I'm Quitting My Job Friday and I Invite You to Leap Into the Unknown With Me : Under30CEO I'm Quitting My Job Friday and I Invite You to Leap Into the Unknown With Me : Under30CEO
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I’m Quitting My Job Friday and I Invite You to Leap Into the Unknown With Me

| June 25, 2013 | 61 Comments

mandelaAnd it’s been three years in the making. Well, 2 years and 364 days to be exact, but who’s counting?

Everyone always talks about walking off stage with diploma in hand, but I think the beginning is much more exciting. Single file into the aisle and up the steps, wait for your name to be called, approach the podium (don’t trip!), remember to accept with your left and shake with the right, and is now the right time to switch your tassel? The follow-up was easy, almost disappointingly so.

Feet firmly on the ground and back on the cold white plastic chair, I remember thinking to myself, “Now what?”

10 semesters (yeah, I got a little distracted freshman year) and $42,000 in student debt later, I felt fooled. After 21 years of being told where to go and what to do, the next steps were mine, and let me tell you, they haven’t gone according to plan.

I never wanted to be Gordon Gekko. I didn’t want “Dr.” at the beginning of my name or “Esq.” at the end. Nope, I was fine being Sean Parker. I was too cool to be Mark Zuckerberg, but I knew a good idea when I saw one, so my plan was to find the next Facebook and retire by 26. My whole thing was working smarter, not harder. I mean, Tim Ferris’s The 4-Hour Workweek was a national bestseller.

And how hard could it have been? My plan was to get in on the ground floor, secure some equity, and wait. In the meantime, I spent more money than I earned (YOLO!) and made sure my Facebook and Instagram photos screamed, “I’ve arrived!” I really thought I had, plus my parents were still paying my cell phone bill. I was keeping calm and winning.

Well, I’ve been on my Charlie Sheen kick for 2 years and 364 days and I think time’s up. I asked a few buddies if I could crash on their futon, but four guys in a converted two-bedroom is not my idea of grown-man status. You know what is? Moving back in with your parents! When I went to tell moms and pops that idea, they thought I should “give it a little more time.” Like 20 or 30 years more. And I said “No no no!” Like Amy Winehouse, I was stuck.

Not only was I stuck, I was entitled.

Now 90% of you reading this will say, “But Peggs, you’re not entitled, you just want what you want. Oh, and how cliché to describe yourself—and, by way of implied association, us—as entitled!” To that I say, “Look around you!”

I am entitled. You are too. Have you ever wanted something that you couldn’t have? It sucks, and we happen to want it all.

My $5 lattes, aggressive brunches, 15-minute bathroom breaks, mini college reunions, Brooklyn half-marathons, bike rides over the Golden Gate Bridge, weekend trips home, unexpected 10% off, and cheat meals fried and dipped in chocolate are not enough. Coachella (Weekend 1, of course), 2 for 1 happy hours, unlimited sick days, finding $20 in my pants pocket and deciding to sleep in an extra hour because it’s Friday are not enough—and it never will be.

My problem, and maybe yours too, is that I stepped off the stage and into the crowd.

Despite knowing that the cap didn’t fit, I did what was expected anyway. I never wanted to be in finance, and after Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers collapsed, it was easier than ever to leave my first job. I ran west, and thanks to Aaron Sorkin and The Social Network (great movie, btw), Silicon Valley is sexy, so once again I feel obliged to stay.

Now I know what you’re thinking, and yes, plenty of people would give up their smart phone to work at my super top-secret tech company that shall remain nameless. But it’s not for me, and I guess that’s the point. Why do we follow the playbook of others?

What I want is to break the rules, and that begins on Friday. Am I nervous? HELL YEAH. Will it be easy? Nothing in life that’s worth it ever is. Am I doubting my resolve? Yes, and this letter to you is my accountability.

There’s nothing rational or logical here, and I definitely didn’t find this advice in any book. I’m walking away and inviting you to come with me.

In the last 2 years and 364 days I realized that the common factor is me, so I’m making moves.

To where is the million dollar question, and I promise you it’s not what you think.

Thoughts are things, and what I know for your sure is that change is a mentality. I’m moving away from intimidation, expectation and indecision. I’m calling out regret and putting doubt on blast. Fear was a factor of the past and in it’s place lies a chance.

I’m giving notice to the possible.

