Should You Quit Your Job And Follow Your Passion?

A quick look around the internet today will reveal an entire industry dedicated to telling people to quit their jobs, start a business and do what they love. Usually for a fee, these businesses can help you get started.

But should you actually go ahead and do this?

With increasing numbers of people stuck in jobs they hate or don’t find fulfilling, it’s not a surprise that an entire industry comes to the fore to service their emotional needs and provide them with opportunities to do so.

But there is in fact one minor obstacle to many of these plans: reality. Reality is reality and no amount of dreaming will make it different. It is objective. It exists whether you like it or not. It does not change via quantum mechanics to fit your individual needs as taught in The Secret. Reality is reality, and that is that.

So am I saying you should stick with your job and forget the start up? Not quite. Let me explain.

Get real before you get out

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The “follow your passion” industry taps into something central in the human psyche, and this is why it is so successful. That thing is the human need to express ourselves, the need to use our creative gifts and share them with the world.

All of this is perfectly natural and good. Humans are almost entirely defined by our creativity and it is this gift that has allowed us to survive and thrive like no other species in the history of this planet. Opposable thumbs help too, but creativity is the main factor.

However, humans have been blessed with another amazing gift – reason. Without this to supplement our creativity we wouldn’t get very far at all and our desire to create cool boats out of logs and ride them over the edge of a waterfall for kicks would have long ago ensured we became extinct as a species, without the gift of reason to counterbalance our creative urges, that is.

So what am I saying here? I’m saying to take your idea for following your passion, which most likely involves using your creativity in some way, and subject it to a reasonable, logical analysis or even better – an empirical experiment.

Things to think through before taking the leap.

Using our gift of reason we can consider a few things before starting a business and quitting our jobs. Things to consider would be as follows:

Is there an actual market for what I am trying to sell?

This is a hugely important point. You can create the absolute best painted bananas on earth, but it’s pretty unlikely anyone will part with a significant amount of cash for one. Whether you like to admit the fact or not, your talent for painting exotic fruits in beautiful ways will likely not translate into a successful business and put food on the table for your family. Humans have another need as well as expressing themselves, the need to eat.

Do I have the finances to see myself through the initial period where the business isn’t profitable?

Another hugely important fact to accept before you take a leap is that most businesses do not become profitable until their third or fourth year of business. That means there will likely be some lag time between when you start a business doing what you love and when you actually begin to generate surplus cash from it. Plan accordingly and make sure you have a suitable cash stash to survive in the meantime while your start up takes flight.

Can I do it better than the competition?

When you enter a business, you need to realize that you are declaring literal war upon those who are already in the business. This is no joke. Far too many people approach the idea of starting a business as if it were a stroll in the park. It isn’t. What you are essentially doing is attempting to divert somebody else’s food supply away from them and towards you.

They aren’t going to like this, and if you do successfully manage to divert a portion of it, they are going to try every trick up David Copperfield’s sleeve to distract you, divert you and ultimately destroy you. Business is war. Make sure you have a strategy thought out.

So you wanna be the boss, huh?

So you wanna be the boss, huh?

Objection! Why are you so cynical, man? There’s an abundance for everyone

While there is indeed plenty out there on this huge, abundant planet, I am not being cynical by stating the above facts. I am just being realistic and viewing reality and human behaviour from an objective standpoint. I don’t buy woop-dee-doo theories like The Secret and I don’t suffer from the delusion of subjective reality based models of reality.

There IS plenty out there for everyone, but there are also plenty of people trying to get a hold of all they can. Lot’s of these people have considerable resources and vast armies out there hunting on their behalf, and you are likely to come into competition with them if there is a lot of dough to be made in your field. You need to accept this as a fact and prepare for the battle ahead.

I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t do it, I’m just trying to make sure you have looked at it from all the angles and are not entering a venture on false, erroneous beliefs.

“So what, I should just quit and give up on my dreams?” I hear you ask.

No, you should not.

If you like painting bananas, you should continue. You should just realize this is not a profitable venture and perhaps give them to orphan kids who have no toys and make them happy.

