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Why I Quit My Job

by Shawanda Greene

"I Quit!" on post itDecember 30th, 2011 was my last day as Controller of a fast growing, mid-sized software company.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been relatively quiet regarding the fact that I quit my job.

Well, I can’t stay silent on the matter forever. Now’s the time to tell you why I left.

Honestly, I don’t think I could’ve worked for a better company.

  • I pulled down a six-figure salary in a job that Myers-Briggs practically promised me I’d excel in. It was often challenging and occasionally intriguing.
  • The company’s dress code was college casual and up. Whether in bow ties, flip flops or halter tops, employees could leave home wearing almost anything and feel certain their attire was acceptable for the office.
  • In October 2007, the company paid for my first iPhone. From the day I received it through my last day of employment, I was reimbursed for my wireless bill. Not to be outdone by previous acts of awesomeness, in November 2011, the organization gave me my first iPad.
  • I had an office and a little space heater to call my own. It might not seem like much to you, but I’m the type of chick who, in 100 degree weather, won’t leave home without a sweater. I learned early on that trembling like a chihuahua is unbecoming of a lady.
  • From catered lunches to wine tastings to chocolate samplings to surprise cupcakes, employees were treated to company sponsored, ad hoc acts of kindness on a weekly – and sometimes more frequent – basis.
  • My apartment was (and still is) conveniently located within a worry-free 7 to 10 minute drive from the office. Which afforded me the luxury of sleeping much later than most working folks in the highly congested Washington, D.C. metro area.
  • Surely, my former colleagues are some of the most brilliant people I’ll ever encounter. Unlike me, many of them attended the most prestigious universities in the United States. Yet I always felt like I belonged.
  • During the worst of the Great Recession, when several prominent financial institutions went under and millions of Americans lost their jobs, I proudly marched into work every morning with confident assuredness my Swingline® stapler was precisely where I left it the night before.

Honey, I could go on like this for hours. But you get the idea.

Things were pretty sweet.

I could’ve sat in my ergonomic chair with my shoeless feet kicked up listening to political podcasts working that cushy desk job for decades.

It was very, VERY comfortable.

So I did what any sensible person in my socks would do.

I quit.

Why?

Because greedy bitches always want more, and I proudly count myself among them.

I’ll gladly give it all up to take a swipe at what I’ve been missing.

My Passion

I feel tremendously blessed to have worked for such a wonderful company for five years. I love them, man! The problem is I couldn’t love my job because I don’t love accounting. I mean, accounting is cool and all, but I don’t love it.

My heart belongs to personal finance. And it’s been that way for quite some time.

My best friend’s high school graduation gift to me was The Wall Street Journal’s Guide to Planning Your Financial Future: The Easy-To-Read Guide to Planning for Retirement.

We were kids!

What kind of 17-year old gives a gift like that?

And more important, what kind of 17-year old would perform a string of crooked legged cartwheels to celebrate the receipt of a gift like that? (Hint: You’re lookin’ at her.)

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Income Control

According to The Millionaire Next Door, about two-thirds of working millionaires are self-employed. Even though the self-employed make up less than 20 percent of American workers. Those numbers sound promising to me.

Like it or not, when you work for someone else, they limit your income.

Periodically, they’ll reevaluate whether you’re justly compensated. Up, down, side-to-side, it doesn’t matter which way, they-hey control the direction of your salary.

As an entrepreneur, your income earning potential is infinite.

Creative Freedom

If you work for someone other than yourself – and you want to continue doing so – you do what you’re told.

To be fair, it’s hard to escape this burden as long as your wages come from earned income. (You can’t exactly tell your customers to kick rocks and expect to keep them.)

But still, when you’re the employee and the employer, you exercise greater flexibility over what you choose to do in order to get paid.

I find this particularly beneficial. Since I’m the boss of me, I am master of my product. I am master of my process.

Time Flexibility

Work a 9-to-5 job and people have this crazy idea that you should be in the office around, er, 9-to-5 during the work week.