On Friday, I’ll do everything I’m supposed to do: define my dreams, pick apart my passion, generate some goals, meet my mentors, hobnob and network. And then I’ll do everything else.

Life is directional and for the first time I’m in the drivers seat. I may get stuck, veer of course or take the wrong turn but success comes from driving by the fork in the road and keeping straight (thanks HOV).

Where are you headed? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Michael Peggs likes to think of himself as a Chief Branding Officer (CBO), daring young professionals to define their personal brands and go after their dreams. Your Personal Brand is how you market and sell yourself to others. His blog, online courses and weekly YouTube show helps Gen Y package their talents to stand out in a crowd. You can reach Peggs by visiting Michaelpeggs.com.

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Category: Career Advice, Entrepreneurship

  • jeradmaplethorpe

    I admire your courage and look forward to reading about the adventure! I have “set a date” to depart from my job, but it’s not years down the road– it’s only a few months out. For people like you and I, the normal comforts of routine just don’t cut it. The most thrilling way to live, it seems, is also the most vulnerable.

    Thanks for the post!

  • KKarter

    Mike, I’m headed to EL’s (Entrepreneur Land) and I’ll plant my flag on the highest hill so people will know I have arrived. I’m putting my notice in to procrastination, missed opportunity, anti-socialism and eventually, my 9-5. I, like you, want it all and the only thing holding me back from all of it is me. RIP the old me. RIP to the bad decisions that people made for me that impacted my life. This new me wants it all and she’ll get it “…or die trying!”

  • Toninho Claudio

    This post is so relevant to me right now. I’m actually quitting my job this Friday to be the driver in my own two-seater in life. Thank you for this inspiring post. I’m writting this comment from my job in a town called Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • michaelpeggs

    Toninho, congrats on taking a leap of faith! Let the journey begin

  • michaelpeggs

    And you deserve it all! The beautiful thing about opportunity is there’s always another chance at redemption. Honor your true north and seek it out each and every day

  • michaelpeggs

    That’s it! I try to do something each day that makes me feel uncomfortable and this is nervous breakdown territory but I’ve been going through the motions for too long. Time to take a bigger bet

  • ontheregimen

    Haha – I am also entitled, well said.

    Congrats, GL and Godspeed brother.

  • michaelpeggs

    …and there’s nothing wrong with it as long as we’re willing to put in the work! And now is as good a time as ever

  • Jaclyn

    Amazing post. Speaks to me. Did I feel entitled? No, until I read this. Yea, I AM! All the best!

  • shinyjules

    I am in a similar situation, but instead of taking the leap I planned to when the time was right, I am being pushed into it much earlier. I am currently working as Creative Director for a small business that does most of the design for a large university athletic department and alumni events. I basically bleed pantone color 200 and am ready for a move but was ALSO waiting until I had the means to do so. This could have been a few years with working full time and freelancing on the side. I want to wake up at 10 after a few too many cocktails, or take a vacation anytime I can, focus more on my health treatments, start a family, build a house, tattoo my face (ok maybe not that one but, you get the idea. I want to no longer work for the man. I want to be the man!

    This past few months, our contract was broken early to allow other vendors to bid against us for the part of the business that 90% of our income comes from. Though our proposals were thought out and beautiful, we don’t have the 6 mil that the others are offering to compete to compete. This being said, I am likely going to lose my job and be pushed into my dream, well before I have the means.

    As I said, I have always dreamed of going completely freelance/contract as a designer and eventually own my own business. Now, instead of crying myself to sleep, I am going to find a way to make my dreams come true. It’s going to be an adventure and I am going to embrace it!

  • michaelpeggs

    Thanks Jaclyn, never compromise. We can have it all!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Pumped for you Jerad!!!

  • michaelpeggs

    Sometimes life has a funny way of showing up and showing out. I think you’re right to see the potential loss of your job as a sign. No matter how the ball drops keep on rolling!

  • Chantal

    Bravo! My business has been in the making for the past 7 years. I always told myself at the end of each year that if it did not work, I would quit. But I realized I never had the chance to fully give it my all until now. And, after a full year of putting everything into it, I am finally ready to quit my 9-5 in 3 weeks (I am giving my 2 weeks’ notice next Wednesday) and go for it. I am scared, nervous, and excited! And I am happy to know that others are in there with me. Thanks for the great post!