If you do want to actually survive, however, and you have a great idea that will improve the lives of your potential customers and render some actual useful service to them, you should continue doing the job you dislike until you come up with an actual business plan, think through a strategy for how you are going to live for those first years and challenge the competition, and then, if at all possible, start your business on the side so as not to leave yourself up shit creek without a paddle if the venture fails.

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Look – I’m not trying to be a killjoy and shatter your dreams. I myself started a side business and it is flourishing. However, it has been a long and drawn out battle and only after three years of mistakes are things starting to come good. Even now, there are no guarantees.

I still have a great job I can rely upon to pay the bills while my business takes off, and only when it is profitable (e.g. I am making more from it than I would by working for my company) will I consider quitting.

That’s not fear. That’s not cynical. That’s not pessimistic. That’s a realistic, healthy approach to the idea of starting a business and being the boss, while making sure my family continue to eat in the process.

That’s something a lot of people out there need to come to terms with. Doing what you love won’t pay the bills in every case, and if it will, a part time side version will prove it and provide you with empirical evidence of profitability before you take the full-fledged leap.

Dreams are great. Dreams combined with a healthy dose of reality, however, are always better!

Thanks for reading.

Read More: Life Advice That All Men Should Follow

75 thoughts on “Should You Quit Your Job And Follow Your Passion?”

  1. ~ “I still have a great job I can rely upon to pay the bills while my business takes off, and only when it is profitable (e.g. I am making more from it than I would by working for my company) will I consider quitting.” ~
    Personally I don’t see how one can work full time for some employer AND seriously start a new business. The advice and tips he gives are great, it’s all true. However, owning your own business takes up 24 hours of your time 7 days a week, 366 days a year. Also, you don’t begin to understand the oligarchy we live in until you start trying to make a buck on your own and compete with megacorps. Everyone is against you, and I do mean EVERYONE! If you get robbed the cops do nothing more than fill out a “report”, steal one red cent from a bank on the other hand and they will spend millions of dollars, waste thousands of man-hours and move heaven and earth to extradite you from the shittiest country in the world. And if you don’t mind working for a complete asshole who is as demanding as a slave driver (yourself) then the rewards truly are worth it. But it is not for wimps, most people can’t cut it and go back to punching a clock and selling themselves into wage slavery within one year; it’s so much easier to be Uncle Tom than to take the headaches and responsibility of Arthur Shelby.

    1. Yeah, pretty much this.
      There are a lot of dreamers in the manosphere, who imagine they’ll one day be living off the passive income of some dubious Internet side-business while they spend the bulk of their days chasing pussy. And hey, some even turn a profit, for a month, two months, maybe even six months.
      But seriously kids, don’t quit your day jobs. Save up that money and be thankful for it while it lasts. Reality has a way of catching up to you eventually.

    2. It depends on your position and the type of company. If you work at company with modern management, software and tools to do remote work and where efficiency is rewarded, then yes, it is possible, with great effort. However, beginning you side project at 9 pm on weekdays and half-day on weekend does take a toll on your life quality.
      If you work on a bureaucratic company, like a state monopoly, then you lack the tools to do remote work, and you are essentially trapped all day, filing and signing useless papers, surrounded by the most un-creative and un-productive environment you can imagine. Such is my case. I tried it but being in a grey cubicle all day surrounded by inepts is no way to start a side business.

    3. My circumstances are a little unique i admit. I am only required to be at work 6 months a year and I run my business online. It’s something I can do from anywhere at virtually any time. When I’m offshore, my partner runs things.

    4. Hell, it not easy working & living overseas permanently as an ex-pat in a foreign culture either. True independence in any form is NOT for the faint of heart. This is a brutal world and you either live as a roaming conqueror (Conan) or as a slave- and be happy about your choice. Both paths have their advantages and drawbacks.