Unfortunately, there’s other stuff you’d rather do during that time period such as:

  • Sit in on a discussion panel at the Brookings Institution, The Cato Institute, or The Heritage Foundation.
  • Attend a local chamber of commerce breakfast meeting.
  • Volunteer at an area high school.
  • Go to happy hour, get a comfortable seat at the bar, unbuckle your britches, and fully partake in a smorgasbord of half-price appertizers and $2 Tecate.
  • Take a nap in the middle of the day the way highly refined carbohydrates and God intended.

Location Freedom

In Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make to Sabotage Their Careers, author Lois Frankel, PhD, stresses the importance of asking for forgiveness instead of permission. When it came to performing my day-to-day job duties, I took this to heart.

Frequently, I made what I thought were the right decisions based on the limited information available – even if I wasn’t sure.

After several years with the same company, I can count on one hand the number of times Shawanda Greene (that’s me) apologized. (Not because I didn’t make many mistakes, but because saying “I’m sorry” is for sissies.)

Asking permission sucks.

But if you’re going to disappear from the office for a few weeks you should probably run that by your teammates.

Well, I don’t mean to sound like I’m whining, but I don’t wanna. *folds arms, stomps feet*

Through a series of carefully planned, well executed decisions I’ve saved a few dollars to sustain me while I get my empire off the ground.

It’s time to make it happen. I have no kids and no obligations, financial or otherwise, that make quitting my job a bad or even a scary idea.

If you’re wondering whether quitting my job was the right thing to do, you gotta understand.

I had to quit!

Because…because I ran out of excuses not to.

Could I be so arrogant to believe that I can have it all, yea, that I even deserve it all?

In one word: Yep.

Check out the ground rules I’ve set for myself in 20 Rules to Follow After You Quit Your Job.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Financial Samurai January 24, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Surprising announcement! I love how you said "because greedy bitches always want more" haha, great line!

Sounds like you gave up a fantastic gig. GUTS! The funny thing is, my post today on FS might be squarely directed at you High Rolla!

I'd like to learn more about what exactly the business will be. Did you sign up for the Yakezie Delta Class yet? It closes at the end of this month.

Best, Sam

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Shawanda January 24, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Hehehe.

I think being comfortable is one of the most dangerous positions you can be in. When you wake up on Monday morning wanting to kill yourself because you hate your job so much, I think you're more likely to quit and go after your passion. When things are okay, years and years can slip by before you notice you've merely existed instead of actually lived.

I've concocted a long-term strategy, but the first thing I need to do is deliver high quality content across the interwebs on a consistent basis.

I haven't signed up for the Delta Class yet, but I've marked my calendar to get my submission in before the deadline.

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sooverdebt January 24, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Congratulations! As a fellow quitter, I'm always a little overjoyed to see someone else taking the leap. You're in a much more stable/prepared place than I was, but quitting has been amazing for me nonetheless. We're both young – now is the time to take leaps that we may not be able to take 10 or 15 years from now!

Best of luck with your new ventures – can't wait to see how it goes!

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Shawanda January 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Thanks!

"We're both young – now is the time to take leaps that we may not be able to take 10 or 15 years from now!"

Amen to that!

I figured if I waited too long to pull the trigger an excuse would come along and convince me to put the gun down.

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Mandi January 24, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Thanks for sharing this announcement– it encourages me to follow my dreams. Although I may not quit today, I am making preparations to position myself to do so in 2-3 years. I wish you the best!

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Shawanda January 24, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Thanks!

I'm a calculated risk taker so I fully support making preparations before quitting your job. That's the wise thing to do. :) Good luck in pursuing your dreams!

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Financial Samurai January 24, 2012 at 9:23 AM

BTW, can you talk about the timing for quitting i.e. did you quit after your year end bonus?