  • michaelpeggs

    That is amazing, HUGE congratulations! I too have been moonlighting for years and it feels amazing to be in a place where you can take the next step

  • Marc

    Loved it, Michael. It’s inspirational but I’m 25, in NYC, 9-5 job, itching to do my own thing but can’t seem to take the step. Don’t have a particular dream or idea, all I know is that I’d like to be in the driver seat as well. I don’t know where to go from here. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but I know it CAN be done. Just don’t know where to go from here.

  • michaelpeggs

    Hey Marc, where are you at your best? I’m 27, in NYC and have a 9 – 9 job but I prioritize what matters most and cut everything (& everyone) else out. I get a little less sleep these days but that’s what we call short-term sacrifice for long-term gain!

  • Marc

    Yeah, I have a lot of unique skills, good education, languages etc. It’s not about the hours, or whether I have potential at a career. It’s the challenge of finding what I want to do exactly and be my own boss, then knowing when the time is to act.

  • Jason Butler

    I love this post. I am entitled and working on some things right now!

  • michaelpeggs

    Thanks Jason, go get it! It’s already yours it just takes follow-up

  • Arionne Nettles

    Congrats! Not sure exactly of when I’m leaping, but it’s coming soon! :)

  • T

    This was a great article. I too am looking to take the step out on my own. I just cannot figure out the right time. Unfortunately, I do have the “Esq.” behind my name, and an unspeakable amount of debt. But this was exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you for your insight, and good luck on your journey!

  • michaelpeggs

    Thanks Arionne! As long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other you’ll make it…I promise

  • michaelpeggs

    Nothing unfortunate about it! That Esq. is setting you up for something bigger and better as long as you seek it and, when you find it, step out on faith

  • Rey Castellanos

    Love this article. Couldn’t be better timing. I am also leaving my job on Friday to embrace uncertainty and the unknown. One thing that I have learned is that when you reach for the things that are most important in your life, that’s when our inner alarm goes off and we start to question ourselves and our resolve; its also how we know we are on to something worthwhile. Whether we ever get where we want or not is beside the point, because the act of reaching for the things that are most important is inherently fulfilling in itself. Good luck to you.

  • michaelpeggs

    Rey, couldn’t have said it better myself. Matt Wilson (Under30CEO co-founder) wrote a blog about this very topic last week. It’s already done. When you step out and take what the universe has for you “it” is fulfilled. All you have to do is follow through!

  • Ali

    Awesome!!! Wishing you all the best Michael.

  • Jason P.

    This sounds like the beginnings to a great script. As for me, I’m a
    branding freak, but when it comes to myself, I’m at a loss. I’ve missed
    out on waves of opportunity and after long years adrift in
    post-collegiate abyss, I feel one more chance to get it right.

    I have
    found myself struggling between the capitalist me of jet-setting Mad
    Menery and the political, Occupy-esque, social change-me that’s yearning
    to breathe. I’ve veered off course, abandoning my gut instinct for far
    too long and am ready to come into my own.

    Coming from a background
    where THEY don’t want a jack of all trades, then require that you know
    “all trades” (graphic design) in the job post/description, you can see how a little insanity can wiggle its way in.

    So what do you do when your mind is built for branding, biz dev, and
    serial entrepreneurship but you have no verifiable history nor capital? I
    dunno. That’s why I’m asking. But either way, it’s time to shake things
    the fuck up. I dunno where I’m headed, but it’ll definitely be somewhere other than here.

  • http://www.callbox.com.my/ Christine Steffensen

    Good luck to you Michael. I wish you success to the path you have chosen. I really hope you’ll find the happiness and contentment in your future job. :)

  • michaelpeggs

    Thanks Ali!

  • michaelpeggs

    Hey Jason, I hear you all too well. What do you do? You make some assumptions and you prove them either right or wrong. Are you in the right company? role? city? Should you go back to school or start your own thing on the side? NO ONE KNOWS THE ANSWER! BUT that shouldn’t let that stop you from trying a few things out and see what sticks

  • michaelpeggs

    Thank you Christine, that is very kind and I will the same happiness and fulfillment to you!

