Happy new year’s eve! Today, I feel like reflecting on where I am now and how I got here. Some years ago, I quit my steady job. It was a life-changing decision for me. In this article, I want to explain why quitting your corporate job may be the best decision of your life, and why you should seriously consider it.

Thinking about it now, this post also applies to freelancers considering starting a business or opening a company, or those willing to become digital nomads. It’s all about overcoming your fears and having the courage to do something scary that you know you need.

Now, I know this is not a decision to be taken lightheartedly. I share my own experiences in this blog, trying to help and inspire others, but I am not a guru and you are the only one with the right answer.

That said, let me tell you a short story.

My Short Story

Five years ago, I worked at a cubicle. I had a very well paid job. I lived a relatively comfortable life in Madrid.

However, I profoundly hated my job.

The job was certainly stressful, but most jobs are, right?. The problem for me was different.

As years passed, this feeling of being wasting my time grew on me. I worked on the same gray, repetitive tasks every day, without a real challenge, without learning new things and evolving as a professional or a person. I was exchanging my life for money.

And I was bored as hell.

Now this may seem like a contradiction. Can you be bored and stressed?

I certainly was. My first thought when I woke up every morning was: “Oh gosh! Do I really have to go there again?”

One day, I decided I’d had enough. I quit my job and started freelancing as an iOS developer. That led me to embrace the entrepreneurial community, become a solopreneur, open a company in Estonia and, eventually, embracing a full digital nomad lifestyle.

Why Quitting Your Corporate Job May The Best Decision Of Your Life

The Symptoms

If you are reading this, chances are you find yourself in the same situation I was in 2012, or have gone through it and know exactly what I’m talking about.

It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, some day, you find yourself wondering why you are wasting your time every day at the same office. Suddenly, I started to be more aware of how I was spending my time.

I did not enjoy my work. This Steve Jobs quote, even though overused, had a profound impact on me back then:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

I had some side projects that I loved, but I never had enough time for working on them. I woke up at 6am every weekday and got back home at 6pm, exhausted. As a result, I had to spend time during the weekends to work on stuff I really loved. This meant sacrificing time to be with my family and friends.

Does it sound like you?

Quitting Your Corporate Job

Quitting my job was, in retrospective, the best decision of my life. It was not easy, though. The path to freedom is plagued with fears, doubts and uncertainty.

Don’t Let Your Fears Take Over You

When I took the decision to quit my job, I was utterly scared. I had no savings or concrete plan, just an urgency to start a new path.

Most of my fears back then are probably common to most people at that crossroad: fear of not being able to pay your bills, of loosing everything, of not finding customers or not being able to succeed as an entrepreneur…

Later, I discovered that most of my fears were completely unfounded. There is a vast world of opportunities out there. Don’t let the apparent competition of the globalized economy frighten you. On the contrary, instead of seeing that as competition, embrace it as opportunities to grow your career or business.

There’s always a niche for you. There’s always a service, skill or product that is needed.

You can be a freelancer, get involved in the startup ecosystem, become a micropreneur, open a business, or sell antiques. There’s no limits to what you can currently do with a laptop and an internet connection.

The Right Moment Is Now

Also, don’t fall in the right moment trap.

You are never going to have enough savings to feel yourself “secure”. Your kids are never going to be old enough and, when they do, it might be too late. When you finish paying your mortgage, there will be another expense or loan to keep you tied to your 9 to 5 job.

Stop making excuses. There’s no such thing as too young or too old.

The right moment is now. Right now.

Do What You Love

That’s probably the most important lesson I have learned throughout the years. If you are passionate and love what you do, you will eventually become good at it and find success.

Thus, make sure to work on something that you love. Don’t let other people’s fears stop you.

Find something you are really passionate about, something you won’t even call “work”. Then, locate a need or problem you can help to solve in that area. That’s the simplest formula for a happy life.

Keep Hustling

Success doesn’t come overnight. When I quit my job, it took me three months to find my first customer as a freelancer.

During that time, I worked hard to build a portfolio, and improved my skills as a developer. I also learned a lot about acquiring customers, marketing, running a business… Eventually, I managed to get my first client.

Similarly, with every new situation, like going from freelancer to solopreneur, or becoming a digital nomad, there’s a period of uncertainty. Learn to embrace that situations and use them in your advantage. You will need to work hard, learn a lot, and get out of your comfort zone.

So don’t abandon hope if things don’t seem to work right away. Keep hustling. Learn. Work hard. Eventually, your efforts will have their reward.

Why Quitting Your Corporate Job May The Best Decision Of Your Life

Benefits Of Quitting Your Corporate Job

Today, I am a completely different person that I was seven or ten years ago. Quitting my corporate job put me on a path that has changed me in so many ways, that it would be hard for me to enumerate them. Anyway, let my try my best to summarize the most important ones.

You Grow As A Professional

Previously, I mentioned the need of getting out of your comfort zone. Even though I don’t like to use this trite sentence, I can’t think of a better way of expressing it.