Are you able to get severance since you quit? I'm trying to give advice to my friend in today's post on FS, and Im encouraging him to get laid off, so he can collect his deferred comp and get severance.

thx

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Shawanda January 24, 2012 at 10:47 AM

No severance. None of that. It'd have been nice if the company paid me after I voluntary resigned. :) There will also be no unemployment benefits for me because, technically, I'm not unemployed and I quit absent any pressure or mistreatment from my employer.

I was able to exercise all of my vested stock options and so I did. But the timing of my decision was due mostly to me just wanting to start the year anew and not have to deal with preparing the 2011 annual financial statements or managing an external audit.

I have adequate cash savings to last me a couple years, so I feel like I can afford to take a chance.

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Amy January 24, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Good for you!

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Shawanda January 24, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Thanks, Amy!

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FabulouslyBroke.com January 24, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Good for you. I too, am a fellow quitter. You can only go up if you have an attitude like that.

I'm also sad for them losing such a great employee who loved being there. I like it when people enjoy what they do so… *heart* :)

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Shawanda January 25, 2012 at 8:06 PM

Yeah. There were occasions while writing the blog post I felt a little sad. I'm happy with my decision, but it was hard to leave.

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Romeo January 24, 2012 at 5:32 PM

It never fails. Even when you are writing a post alerting readers that you've quit your job, you're delivering pure entertainment value. Congratulations. If you need help with anything, as far as promoting anything online, let me know. I'll gladly pass your product or writings along to my small but dedicated group of followers.

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Shawanda January 25, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Thanks, Romeo! I'm going to take you up on the offer…eventually. Now I just need to create some amazing material to promote.

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Andrew January 24, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Your awesomeness quotient just went off the charts.

Not for quitting your job, anyone can do that.

First, for quitting a company that apparently fed you grapes while you worked, and second, for writing one of the best "I quit!" posts I've read.

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Shawanda January 25, 2012 at 8:11 PM

Thanks, Andrew! I was just thinking today how I miss having a ready supply of chocolate truffles. Maybe now it'll be easier to maintain a desirable weight. :)

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20's finances January 24, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Amazing! I am planning my day that I quit now.. I enjoy where I work, but I am getting bored. To quit, I have to make it big this year. A lot is weighing in on this year, so I better perform, right? I like your guts. It's an inspiration.

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Shawanda January 25, 2012 at 8:12 PM

I don't see how this year can't be a success for you. You're an incredibly hard worker, man. I'm trying to keep up with you. :)

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AmericanDebtProject January 25, 2012 at 12:45 AM

Wow! I love finding a new blog and THIS is the first post I read. Safe to say I'm hooked! I have to admit I'm coasting at my job too, but the field is interesting and something I really like doing, and financially, I am not in a place to quit. Plus I am still working on my self-discipline to make sure I can handle being a self-employed business owner, which is my next goal. I can't wait to read what's next for you!

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Shawanda January 25, 2012 at 8:16 PM

Thank you! It does require a lot of self discipline to work for yourself. However, I don't think I've ever appreciated the verse "If you don't work, you don't eat" as much as I do now.

For me, I think instead of writing a to do list, I have to specifically state which tasks need to be completed and how much time I'm going to dedicate to it. Otherwise, I'll run around my apartment, flailing my arms about and freaking out about everything I have to do.

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Don@MoneyReasons January 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I like the way you think!

Really, once I started reading this article, I couldn't stop!

Congratulations on your new freedom (working in a cube or office is like being in prison in some ways).

Here's wishing you the best!

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Shawanda January 25, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Thanks! I know what you mean about working in an office feeling like a prison. I got up this morning and went to the gym. On the way back home I remarked to myself how beautiful the day was. It was wonderful to be able to enjoy the sunshine since I wasn't trapped in the office all day.

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popcorn January 25, 2012 at 6:32 PM

This is a great post! I'm sure now that you are out there, you'll do whatever it takes to keep from having to get a job. There is a sense of freedom in determining your own fate.

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Shawanda January 25, 2012 at 8:23 PM

Heck yeah! Before I even spend $2 at McDonald's I'm weighing how I can use that money to benefit my business endeavors. I don't wanna go back!

