10 Life Lessons Learned From Suddenly Quitting My Job

10 Life Lessons Learned From Suddenly Quitting My Job

We all feel lost from time to time. Society has a way of beating us down with its arbitrary life rules and expectations. Just when we think we have it nailed, the rug can be pulled from below and we end up with a crushing realisation that actually, we don’t have it all figured out.

Questions arise, and you find yourself doubting your very existence.

Am I in the right career?

Do I have the ability to rise through the ranks and increase my income?

Is this it for me?

I felt all of this and more. Until the age of 31 I felt trapped in a menial customer service position that began to eat away at my soul. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but I knew with absolute certainty that something had to change.

It did. When you back an animal into the corner it has no option but to come out fighting.

I quit my job and it was the scariest moment of my life. Would I sink or swim?

Well, 2 years later I have my own guitar tuition business and while it definitely wasn’t easy – the lessons I have learned on the way will be invaluable as I continue moving forward.

Hopefully, if you’re in a position where you are seeking to change your career or to start your own business, you can take a little something from the following 10 life lessons, such as…

Life Lessons Learned From Suddenly Quitting My Job

1. There is no such thing as the right time

Do you have a crazy life changing idea that you are putting off because the time just doesn’t feel right? You’re not the only one. I wrestled with my mind for years before I finally plucked up the courage to quit my job, and you know what?

It was a colossal waste of time.

Preparation is overrated. No matter how much thought, planning and care you put into something, you will always come up short.

Life doesn’t give a damn about how prepared you are. It wants people with the balls to make something happen.

2. People will think you are crazy but that’s ok

We’re fragile beings. Our ego likes to protect our little selves from all the bad people in the world. Even though we don’t like to admit it, many of our life decisions are taken because we care about what other people think.

It’s human nature.

After quitting my job it didn’t take long for the naysayers to crawl out of the woodwork and mock me for having ideas above my station. I heard it all;

You can’t do that. How will you survive?

You should have found another job first. You’ll regret it.

You’re insane!

But you know what? You soon learn to ignore the haters and it’s impossible to please everyone, so in future it’s best to just live life by your own standards.

3. You learn to become responsible for your own actions

Doing something as drastic as quitting my job without really thinking it through, led me to a profound realisation;

This is all down to me.

I don’t have work colleagues to drag me down or a narcissistic manager to crush my soul on a daily basis. There is no one to blame but myself if this goes down the toilet.

That’s the beauty of taking control of your life; you’re fully in the driving seat and the motivational surge you receive as a result of grabbing life by the balls is astounding.

4. Every problem faced becomes an end of level boss to defeat

Is life easy once you quit your safe job for a life of uncertainty? Hell no. It feels like an endless assault on the senses. You’ve heard of treading water? Well imagine treading treacle.

Just keeping your head above the surface is a herculean task by itself. Forget trying to run a fledgling business. Putting food on the table and paying the rent suddenly become the only goals worth bothering with.

But you learn to cope.

And then you look for the next challenge that passes your way. You defeat that one too.

In fact, you quickly learn that life isn’t that hard after all. It’s just a videogame and you’ve got invincibility mode enabled.

You’re bulletproof.

5. Life isn’t a linear process – there is no beginning, middle and end

I’ll admit; I believed that once I picked up a few students and started making a bit of cash, everything would sort itself out.

How naïve…

Just when things seemed to be moving forwards I would suffer a setback. The few students I had on my roster suddenly quit. No feedback, no apologies, nothing.

Gone, just like that.

And then I waited.

It took me 6 months before I found a few more students to take their place. That’s a long time to wait around without any proper income. Even now, I have good months and bad months, but I have come to realise that it’s all about the process, not the destination.

Life is too big to concern yourselves with. The present moment is all that counts.

6. You can make up the rules as you go along

Who in their right mind would give up a safe job, their own apartment and independence for an uncertain life as a guitar teacher?

On the face of it, it’s crazy. But I’ve always teetered on the edge of conformity – peering over the edge to see what is possible.

Who quits their job at the age of 31 and moves back home? Who starts a degree at the same time because it seemed like a good idea? Who fills their days with German study sessions and rigorous guitar practice when they aren’t working?

Me. I do that, because I can.

I’ve learned that confusing people with your day to day activities just means that you’re doing something right with your life.

7. Nobody can order you around, but you still need discipline

I have worked under some ridiculously inept managers in my time. Borderline psychopaths, bullies, bumbling buffoons and many other things that begin with the letter ‘B’; but they all have one thing in common…

They can’t tell me what to do.

Except, this led me to a strange realisation; without the structure and discipline of a full time job I became lazy. I needed my alarm clock and the threat of dismissal for not turning up on time to fuel my day.

This is something I still struggle with. I am slowly improving but the procrastination monster still rears its ugly head from time to time.

I’ve learnt that whatever we choose to do with our lives requires discipline to achieve greatness.

8. Fear is necessary for growth

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Life scares the hell out of me.

