If you're scraping by each month living paycheck to paycheck, life can be tough. If you hear about someone quitting a high-paying job, you'd probably thing they were foolish and crazy. But, life and the choices we make aren't always so transparent.
What some people don't realize is there's an overwhelming amount of stress and intensity that typically comes with a high paying job. It's possible to make a six-figure income at any age. But, the high income alone won't guarantee your happiness.
A High-Paying Job Doesn't Guarantee Happiness
After you make about $75,000 a year, your happiness doesn’t increase much. When I left my job in 2012, my passive income investments were making about $80,000 a year. At that point, I knew I’d have enough to continue living in expensive San Francisco.
I’ve made anywhere from $4/hour flipping burgers at McDonald’s to seven figures in banking. And my happiness meter has stayed largely about the same.
The main reason why I quit a multiple six-figure high paying job is because I had achieved enough money to be happy. There's no doubt I worked my ass off to get there. And, I knew that if I continued on that career track, my physical and mental health would seriously suffer.
So long as one has enough money to eat, live, move, and spend time with friends and loved ones, that’s all that matters.
Why Do People Quit High Paying Jobs?
Besides health reasons, why else do people walk away from high paying jobs? The main reason can be summed up in one word. Freedom!
The thing that permanently gave me a step up in happiness from around a 7/10 average to a 8/10 average was newfound FREEDOM. Once I left my job that required ~65 hours a week on average, I felt emancipated like Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption.
The value of my freedom became even more valuable once I became a father in 2017. My wife and I appreciate being able to stay at home everyday to take care of our kids and watch them grow up. We feel very blessed not to have missed a single milestone in their lives.
Take a look at how miserable the Goldman Sachs analysts are in a 2021 poll. They will all make over $400,000 a year if they stick with their jobs for another 7-10 years. However, at what cost?
It's Hard To Give Up Freedom For A High-Paying Job
Folks have tried to tempt me back with $500,000+ a year jobs and I have declined. My wife and I made a pact not to go back to work until our boy goes to kindergarten. And even then, it’s unlikely either of us will ever go back.
Why? Because I’m able to fill my time writing here on Financial Samurai, a personal finance blog I started in 2009. FS provides an intellectual outlet that keeps me busy for 15–20 hours a week.
And it's likewise been a great way for my wife to contribute as well. She's great at editing, working on updates, and writing content on a variety of topics from NFTs to business credit card reviews and credit scores.
Running this blog is fun and rewarding and I hope other people find a similar outlet. Everybody should plant their flag on the internet. Due to the law of attraction, you will find your community if you consistently put yourself out there.
Do This Before Quitting A High-Paying Job
One strong recommendation I must give for folks who want to quit a high paying job is to NEVER quit, but negotiate a severance instead. If you actually do have a high paying job, you are quite valuable to your employer.
Therefore, your employer doesn’t want to lose you. Quitting out of the blue would leave them in the lurch. Instead, you can negotiate an amicable separation. This creates a win-win scenario for both you and your employer.
My wife and I both negotiated severance packages before we left our six-figure jobs. And we couldn't be happier.
Receiving a severance package that paid for 5–6 years of comfortable living expenses was my catalyst to leave full-time work forever at the age of 34. It was the greatest decision I ever made. And I hope more people who want to quit speak up for themselves.
You can always make another dollar, but you can never create another second of time.
Further Related Reading To High-Paying Jobs
Here are some additional articles for further reading.
- How A High Performing Employee Negotiated A Severance
- Is Making Six Figures A Year Considered Rich?
- Saving Enough In My 401k To Quit My Job Comfortably
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