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JP @ Novel Investor January 26, 2012 at 12:03 AM

Congratulations! Welcome to the self-employed world. The extra freedom is a huge bonus but those afternoon naps can be an uncontrollable habit. Proceed with caution.

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Shawanda January 26, 2012 at 12:17 AM

Thanks! I took an afternoon nap today. Now it's after midnight, and I've mentally committed to doing another hour and a half of work. And on top of all that, I really want to go to a 7:00 group exercise class tomorrow morning. I hope I scrounge up enough energy to get out of bed early enough to make it. This is the price you pay for afternoon naps. :)

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Shawanda January 26, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Update: Last night, I worked for another 1.5 hours as I intended. And I rolled out of bed at 6:15 in the morning to go to the 7:00 group exercise class. It was amazing! Unfortunately, only the first session is free. Oh well! I feel good, i.e., my muscles are screaming.

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SJM January 26, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Goodness Gracious, Congratulations! That is so inspiring, even though I'm on the desk-track for a few more years myself.

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Shawanda January 31, 2012 at 6:40 AM

Thanks! There's nothing wrong with working a desk job for now. I'd been writing and rewriting and fantasizing about a quit-my-job budget for years before I took the leap.

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Penny Stock Blog January 26, 2012 at 8:22 PM

I don't know if now would be the best time to be quiting your job with the economy the way it is today. Even if you have another job before you quit the job you already have.

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Shawanda January 31, 2012 at 6:47 AM

If not now, when? You can't let something you have no control over impact a decision like quitting your job. Or you'll never quit. There will always be some excuse to lean on.

If I do this right, I'll never have another job (at least not in the conventional sense) and I'll be darn proud of that accomplishment.

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Kay Lynn January 29, 2012 at 4:21 PM

You go girl! I can't wait to learn more about the empire you're building.

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Shawanda January 31, 2012 at 6:47 AM

Thanks, Kay Lynn!

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Afford Anything January 30, 2012 at 7:58 PM

Good for you! I quit my job and it's one of the best decisions I ever made!

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Shawanda January 31, 2012 at 6:48 AM

Thanks! I'm feeling great. It's been a month and the high still hasn't worn off!

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Invest It Wisely February 3, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Congrats! I loved reading the post, and comfort can be a silent killer!

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Shawanda February 6, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Thanks! Sometimes you have to shake things up a bit.

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A. Gonz February 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Wishing the ABSOLUTE best for you! Inspired and working towards the day I will be making a similar announcement

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Shawanda February 23, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Thanks! I'm looking forward to reading your announcement.

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Epic Finances February 22, 2012 at 9:56 PM

This is inspiring and I wish you nothing but the best in your future projects!

You have taken the leap and hopefully it will pay off.

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Shawanda February 23, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Thanks, Epic Finances! I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I'm thoroughly convinced my success is based on the effort I put into accomplishing my goals.

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Nick April 17, 2012 at 9:46 PM

"Greedy bitches" are sexy….welcome to the other side.

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Allison July 8, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Great article!

I just signed all the paperwork this week to quit my job as of July 31. I have no debt other than student loans, about 12k in savings, a husband with a stable job who can at least pay the rent and I’ll get a (small) severance and unemployment for a year since I work in France and socialism is generous like that. I also made a list à la Simple Dollar of 101 things to do in the next 1001 days.

So I’m in a good position and I have a plan. This was my first job out of college, only full-time job, and even though I had 5 weeks vacation and a year-end bonus, I hate that someone can tell me when to come in and leave for the day, or that they don’t like my pants because blue pants look like jeans and aren’t “professional” enough, or whatever. I should be thrilled.

So why haven’t I been able to relax all week? I literally can’t calm down, and it’s starting to become physically painful. I wanted to quit before I got used to this whole steady-paycheck thing, but I guess I waited too long.

Sorry for the rant. Good luck with your business, and I’ll be following to see how it works out!

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