  2. I deal with a lot of people who should NOT be trying to go out on their own. It’s as if they were born to be wage slaves, hiding in a cubicle or back of a factory, and having no responsibility or accountability.
    Therefore the first step in going independent is to be capable of it.
    I’ve had enough of these special snowflakes who have no business even trying to put round pegs in round holes and there they are trying to do complex things. The first order of their special snowflakery is to try to get everybody else to do all the work.
    I drop hammers on these jackwagons all day.. Even had one get all cunty, his gay-sounding “office worker voice” when I told him he cannot do what he’s trying to do. It’s as if these people think they can change reality by believing in only what they want to.

    1. I know, right?
      Despite what “Idea men” think, Ideas are worthless.
      As someone in the indy game scene as a content developer, I cannot tell you how sick I get of these guys that think that their ‘great new game idea’ means that they get to give artists and coders instructions and then lean back and ‘manage’.
      They ALWAYS want to pay you a ‘piece of the action’ instead of real money, and they ALWAYS fail. Their game eventually gets discarded or is stupid or they lose all their labor as we get disgusted and quit.
      ‘Ideas’ and ‘management’ are utterly useless.
      Although you do have to admit that they guys scrambling around, desperately patenting concept after concept as if they are geniuses, are comedy gold…. while at the same time their exploitation of patent law is horrendous and should end with a long drop on a short rope. Patent Law is broken, horribly broken.
      Nothing is more insane than someone who actually creates, markets, and BUILDS a new widget is suddenly confronted by a bastard extorting him simply because he guessed that someday someone would create something that could do the job and save him the hard work and sheer intelligence of doing it himself.
      As an artist, I always demand money up-front. And it’s given me a fairly decent living, despite the fact that in creating content for over 200 ‘projects’, very few have ever actually been finished… and if they do well, I am always happy to work out a ‘piece of the action’ for someone who has proven willing to work to achieve their vision, and FINISH.

      1. Indy game scene huh? I do C#, Java and VB.NET. Need a moonlighter cum contract work fellow, or are y’all those PHP hacks? Heh.

        1. I wouldn’t know, I am strictly on the Enviro-art side… Tried to get into character art, but that side is flooded with dorks fresh out of school that wouldn’t know ‘Low Poly’ if it pantsed them.
          To be honest though, FKII MIGHT need another coder, you’d have to ask Jay, though. FKI was released, which is why I am proud that it was my own brother that actually ‘completed’ a game project I was involved with. To be fair, though, when I do FK work I do it to help him, not because of the pay (nearly nonexistent) but I have the surplus time to spare.
          Although I am pretty sure he will say no to another coder, though…because he’s one of those ‘in the trenches’ coders that does all his own work. I don’t think he likes managing others.
          Enviro art is still profitable though, especially if you lease thematic packs through things like Turbosquid… and that can occasionally lead to character art if people want to stay strictly in-theme.
          Like Nek said, above, it’s all a lot of very very hard, often repetitive, time-consuming, and often boring work… but it and streaming commissions are what I love to do, so it’s worth it.

      2. Oh Jesus H Fucking Christ. Dude. Muh Triggers!
        Seattle is crawling with these people you describe. They all think they are going to create the next Facebook or Angry Birds.
        They make reading the ads in Craigslist almost as entertaining as looking at OKStupid and making bets on how fat the “Average” body types are.
        Sometimes I try to get in on these gigs, having been writing code since… crap… early 80s. I do it out of boredom. But they run from me. Why? Probably because I’m not full of shit. I can code just about anything. These “idea kiddies” don’t want to be around real coders. They will shriek “Brogrammer! Oh noez”. They are full of shit and know they are full of shit but they need other guys who are also full of it so they know they are playing on a level field.
        That’s another thing – these “Frameworks kiddies” who learn C# and rely on intellisense 99 percent of the time, they make a website full of snark and suddenly they are programmers. Their code sucks too. On the one hand they write code like it’s an inside joke so nobody understands it and they can act smart, but on the other hand, it’s shit code anyway and a real smart coder would not do it like that. Just call the fucking method out of the fucking API there’s no fucking need to be wrapping the class inherited polymorphism “make your own function name” fucking crap bullshit.