When I quit my job, I was just a developer. My job was to code stuff, and I did what I was told. I had no idea about marketing, finding customers, promoting a service, launching a successful product, accountancy, starting and managing a company, taxes or basically anything but programming.

However, when I was out there on my own, suddenly I was the one in charge of all that. I was in charge of promoting my services, finding customers or taking care of the ledger.

Later, when I became an entrepreneur, I went through a similar process. I had to learn how to create a successful product, not just a software program, how to promote my products and services, marketing, and taking care of my company, to name a few things.

Additionally, as I joined the startup scene and worked for several startups, I learned different new technologies to add to my repertoire.

Had I stayed in the same cubicle during all these years, I would probably still be just a developer. Nothing more.

Quitting my corporate job made me not only a better programmer, but broadened my skills, expertise and experience in multiple areas.

You Grow As A Person

Another beneficial effect of being on your own is that suddenly, you become your own boss.

That means that nobody is pushing you to reach your deadlines, get customers, launch the product or sell. You are the one in charge of everything.

Thus, I had to learn a lot of self-discipline, and be responsible for my decisions. Additionally, I had to develop some skills I was missing, including social skills, marketing, accountancy, administrative tasks, and understand a lot of different concepts.

As time passed, I became more confident in my skills and what I was able to achieve on my own. I overcame a lot of fears and began to embrace uncertainty as an exciting part of starting new things.

This has allowed me to grow as a person more than I can express with words.

Your Life Will Change

As a result of the above process, your life will change forever, in unexpected ways. I never thought I’d be able to travel the world as a digital nomad, working remotely without a fixed abode. Looking back to my past self, I can’t believe how much my life has changed.

I am a completely different person.

I am lucky to work in the projects I love. Apart from my own business, I work regularly for amazing startups worldwide. I travel the world and enjoy a life without schedules and offices. Yes, I do work a lot, but I am the owner of my time.

Of course, I’ll never know what’d have happened if I hadn’t quit my job, but I am grateful I did.

Let me assure you, once you enjoy this kind of freedom, you will never look back.

But If You Ever Look Back…

Nevertheless, if you find out that this life is not for you, and you need the safety of a steady, 9 to 5 job, you can always get back. All the experience and knowledge you have acquired will make you a more valuable employee for any company.

Quitting your corporate job is not a one-way ticket. There will always be a cubicle waiting for you if you decide to get back. However, I am yet to know someone who’s taken the leap and has later decided to return to a grey office.

Call To Action

Today is the 31st of December. We are on the verge of a new year. I am at a plane, traveling back to Riga after spending the holidays with my family and friends.

It’s been a pretty intense year. I’ve had some amazing moments, and some hard times too. However, Since I took the decision of quitting my corporate job and embracing an entrepreneurial, digital nomad lifestyle, I feel like I am living every single day of my life.

And that’s priceless.

Happy new year!

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  1. Pingback: Daily Stoic, Jan 2nd. Education is Freedom. - Micropreneur Life

  2. John January 3, 2018 at 2:29 am

    “Yes, I do work a lot, but I am the owner of my time.”

    This is an important point. When you work a corporate job, you are giving 40 hours (sometimes more) of your life per week to someone else, in exchange for money. Often that is more money than you need, so you end up buying luxuries like expensive cars and a big house, which keep you chained to that job.

    When you work for yourself, if you find yourself earning enough, you can work for 20 hours and decide to spend the rest of the time innovating, creating, or exploring, all of which are far more valuable than a new car or large house.

    1. nacho January 3, 2018 at 7:49 am

      Hi John,
      Thanks a lot for your comment. I cannot agree more with you. Since I started working for myself I discovered that I can live with less, but enjoy my time more. Money comes and goes, but time is the most precious resource we have. Thanks again for pointing that out.

  3. Aliya April 28, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is clear that this is coming from your own experience; I am experiencing the same things as you did in the corporate world, thus your words resonate so much with my life. And this is another article that has helped me to make this final decision of quitting the “perfect from the outside” corporate job. We really need to get out there and discover the world and ourselves. Thanks again.

    1. nacho April 29, 2018 at 12:25 am

      Thank you Aliya! Glad to hear that, and best of lucks in your new path!

  4. Tasha August 7, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    I talked to my manager and right after I decided, I’m quitting my job. I work in a high stress and high paying job in the high six figures but it’s still not worth it. We are not meant to spend our time slaving in corporate America for $. We should be spending time with family and calling the shots in our lives.

    Your article was the nail on the coffin too. Thanks so much for sharing…. May the new journey begin! I actually feel relief now.

    1. nacho August 8, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Dear Tasha, thanks for such an inspiring comment! I wish you the best in your new life, and more time to live experiences and share it with your beloved ones.