  • michaelpeggs

    The time is always now. And in terms of what you want to do? Start with answering this question: what is your gift? Once you figure that out find a space to offer it to as many people as possible

  • kibibe Bailey

    Great article, I too am leaving my marketing job on Friday with no clue where I will end up, what I do know is that is that it will be a job that suits my passions and desire to get into the TV & Film/ Entertainment industry as a casting assistant. Let’s just see, but I’m hopeful. When leaving a job without having anything else secured, it is a step of boldness, courage but more importantly belief in yourself that you deserve to have a fulfilled life and a life of purpose not just sailing through and accepting money over satisfaction. Well done to you :-)

  • Joe

    This is lovely, really it is. I love the fact that, it faced the facts of being afraid to step out of the comfort zone and into the wild… but how do I begin, dropped my resignation letter last week cos I don’t feel fulfilled after 5 (five) long years and since I did, I’ve been so tensed with faster heartbeats and all. Just need more hope for the better…are there step by steps I can follow?

  • http://www.siddharthbharath.com/ Siddharth Bharath

    Good on you Michael! It’s been a year since I left my consulting job to start up. I’ve had ups and downs, I’m still lost, I’m still searching, I’m still trying. But if I had to, I’d do it all over again.
    I spoke to my parents after a long time yesterday and they said I was daring to take such a risk. I told them it would be a risk to stay in a 9-5 job you don’t care about, no matter how well-paying or ‘prestigious’ it is.
    You’re taking control of your life mate. Keep at it.
    Buena suerte!

  • Jason P.

    thanks Michael. I’m definitely changing things up

  • Jeff

    Mike, Not only does this article speak VOLUMES to me, but the comments from others give me just as much hope. My struggle has been to find my passion, now I have the opportunity to find it, drive to it, and make it happen better than anything else! (thanks to massive layoffs at my 9-5)

    I’m following your words of advice, “What is your gift?” It’s so easy to lose sight of the most important and simple question you should ask yourself. I have a few, just unsure which will lead to my true passion. One which brings true happiness and fulfillment!

    I wish you good luck and continued success. (I say continued because you’re already a success by making this bold move!)

    You’re already making a difference!

  • michaelpeggs

    And well done to you too my friend! I could not agree more, it’s faith that leads us when all we have is our intution. I’m glad to see you’re following yours

  • michaelpeggs

    Siddharth, whats been the biggest challenge and surprise in the first year? What advice do you have for me?!

  • michaelpeggs

    Thank you for those words Jeff. A mentor asked me, “what is your gift?” more than 3 years ago and it took me an entire year to answer it. It’s taken me 2 more years to put a plan in place but I’m doing it. And so now I ask you, “Jeff, what is your gift?”

  • michaelpeggs

    Hey Joe, answer one of these two questions, “what is your gift?” and “where are you at your best?” Once you find the answer, and it took me more than a year, commit to finding/creating an opportunity to share with as many people as possible

  • http://www.siddharthbharath.com/ Siddharth Bharath

    Michael,

    The most important piece of advice is get the founding team right. Doing it alone is extremely tough so you probably need a team. Make sure the founding team has well balanced skills, and that they share your passion and vision. A good test for passion is to see if they are willing to quit existing jobs and work with you full-time. Also look for team members from personal networks. Getting a guy you barely know to become a co-founder will fail more often than not. I learnt this the hard way.

    Your team needs to do everything. Design, test, develop, market, PR, everything. Which is why you need a well-balanced team. Try not to outsource, but, if you must, make sure you outsource to someone in your city, or at least in the same time zone. Again, I learnt this the hard way.

    And finally, stay focused. Don’t jump ideas or split you focus on multiple things. If you must change your idea, change only when the data shows you that your idea is not going to work.

    Sid

  • michaelpeggs

    Thanks Sid, super helpful…my first priority will be finding my A-Team!

  • Daniel DiPiazza

    Really great post, Michael and man…you know I feel the same way. Really appreciate your candor and honesty. We need more of this caliber of writing.