        1. Oh god, don’t get me started on ‘tight code’
          I worked on a project in Europe a long time ago called Privateer. a spinoff from the wing commander series… not sure if you heard of it, but it was back in the days when he had to code models by hand (ugh)
          THOSE boys knew tight code… so tight, they wrote it in assembler. If anyone designed code today even remotely as tight as back then, ‘video enhancement’ would be almost irrelevant. Today’s code bloats to gigs what could have been accomplished in megs, and even friggin smartphone code is disgustingly fat.
          Today’s Code is like American women. Expending to fill all available space.

        2. “having been writing code since… crap… early 80s” – Dude! Remember when the “internet” was dial up BBS’s!?!

  3. Daylighting is the best option. Finish your day job as fast as possible. Do enough to get a decent raise and not get fired, but don’t try too hard to play the political game and move up as that may not work. Take the rest of the time DURING work hours to work your side hustle. Continue this over the years, and you will get good enough so that your work doesn’t even know what is going on. Also, find out things at your day job that could help your side hustle. On a good day, I finish my day job in 4 hours, and work 3 side hustle gigs which account for another 35% of my salary at my day job, part of which is passive income. As long as you get your job done, keep your head out of office politics, show up and smile, what your employer does not know won’t hurt them.

    1. So rip off the man who is putting bread on your table, sell him short on your labor and pull a Peter Gibbons from Office Space and just slack. Hopefully that is the kind of employee you will have when you are able to finally turn your “side hustle” into a real business. If you have any scruples I am sure they belong to someone else.

      1. Will there be a monument in the office lobby after you are found dead at your desk for having given it all to your employer?

        1. Nope.
          Having been laid off a few times, over 20 something years, companies don’t give a fuck. I got laid off when my projects where the highest earners. Canned when my measurable performance metrics exceeded half my departments efforts. Most of that effort was due to the majority of them being fucking lazy. I have marketable skills. It’s just a pain in the ass some joker is going to fire you (In my experience they get axed themselves, *nameless Education company*) and you have to hit the treadmill o shit all over.
          I dream of leaving IT. 70% of people seem to be bullshit artists and others are weird fat fuckers that have no social skills and can’t bath.
          So. I learned that regardless of whether you are a worthless bum or a solid performer the axe can fall without a care in the world. I will never have loyalty to a company until they kiss my ass. I doubt that will happen.
          You will only be free when you don’t give a fuck. No point stressing over their shit when you are a data point.

        2. Pretty much my observations over the years.
          And I WAS “that guy” once, the one who showed up early and stayed late every day, with the high work ethic and all that.
          And it did not matter one bit. The world still belonged to ass-hats, connected people, and women with their vagina cards. It didn’t matter one bit how hard I worked, the outcome was inevitable.

      2. There is a hierarchy. First me, then family, then friends, then whoever I have to interact with, then the rest of the people, then state.
        NEVER sacrifice for others, unless you have more than you need and even then only by choice.

        1. I try to treat people how they deserve to be treated. This goes even for family. As such, I treat my parents well. In a way this is for my own sake as well. We all want a positive self-image.

      3. I can’t begin to emphasize how strongly I disagree with this line of thinking. “The man who is putting bread on your table” – please… He is not doing that, he is getting value from you when you participate in creating a product or service he (his company) is selling and he is getting more dollars from the customer than he is giving to you. Which is actually perfectly logical, otherwise it would make no sense for him to hire you.
        But there is no reason why you should be providing more value for him than absolutely necessary if the increase in your renumeration is not proportionate to the increase of your input (and usually it is not).
        So, the above advice “do enough to get a decent raise and not get fired, but don’t try too hard” is very good. If the boss decides to keep you and even gives you an occasional raise, this means you’re providing more value to the company than they are giving to you (otherwise they would already sack you and rightly so) so that’s obviously enough.I don’t see how this is “selling him short on your labor”. By following your advice, one would end up selling his labor too cheaply and why would anyone want to do that?

      4. In a free market society where every man’s word is his bond, I’d agree. In the increasingly totalitarian corporate-fascist state that monitors everything and works hand in hand with armed policemen, I dunno boss, seems a bit counter productive to work yourself to death at your desk.
        I don’t say this in some kind of Occupy retard way, rather, in an Atlas Shrugged kind of way. We’re feeding the beast who is hell bent on destroying us, and corporations are joyfully, gleefully glad to hop on board that train and peg us to the wall as well. Maybe we shouldn’t be so, I dunno, complicit in our own demise.

