did a reasonable job of dyeing within the specified lines.

I don’t realize it until the lines were no longer there, but this type of subordinate arrangement trains a person who needs others for direction. When I woke up on the first Monday, free for the first time to build a life on my own terms, I began to realize that I have exactly zero experience to do so.

Few of us do this, because we were born as a subject for our parents’ authoritarian characters, and from there we are trampled directly into the education system, which leads us directly to the labor force of the labor force. In each of these systems we are subordinates whose work is probably not related to our own values, on schedules that are always determined by someone else.
We are trained to need managers

It seems inevitable, then – but totally insane – that for the first 33 years of my life I was never the one who decided the basic daily structure of my life. When you only take full control of your life less than a decade from the middle age, it is alarming that you are allowed to actually put your hands on the wheel. There is a conspicuous absence of instructions, and it feels strange that you have done something bad.

Thirty years of conditioning is extremely difficult to overcome. Most people, when coming from the conventional children’s school’s labor tunnel, are almost fully trained to handle full weeks and months, where the bulk of their time is not committed to serving an institution of any kind.

Given all my life experience, the subservience is the quality I am most educated, and I suspect that I am a fairly typical case. A friend of mine is a blogger who did the New York Times best-selling author and he told a lot for the reason he didn’t leave his business job because he is aware that he, without the structure set up by a job, is obliged to pass to an unwashed caveman, eat cold flakes three times o

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