Have you ever read something that perfectly described your feelings or mirrored an exact situation you were experiencing? Did the resemblance inspire you to make a change in your life, or confirm that a decision you’d made was indeed the right one? Contemplating quitting your job without a backup plan is no easy decision, but the road can be less stressful if you’re willing to invest a little time to look at your discontent through a candid lens.
The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss was the first book that I bought shortly after putting in my two-week notice at work.
I’d heard of it plenty of times throughout the years, but I always assumed it was just another book that sold people broken promises of how to get rich. (You know what they say about assumptions, right?)
It wasn’t until two separate people who I respect tremendously mentioned on two different occasions that they’d read the book and found some of the advice invaluable that I decided I make the purchase.
I’m still working my way through the book since I’ve intentionally decided to go slow and digest all of the information. If you’re thinking about quitting your job, or switching your job, but feel you need that extra nudge, you need to read this book.
In the first four chapters alone, I found several pearls of wisdom and thought-provoking examples that resonated with me and truly confirmed that I’d made the right decision to become a corporate dropout.
Takeaway quotes and my follow-up questions for you
It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. The choice is between multiplication of results using strengths or incremental improvement fixing weaknesses that will, at best, become mediocre. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.” (p. 34, The 4-Hour Workweek)
This particular quote hit so close to home for me. My career in Corporate Security/Risk Management had spanned for 10 years, but I’d lost my passion and simply coasted along. Corporate Security was a subject that no longer interested me, no matter how hard I tried. The horse I was beating was not only dead, but it had decomposed.
There were numerous times when I’d try to force myself to regain my motivation. I went to conferences, I networked, I obtained a certification in project management. Any gains in motivation were short lived, and I always fell back to being apathetic and unhappy. I was trying to make a square peg fit into a circle instead of releasing something that clearly did not utilize my strengths.
Ask yourself: What are my strengths? Is my current job capitalizing on those strengths? Am I trying to force myself into liking a job that doesn’t utilize my strengths?
Most people who avoid quitting their jobs entertain the thought that their course will improve with time or increases of income.” (p.43, The 4-Hour Workweek)
Been there, done that, got a souvenir.
I too thought my level of job fulfillment would improve with time. After sticking around for 3 more years, guess what happened?
Nothing, except that I’d aged 3 years and still didn’t like my job.
Let’s be honest with ourselves – with the exception of wine; nothing improves over time.
Are you suddenly going to wake up one morning and miraculously start loving your job? Not likely.
Will a pay increase ignite a fire within you? Doubtful. Quite the contrary – An increased income for a job you dislike might make you feel trapped because now that you’ve started making more money, you can’t just walk away.
Ask yourself: If I made more money, would I be happy performing my current job for another 3 years? Would I be willing to make less money in order to have a job that truly excited me?
Do you really think it will improve or is it wishful thinking and an excuse for inaction? If you were confident in improvement would you really be questioning things so? Generally not. This is the fear of the unknown disguised as enthusiasm.” (p.43, The 4-Hour Workweek)
This quote was another gem that gave me pause.
Looking back, I realize there were so many times I told myself a fantasy that work would improve if I just hung in there long enough. If only I were more positive, things would surely turn around.
In the back of my mind, I think I always knew that I never truly believed that. I was shying away from having to make an uncomfortable and potentially life altering decision.
Ask yourself: Is my optimism for improvement just wishful thinking? What evidence do I have that work will improve?
“The question you should be asking isn’t “What do I want?” or “What are my goals” but “What would excite me?” (p. 51-52, The 4-Hour Workweek)
Whenever I would tell someone about my discontent, they’d always follow up with “Well, what do you want to do, then?” My next thought was always “Please quit asking me logical questions. I have no idea!”
Instead, I would give them a blank stare.
I’d always been crystal clear on what I didn’t want to do, but I could not articulate what I truly wanted to do. Ferriss helped me understand why I could never answer that question, and it’s because he says, “It’s too imprecise to produce a meaningful and actionable answer.”
While I couldn’t tell you what I wanted to do, if you asked me what excites me, I’d be able to rattle off “Traveling on a budget! Writing! Teaching others how to accomplish their goals!” By focusing on what excites us, it will lead us into a new direction deserving of our focus and energy.
Ask yourself: What excites me? Does my current job contain any of the key elements that excite me?
I hope reading the above four standout quotes from The 4-hour Workweek and answering my subsequent questions (really dig deep and be honest with your answers!), helped to provide some clarity on an issue that’s often clouded with wishful thinking. I’m willing to bet that it will become crystal clear if you have a job that should be put in your rearview mirror. Once you know that it’s time to move on, it will become that much easier to take the next steps to finding your true passion.
Happy soul searching!
This post was proofread by Grammarly
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