I'm Happily Going Back to The 9-5 For My Mental Health

Scott Stockdale

Being time-rich is overrated

It’s going to go to sh*t.

No matter what, I couldn’t shake the feeling.

It’s going to go to sh*t.

It’s going to go to sh*t.

Believe me, I tried. I journalled, I gave gratitude, I wrote articles. All of this was an attempt to self-soothe.

But the feeling wouldn’t go away.

I don’t need the 9–5. I have enough savings. This isn’t what my brain was telling me, though.

Now that I’m going back, my mood has changed. Optimism is back. Scarcity has gone. I don’t feel under pressure to make my side-hustles work. Because of that, they’ll be side-hustles again.

You don’t need more time.

You just need to use it better.

Honestly, I’ve wasted so much time in the last three months. My workdays are shorter. Breaks last hours. This would be fine if I was more productive.

Yeah, about that…

Parkinson was onto something: “Work expands to fill the time available for completion.”

I know I’m lucky. I don’t have kids, my health is good, and there are tailwinds behind me. The only person depending on me is me.

Still, if you’ve read this far, you’ve got the time. What you focus on grows. Everything else dies.

What are you going to water?

Your fears won’t disappear.

They’ll intensify.

I previously wrote I have one years’ worth of savings. It’s closer to two. Working ten-hour days for two years has its pros.

Despite this, I craved stability. I wanted the arbitrary numbers on my bank balance to keep going up.

It reminds me of the story about Kurt Vonnegut and Joseph Heller.

At a party, Vonnegut tells Heller something surprising. Their billionaire host had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his best-selling novel, Catch-22.

Heller responds, “Yes, but I have something he will never have.

“Enough.”

Mindset is 80% of the game. Get comfortable with your fears before taking the leap. Even billionaires have them.

You’ll scratch the entrepreneur itch.

Then you’ll realise your job wasn’t so bad.

You may even be surprised to find you miss your 9–5. The people, the jokes, the sense of belonging. The world is set up for the 9–5.

The meetings were dull and you hated the office, but you were paid for those p*ss breaks.

This doesn’t mean we should conform. Just consider the following. Why hasn’t natural selection killed off the 9–5?

When you go off on your own, you’ll understand.

It’s hard as f*ck.

You may want to quit because you’re bored.

Resist.

To be clear, I’m not saying you shouldn’t quit your 9–5. Just think about why. Is it sucky now or will it suck forever?

I like this framework by Steven Bartlett. Ali describes it in one of his videos. It applies to life, not just jobs:

If it’s going to suck forever, you may want to quit your 9–5. There are different ways to do so.

One way is to say f*ck it and quit without a plan. You’ve had enough. You want out. I’ve spoken to many entrepreneurs on my podcast who’ve done just this.

Another is to build something on the side. This is what I’ve tried. For the last two years, I’ve experimented with various methods of making money online. I’m now averaging four figures a month.

Still, this doesn’t feel enough.

I quit too soon.

“People with a well-paying job ask my advice because they want to quit to become full-time artists.
“But full-time artists ask my advice because they’re finding it impossible to make money.
“For both of them, I prescribe the lifestyle of the happiest people I know. 1) Have a well-paying job. 2) Seriously pursue your art for love, not money.”
— Derek Sivers

You do you.

What works for someone else might be your worst nightmare.

Give him his dues, Gary Vaynerchuk pounds self-awareness. Sally on $40,000 a year might be happy. Cheryl on half a million might not.

Try stuff. Taste stuff. Keep on daring. When you think you’ve found something, give it a spin.

We’re all playing the same game. The way to win is to figure out what we want. Go after it whilst blocking out the noise from others.

If you have to take a few steps back, that’s okay.

What do you want?

Being time-rich is overrated.

You probably don’t need more hours. I told myself I did, just so I could procrastinate. Avoid this trap.

My new job starts next month. It’s a part-time role doing something I enjoy. I’ll spend three days a week working from home. The other two days are for side-hustles.

The job = paying my bills

Side-hustles = scalable income

It’s all a game of awareness. Block out the noise and listen to your body. What do you want?

Chances are, it’ll have the answer.

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Writer and host of Entrepreneurs Can Party. E-mail: scott@entrepreneurscanparty.com

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