        1. heh, I got canned for being loyal more than once. Whether it’s to the company or to the employees, (usually both) no good deed goes unpunished.

        2. A fate shared by most honest men I’d wager. And if they haven’t had it happen yet, it’s just a matter of time.

        3. They were and (absent limited exceptions) still are legal in America, too. Hell, you don’t even need the handshake—an oral agreement will suffice. It’s extremely difficult to prove later on, but nonetheless technically unnecessary.

        4. Dad got screwed in the navy because his coworker (another guy) dipped his dick in office politics.** Unfortunately for my father he was brought up on those old fashioned values that are so rare these days and wouldn’t sink to his coworker’s level.
          I don’t think he knows how much I respect and worry for him for that.
          **Still left with honours and his naval pension, though, so he’s not that worse off for it.

      5. Got news for you: I do more in 4-6 hours than most of my coworkers do all day. In addition, my employer does not complain. Even more importantly, extra effort for the remaining 3 hours of the day in the past has not been rewarded with more than 3-5% annually, so why go harder? Do enough, and then work the side hustle to make 10 to 100 times your time investment.

    2. What kind of job do you have where you could do this though? Some people have jobs where they have constant work, like those in service. A waiter or cashier can’t finish his “day job as fast as possible”

      1. My side hustle involves a niche area of real estate/property tax investing. I take care of my clients’ files in the morning, then spend my down time building my portfolio.
        If the side hustle requires a court appearance, I schedule it on the same day as a hearing in another case so I don’t have to make two trips to the courthouse.
        I suppose though it’s easy for me because my dayjob and side hustle are branches of the same tree. I’m sure others’ mileage may vary.

        1. Property owner doesn’t pay his taxes (for whatever reason). Depending on state law, the taxing authority auctions a lien either to the highest bidder, or bidder who bids the lowest rate of interest. The winning bidder pays the outstanding taxes. When the property owner satisfies the lien, the bidder receives his investment plus the interest he bid to receive. If the owner doesn’t pay off the lien in accordance with the time provided by law, the bidder is allowed to petition the court for a deed to the property free and clear.
          I’m writing an e-book on the subject as I think there may be a market for it.

      2. Programmer. However, for the waiter or service job, the human contacts made could be incredible for a side hustle based on the sheer volume of people you may come across during the day.

  4. Is becoming jeremiah johnson a viable career path? I always wanted to wear a bear’s skull as a hat.

        1. I can’t think of a good way to express the sound he makes after saying that in text, but if I could, I would type it out directly. heh

        2. I know, I tried, but in the end gave up 🙂
          Anthony Hopkins was already a veteran when he made that movie, but that performance was…. staggering. He’s a tiny little guy that is inoffensive as hell, but somehow his presence turned him into a 15 foot tall demon… I have seldom seen it’s like.
          I usually think media awards are a grotesque joke, but his 1992 award was more than well earned.
          Villains always make the movie… and any movie that tries to emphasize the hero and deemphasize the villain is always a flop.
          The Joker. Hannibal lecter. Loki. And in some cases, heroes who are also villains. A good bad guy always wins, even if he loses.

        3. you should check out the guy who plays him on the tv version of Hannibal. I think hes more disturbing in the role than hopkins ever was.

  5. When we have these discussions about the frustrations with normal “jobs” and how one should find your passion, I think it’s important to realize that no matter what, there’s going to be some bullshit and menial work involved in damn near every pursuit. For most of human history, that’s all there was to one’s work. The completely independent and self-sufficient farmer’s work had a lot of boring routine to it. Even someone at the top of the food chain has to constantly deal with BS (namely from people trying to take their spot at the top). Life’s a lot of work and dealing with less than stellar personalities regardless of what you get to do for a career, even if you’re self-employed. I agree that one should pursue their passion but sometimes in these talks there seems to be a little too much idealism about how things will play out.