  5. Jenn October 21, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing your journey! Like the other folks who commented, I too am quitting my six figure corporate gig (tomorrow!). I am exilerated and terrified but I know, as you said, the time is NOW. We exchange our time for money, and large corporations still treat you as a number – silencing my voice and removing all freedoms (no doctors appointments during business hours, despite leadership knowing my husband and I are undergoing fertility treatments), expecting nights and weekends with no appreciate it a simple “thank you” and the list goes on. Excited to take my life back and follow purpose once again!

    1. nacho October 22, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Dear Jenn,
      Thank you so very much for your comment. It’s really inspiring. I’m glad you have decided to take such a brave step, and I’m sure it will mean a bright new start for you, hopefully allowing you to reconcile your work and family life. I completely agree with your view about exchanging time for money. As I grew older, I realized the former was way more important than the latter.

  6. Mitch October 24, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    I put a search in regarding leaving corporate America and here I am…at the crossroad that you (this article) has helped made clear. No doubt after 15yrs in the rat race, I began to wake up and actually used the benefits of a corporate job to help set me up for life after (fingers crossed). I few years ago, I used my 401k to add another rental property into my portfolio. And now that portfolio has grown to the point where I can rely on it (somewhat) but I’m willing to make the jump so that I can truly expand it and go all in dedicating the hours I’ve put into corp america into my passion! Thanks again for this article it truly is a godsend!

    1. nacho October 24, 2018 at 10:07 pm

      Thanks to you Mitch for your comment. I am sure your brave decisions will be the right one. Best of lucks in your new life!

  7. Christine March 17, 2019 at 9:45 am

    I am at the verge of quitting. I’m really terrified. Although I have money saved up, I’m stepping into the unknown. I like my job to some extend but I’m tired of Corp life. The fire drills, ppl above telling you what to do and how to do things. The hierarchies. It is slavery except ur paid so Corp slavery so they don’t get sued lol… let’s see how things go. I’m hopeful I will never need to go back to Corp after the leap.

    1. nacho March 18, 2019 at 5:13 am

      Hi Christine, and thanks for your comment. Short answer: Don’t be!

      I perfectly understand you, as I was myself completely terrified when I was about to take the leap. I didn’t even have money saved up (I had savings barely for 3 months). But as probably you feel… I felt that I needed to change, and I needed to get out of the corporate rat-race.

      So let me offer you some small nuggets to give you some peace of mind:

      • First and foremost: you can always get back to the corporate world. When I quit, I started receiving lots of different job proposals, some of them better paid than my previous job. You can always get back.
      • If you love what you do, and work hard, you will get customers. It’s just a matter of time and effort.
      • The experience, even if you decide to come back later to the corporate world, will make you a more valuable, rich and expert professional.

      So I wish you the best of lucks, and I’m sure it will be a good decision for you… and if it isn’t… it’s not the end of the world. Believe me :).

  8. prz_ August 24, 2020 at 12:41 am

    I’ve really enjoyed your article. However, I have a couple of “buts”.
    As for now, I’ve taken a “halfway” decision to work for a corporation abroad at the end of last year. And… It’s been like Christine wrote: “ppl above telling you what to do and how to do things. The hierarchies. It is slavery except ur paid so Corp slavery so they don’t get sued”. Actually, I haven’t experienced sth like this in my home country. And due to the corona crisis the final effect was that I have received all the bad things (about many of them I haven’t been told duing the recruitment process…) and I wasn’t able to enjoy most of the cons I’ve actually come here for. And yes, you can be bored and stressed at the same time. Bored – because you do a s**tty job. And stressed – because you’re basically nobody, nobody cares about your opinion and you’re only told what to do. And try to express what you really think – well, good luck… That’s why I really think about sth what would allow me to travel a lot and leave this corpos**t.
    And here comes my “buts”.
    First of all, you’re a developer. It gives a lot of opportunities. Your situation is not the same as for someone who is a translator of, let’s say, Faroese language.
    Another thing is… You say that now you’re free. But are you really free? Because I have a feeling that you still follow many patterns of the typical capitalism. There are even typical affiliate links on your website. Don’t get me wrong, my comment’s not for shaming anyone, but it makes me really sad that even “innocent” Facebook fanpages over time are starting to become money making tools.
    Also, as far as I remember, you’ve encouraged to hire “local” people in some cases. So, basically you see, that, in order to be a nomad, we need people who aren’t nomads…
    All things considered, as much as I would like to be able to travel around the world and have a steady income, I don’t think it would make me really free. Especially with my, let’s say, “less than more capitalistic” views on world.

    1. nacho August 30, 2020 at 11:26 am

      Hello, and thanks for the comment. Of course, I agree with you, every situation is different. I still think a translator, copywriter, or even language teacher can do it just like a developer. I have met indeed digital nomads working in all these fields who happily took the leap.

      However, this is, of course, the path I chose, and may not be for everybody. I still believe it may be a very good decision for everybody, regardless of your lifestyle and profession. It will teach you a lot both in life and in your career. Then again, this is something everybody needs to evaluate, and of course, you need to have that itching in the first place. If you are perfectly happy in your corporate job, then why quitting? Find what works for you and what makes you happy!


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