I used to think that there was a big difference between successful people and the likes of me. That somehow they were born with superpowers that enable them to surge through life with confidence and swagger.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Fear doesn’t discriminate. It engulfs us all. In fact, successful people experience more fear than anyone else because they are putting their balls on the line every single day

If you’re feeling scared then it’s a good sign. You are pushing yourself further; stretching your comfort zone and experiencing something new and exciting.

Accept and embrace fear because it’s the friend of exceptional people.

9. There will never be enough hours in the day

We always want more.

If it’s not money, then it’s time.

If it’s not time, then it’s success.

If it’s not success, then it’s respect.

If it’s not respect, then it’s money. It’s a vicious cycle – an addiction.

Life is a never ending quest to seek more of what we already have. But here is a novel idea… what would happen if we simply made better use of what we currently have? Of course, seeking to improve ourselves or our life situation is desirable but what is the point of acquiring more money if you can’t manage your current finances?

What’s the point in more time if you don’t make use of what you currently have?

What’s the point in building a reputation if you allow complacency to set in?

Everything; time, money and respect must first be earned and then utilised effectively. Do you only have $50 in your account? Stop binging on fast food and use that money wisely.

Do you only know a few people who trust and respect you as a businessperson or as a brand? Word of mouth is powerful; keep these people on side and you’ll reap the rewards later.

Do you only have 2 hours in the evening to spend with your loved ones? Make those 2 hours count.

Successful people make the best of what they have whilst continually striving to improve.

10. Excellence is 100% – everything else is failure

For years I coasted through life – doing the absolute bare minimum. Hoping that no one would notice how my whole existence was a master class in incompetence and laziness.

Everything from playing the guitar, my job, training in the gym and even my social interactions were all accomplished with this mentality. I felt like a fraud.

I needed to change, and fast. To do this I had to take a long, hard look at myself and accept that the only way I was going to be able to achieve anything is with complete transparency.

No more lies. No more covering up the cracks. It was time to get brutal.

I’ve discovered that success is a habit forged through a combination of time and effort. There are no shortcuts. Is it possible to put 100% into one area and then coast in another? For a while maybe, but eventually the lesser activity will start dragging the others down.

Consistency is the key. Eliminate the fat from your life and put 100% into whatever remains. Cement the habit and don’t settle for second best.

Since implementing this mentality my output has improved dramatically. My guitar playing has improved. My business has more students than ever. I’m finding that my studies and my assignments are getting easier. I am training harder than ever before and my diet is in check.

It’s not a coincidence.

By suddenly quitting my job I have finally learned how to live my life.

Try it. See what happens.

Gary Vaynerchuk Business Picture Quote


About The Author: Jamie Flexman
Jamie is a guitar teacher, writer and blogger from Bournemouth, England. After choosing to quit the typical 9-5 existence, he created Psycholocrazy to document his thoughts and struggles as he forges his own path in life. Jamie is a firm believer in following your own instincts so go ahead and grab his my free 33 page ebook and find out how to quit your job and live life on your own terms too. You can also find Jamie on facebook and Google+.

Share This Post

Join The Discussion

38 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. PI read the article over and over and over as it looked and felt like my story just on a different cast. I can still remember the day I quit my job, the fear that came rushing in. All those people that said I was either crazy, stupid or brave to quit without having a job.
    What kept me going that time was the support I got from my mom, she has and still is my number 1 fan.
    After quitting, I must admit that the learning that came after that is something I will treasure for life. It is 3 months now I have not secured any clients yet, busy building my network and hopeful I will make it.
    A friend of mine asked me a week ago if I don’t regret quitting my job for this and I told him not at all. I told him to watch the space as good things are coming for me. I cannot afford to be negative, I cannot afford to laze around and wait for something to happen, I have to make it happen and I believe and know that I will.
    Thank you for this article, it is a reminder for me that nothing comes easy but with perseverance things will look up.

  2. Bertie du Plessis · Edit

    This is about as irresponsible as it gets. If there are ten steps to avoid this would be about it. In two decades of counseling small business people the single biggest mistake is not preparing properly. Want to begin a dry cleaning service, first go and work there for three months. About the only one of the statements worth paying attention to is that fear is necessary for growth. The rest is glib motivational talk.

  3. Thanks Brian – great insights. . What most people don’t see, because of the way their mind connects with TIME, is that there is a 85%-90% chance they will be forced to eat dog food once they “retire” and continue to love to around 90-100….

    Unless Mindsets are changed today the “Financial Tsunami” is coming for MOST people. Few will thrive once they are past the age of 60/65.

    Having a job, whilst providing “short-term Survival”, does not = Success. It is a bus ride, where you are not the driver, to longer-term delayed hell, for many people.

    Even though the entrepreneurial path is fraught with challenges – IT offers greater opportunity of Moving from survive to THRIVE in the longer term time line.