  6. Are you single, healthy, have no kids, family, debts, major obligations, and at least a full year of basic expenses saved in the bank? Then, you may begin to plan your side-business, find a market and/or quit your job.
    Are you married, unhealthy, have children, family, debt, major obligations? Then, of course you cannot quit your day job. The brutal stress of providing for a family while starting a business, even if you succeed, is not fair for them and will take away years of your life expectancy.

    1. Actually being married in a (good) relationship extends your life. Hard to believe, I know, and probably only applicable to GenX and earlier. Married to a Millenial chick would make me suicidal.

      1. Before any relationship I had ended, at some point I made some reference to one of those sappy love songs that were relatable. For example one choice song was Sean Kingston’s Suicidal. Only now looking back do I see how much I wanted out, even when I was in. Not sure how marriage would have been but dating a Millennial woman has been a shit show experience thus far. Might have been more fun dealing with feces tossing monkeys.

      2. Agreed. Millennial women might bring great sex in the short term, but pain and hardship in the long term. Not one female has proven to be a positive addition to my life, NOT ONE. They’ve ALL been harpy parasitic, selfish, entitled cunts actively working to sabotage my life goals and fuck with my head.

  7. On a macro level someone starting a business is competing with all the other business models. The amount of capital, discipline, hard work, creativity and luck required to establish a profitable enterprise is mostly determined by how well you compete.
    This is another way of saying, all the cheap, inexpensive get rich quick ways of starting and running a business have been pushed aside and forced into failure. The existing business models have passed the “Darwin test” and continue to improve.
    Passing the Darwin test on a part time basis and on the cheap is very difficult.

  8. Most people who follow their passion go broke. Instead find a need not being met and come up with a problem to solve it. Monetize the solution and make it your obsession. This will then give you plenty of money/time to follow your passion.

  9. Another reality you didn’t mention to trying to start a business while working the usual 50 hrs a week plus having a bit of a life outside of work is next to impossible for most people. I would imagine starting a business would be a huge time suck.

    1. This post is prove why “beeing boss” does not work for most people.
      Know this – nothing is easier than having a 9-5 job.
      If you START a business you can do it with a few hours a week.
      AS A TEST. You see if you can make money with your project. Do not invest money until you are sure it works. Expect something like $200 – $300 profit per month in the first year. If you are lucky. Maybe the first year is negative and these big profits follow in year #2 or #3.
      If you have a 50 hours/week lazy cubicle job and you invest an extra 20 hours/week into your business you not only did prove that it can work, you also got yourself familiar with the work hours of a start up.
      80-100 hours weeks are to be expected. As a rule not the exception.
      You will be the first working and the last leaving. You will have no vacation nor holidays for many months to years.
      Even when it is working well you can relax. People who start in their 20s can make it in their 40s so they work 40 hours/weeks or less as bosses. At least some do. Others work 60-70 hour weeks their entire lives.
      The guys who started a business and 2-3 years later have 10-15 hours while sitting on the beach are the exception. The one in a million guy who got a great idea, good fortune and maybe the right connections/name to go with it. For every Mark Zuckerberg there are 10.000 John Does who never make more than 10K/year on their business, despite working long hours.

  10. Side note on the “Secret” thing you mentioned. In my experience that shit works but not for the hippie woo woo reasons the book states. I have a card in my pocket right now that has a number on it. It is the amount of money I want to be making annually in 10 years. This is beneficial to me, not because the universe is going to send it to me for wanting it badly enough. It will be because I look at ti every day. It’s always fresh in my mind and it’s my driving force. The techniques work because whether people know it or not the things they focus on are the things they strive for.

  11. First step save up funds before quitting or losing job. Second step, do market research to verify if the business idea will actually make money. Watch Shark Tank and visit SCORE a great

  12. I will say this…. working in the fire, police, corrections, oil and gas, medical fields or any STEM job will allow you to do this with ease. Most of these places allow shifts of 10-12 hours or the dreaded 16 hours, but you get more time off. Think about it, working 2-3 days a week or a month or 2 weeks at a time and the rest is yours to do with as you please. …

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