  • Nick Kretz

    Your article came at the perfect time! Two weeks ago, I attempted to quit my job and was convinced to stay and work part-time. After reading your article, I realized that I could no longer work in a job that did not align with my higher self and decided to quit on Friday. I have never felt so free! I have jumped off the cliff into the ocean of the unknown. I look forward to the adventure! Thanks again for your enlightening words of encouragement! :-)

  • tatis

    This article made me feel so much better. I work in the insurance industry and I am fairly new to the life insurance world per say. I feel pretty comfortable with auto and home but life for some reason intimidates the hell out of me. Today I had an appointment because I made it my goal to try to set up at least 4 appointments a month to practice because as they say, practice makes perfect and I am a pretty shy girl which makes these types of meeting more intimidating for me. Today was my first life appointment for the month for my new goal and I must say I did not do too bad except not close the sale, although they said they will come back on Thursday to finzalize everything and I know the lady is really interested in doing it but what if she never comes back. I lost my golden opportunity. After my appointment I started feeling insecure, intimidated, scared of the future and if this is the right career for me. I was having doubts and I felt bad. Reading this article made my day and even if i never close her life policy I still appreciate the opportunity I had and the learning experience. I know in time as long as I keep practicing and not give up I will look back and laugh at the moments like this. I am sure many can agree that stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy but defintely worth it at the end. Today I plan to keep having a postive state of mind, not allow my fears to take over my dreams and do my best everyday. Thanks for writting this article and making all those who doubt ourselves at times feel better.

  • Best Critiques

    Seems like a lot of people liked this article….maybe there was something in the last paragraph worth reading….I never got there. Either you get my attention in the first paragraph or you loose me. You lost me! I suggest that whatever you do, it doesn’t include serious writing.

  • May

    Love it, I am doing the same, ramping up! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  • http://www.business-online-guidance.com/ Steven Fabian

    Hi Michael and thanks for telling us this story. As someone who isn’t a huge fan of universities, schools and working at other companies, I think I perfectly understand your decision. Also, I think you’re so right when you say “Everyone always talks about walking off stage with diploma in hand, but I
    think the beginning is much more exciting. Single file into the aisle
    and up the steps, wait for your name to be called, approach the podium
    (don’t trip!), remember to accept with your left and shake with the
    right, and is now the right time to switch your tassel? The follow-up
    was easy, almost disappointingly so.” You work so hard and for so long only to be disappointed that receiving that diploma is really not as fantastic as everyone hypes it up to be… How much better is it to be your OWN boss and shape your life the way YOU want it to be. So thanks again for sharing this and good luck in the future!

  • BashirOsman

    walking into the unknown is scary because you have no idea where you are going, but its also exciting because you walking towards something even if you’re not sure exactly what it is yet.

  • Ross Currie

    A month later… how’s it going?

  • Tyson Hartnett

    Very nice, and very personal. Good luck in your leap of faith!

  • JMH

    <3 this article! I did the same. Quit the day job, 21 months ago to run my graphic design agency. Wouldn't trade a day…. congrats!

  • Adi Arifin

    Interesting post. One quote that helped me to get through the lows is “80% of things that you worried about do not actually happen, and you end up perfectly solving those 20% that happen.”

  • Kenneth Moore

    you really inspires me to do so. “give it a little more time.”- strikes on my lazy head.

    http://projectmanagementacademy.net/salt-lake-city/pmi-acp.php

  • Kenneth Moore

    Your post really inspires me to do more and give more time to my job.

    http://projectmanagementacademy.net/salt-lake-city/pmi-acp.php

  • Lizzy

    This article is awesome, it makes me want to walk off the job now!! I love all the comments too, all of us are thinking the same thing, this 9-5 thing is dead; the world is changing, and its not a coincidence or a trend that “we” the younger generations are rejecting this bullshit system. Good luck to everyone in whatever you do!!
    We are the pioneers of the re-birth of the world.

  • Cody Lettau

    Great article! I have finally made the decision to take the leap into uncertainty as I quit my full-time job next Friday and begin to focus on my startup (Check out http://www.appttap.com) 100% of my time. I have been dreaming of this day for some time now and feel it’s the best time for me to do so as I am fresh out of college (graduated a little over a year ago) and have few commitments.

  • vanessa

    what a jerk !!

  • M.

    I’m a licensed cosmetologist, young, with a four year old. I’m back in college to continue my business degree (because that’s what the parents want). I realized for the past six years, I’ve been doing what my parents and surrounding influences feel is right for me. I’ve been back and forth from being contracted to State job to State job. I find myself hating each one, not because they totally suck, but it’s simply not my calling. I’m stuck, whether to leave and walk out on faith and be a full time cosmetologist solely relying on that income; or suck it up and stay at my job.