    Tony Dovale

    Wake Up – the tsunami is coming

    get your free pdf copy of my newest Mindset Trasformation book “Rethink Your Success Mindset @ http://www.successactivators.com

  4. I have just done exactly this, very personal reasons and not for money and without a safety net. Age 46, feeling happier, feeling scared and feeling confident. Can’t pay all my bills but they can wait until I can pay them, can’t doesn’t mean I don’t want to and it doesn’t mean I am avoiding them. People angry and upset with me for not paying, some are fine with it and those are the ones who will get paid first.
    Finding myself, attending the Millionaire day in CT next week.
    Now have a catalogue of me and what I can deliver and am now marketing it.
    Got a blog and sharing articles such as this as well and writing from the heart and sharing, telling others life is awesome and choose life over money because money becomes a result of life.

  5. This is magnificent. Hitting the nail on the head. I appreciate your contribution in building my inner resolve and thus helping me to help and believe in myself.

  6. Siyaoonga Ntombela · Edit

    Thanks guys, this article is one of those articles where u read them and be like THIS WAS WRITTEN FOR ME, HOW THE HELL DID THEY KNOW I NEEDED TO READ THIS, i am already knowing the date and time as to when I am gonna be quiting and start my BIG business, tired of procrastination, WATCH THE SPACE!!!

  7. Wow! People thought I was crazy and emotional after quitting my permanent job of ten years as the store manager and not knowing what to do next. It’s all makes sense.is like you’re talking about me and my situation.

  8. Fabiola Kamarama · Edit

    This is really an inspiring lesson,
    I hope more people will read this. Thank you,
    It really is an eye opener. I wanted to quit long time,
    Just the fear of where to start is still holding me in my current job.

  9. Did you write this to strengthen, comfort or encourage me because you just did…thanx man for the wonderful article and priceless wise words

  10. I took the step 6 years ago there are good months and bad months luckily so far more good then bad. Discipline is the key.
    I started to slack off after the second year and now I am struggling to get back in the routine.It helps if you have a family that supports you and a good team behind you.
    You should also always be truthful and respectful to your and never try and bullshit them. Your honesty will secure your relationship with your clients.
    This is only my opinion. I can assure you it is not easy but I think it is worth it.

  11. joe d mwendakazi · Edit

    congratulation, things to know not all who quit job because have found abetter and well paying. one can quit if cant see future on it. weing between the period he sarved and what he/she is not about green pastures. DONT ASK 4 FISH TRY FISHING.

  12. I could not believe I just read that. This has just proved to me that am not going nuts. I have this “crazy” feeling that I cant quite make it in life in my current job. AM STARTING MY JOB TODAY!!

  13. I’ve been strugling to get that courage to quit my job and start my own businness, waiting for the right time but from that article a’ve realised that this is the only right time.

  14. for sure it is true, i too had to quit my job to start my own business, it took me time to get a client, it was hard but finally am smiling and thanking God more and more

  15. Thanx for this grate insight.mine is not to quite, but contract ending and i have been able to overcome my fears.no regrates,but cant be employed again in life.getting out to find my own space.

  16. Lovely insights, truly felt I was talking to a mirror. Even I started when I was 31 and have been yet able to sustain, often dejction does seep in from time to time, only the next sunrise comes with new energy nd new hope of hitting the mark. But surely the journey and the fear keeps me going. Thanks for the lovely read.
    Rgds, Ritesh Kadam, http://www.theitravelgroup.com

  17. your story was mine – I quit at 34. No job in sight and the truth was i was not really looking. Even with best made plans – i came to know the full uncertainty that is life. I started with confidence and watched life beat it out of me. I was faced with doubt and those close to me praised me in one breath and called me a fool in the other.
    Fast forward to the present day – the story does change and i realize that it is changing everyday. I am more aggressive and always hunting for opportunities like a rat hunts for food.
    What have i learnt – i can count only on GOD and myself and no one else.
    There is no truning back when you commit to this kind of life – don’t spend time wallowing. Think, do and refine.
    Blessings and my sincere gratitude for sharing such a story!

  18. I have been reading such articles for sometime now but making the first step to the unknown world scares the shit out of me making me go back to my feel safe position.

  19. Great inspirational article. Many thanks for sharing those lessons. Life is really too big to worry about its details. All that matters in NOW!!!! And I am inspired!

  20. I’ve read this quote once that says “the promise of security is more dangerous than the illusion of uncertainty” and I think thats true. Thanks for sharing the things you’ve learned along the way in taking your chances to free yourself and be great on your own. Some people might not realize it now but eventually they will understand the value of being your own man. It’s just funny how people try to ignore the obvious that most people who have become really successful are the ones who have gone out of their way and comfort zone to try something new and eventually change the world. Thanks again for sharing this. Hoping that you inspire more people to follow their dreams. All the best!

  21. This article is very inspiring.The time we spend fulfilling other peoples dreams can be well spent fulfilling our own.You just need courage to take the first step.Thanks for this eye opening story.


Charity starts at home

Find out more about transactional giving with Buy1Give1

No Thanks Tell me more



Please fill in form:

Please complete the form below and a representative from The REAL Success Network will contact you to discuss your placement. Should you require immediate assistance please call us on +27 (0) 861 000 539 or email us: win@entrepreneur.co.za