Punk rocker Henry Rollins once said there’s a terrifying feeling you get when you realize you can’t work a 9 to 5 job.
You’re not happy. There are no fireworks. You say to yourself, “Oh no — I’m not gonna have a straight life. What am I going to do?”
“I felt like someone was strangling me in the 9 to 5, I didn’t know where I was going to go or what I should be doing, but I knew this wasn’t it. This was going to kill me.”
— Henry Rollins
This is me right now. Six months ago I was offered a full-time position as a crypto writer for a startup. I couldn’t refuse. The pay was beyond my wildest dreams. If I stayed there for a year or even two I would make it in life.
That’s not going to happen. Because I’m done.
Corporate life feels like a bad acid trip. It’s like being in a never-ending hall of mirrors where you see yourself reflected back, but you’re not really sure who you are.
I’m done with the soul-sucking, mind-numbing, heart-wrenching work that a nine-to-five job entails. I’m done with the false promises of upward mobility and the empty corporate mantra of “work hard, play hard.”
Here’s why you should consider opting out too.
Meetings are for douchebags
Meetings are Twilight Zone meets Groundhog Day. You sit in a room with a bunch of people who are all pretending to listen to each other, when really they’re just waiting for the entire thing to finish.
Many people in the corporate world have more meeting hours in a day than they do work. This is called “meeting culture,” and it’s likely responsible for the mental health crisis in the U.S.
In his book, “The Outsiders,” William Thorndike Jr. found that great CEOs are often great at saying no to meetings. They know that time is their most valuable commodity, and they’re not going to waste it sitting in a room full of people who aren’t going to get anything done.
If you ever hear from your boss, “we really accomplished a lot in that meeting!” then get out.
Get the heck out.
The paycheck is modern slavery
I met this very successful artist in Miami who told me something interesting about New York: “Everyone’s in a rat race and they don’t even know it.”
We race for digits in our bank account. We race to buy things on credit that we can’t afford. We race to tell our friends we have a six-figure job.
Take a step back and make sure you’re climbing the right hill in your career. People hate this guy right now, but as Jordan Peterson once said, “Life isn’t a game. It’s a series of games, some of which you’re good at and some of which you’re bad at.”
Here’s the kicker: You get to choose the game.
So many of us are unsatisfied in our 30s and 40s because we didn’t have the guts to go back down the hill and start a new game. It’s called sunk cost fallacy. We’re too far in to climb back down, and we know it. This is society lying to us. It’s lying like a used car salesman, and we believe it.
What makes someone like Kanye West or Susan Wojcicki successful is they weren’t afraid to start over. Critics might say they were lucky, but I think it’s because they had the gumption to take chances and reinvent themselves.
You either build your dreams or someone hires you to build theirs.
You don’t exist in the corporate world
I just watched this movie starring Nicholas Cage called “Pig.”
It was brilliant. Go watch it.
In the film, Cage was speaking to a former employee of his who, out of cowardice, ditched his dream job for a comfy wage slave position. Cage told his ex-employee this:
“You aren’t real. Why do you care about these people? They don’t care about you — they don’t even know you because you haven’t shown them.
You live your life for them and they don’t even see you. You don’t even see yourself.”
We don’t get a lot of things to really care about in this life.
I don’t know how many hours, days, or minutes I have on this Earth. None of us do. If you don’t show your unapologetic self to the world, or at least try, then God help you, because you’re living in a hell that you created.
And the worst part is, deep down you know this.
Let me finish by saying I have a lot of respect for many workers in the corporate world.
There are those with families who have to suck it up. They grab their bag lunch and say “screw — I gotta get through this shift to feed my family.” There are also those who enjoy corporate life. Their boss treats them right, it’s a small office, etc, etc.
But there are some of you like me.
A 9 to 5 job feels like radiation to you. I actually had physical pain in my stomach… Maybe I should get that checked out.
Anyway, I didn’t mean for this to come off as a Tim Denning article. Self-help isn’t my thing, but I hope someone out there wakes up after reading this.
I’ll leave you with this: When you grab a man by his balls, his heart and mind will follow.
Go grab life by the horns.
This article was published early on my Substack. Join 2000+ people on my newsletter for a free copy of my new eBook “Gold2.0.”