I used to think I would work into my early 30s, save up around half a million dollars, and finally be free of my cubicle.
Unfortunately, that’s a good 7-8 years from now. And I don’t think my health would hold up for me to stick around that long. Of late, I’ve discovered a few little ways in which my job is killing my health. (Which is why I’m planning to quit at most 2 years from now.)
Perhaps, the same is for you. If you fall into any of the categories mentioned below, I’d strongly advise planning your exit route. ASAP.
1. You Hate Your Job
You hate beating the rush hour crowd. You hate the mad rush at the office. You hate the constant bitching and politics caused by people trying to stab each other in the back. You hate the fact that you’ve only got an hour of lunch, which you probably spend at your desk trying to clear work. You hate the unfulfilling work you’re doing.
Most of all, you hate the fact that you’re stuck at a desk for 8 or more hours a day, 5 or more days a week, 52 weeks a year, doing the same meaningless work day in and day out.
But all this hate isn’t doing you or your body any good.
Hate is a destructive emotion that eats you up from the inside. When you spend around 50% of your waking hours commuting to work, sitting at your desk, and then commuting back home, harbouring such an emotion can take a huge toll on your mental well-being.
And that’s not all. Hate is an emotion so toxic that it could even impair your immune system. Before I started working, I had a pretty healthy body. Two weeks into my first job, however, and I knew that sitting at a desk wasn’t right for me. Resentment started to build in me, and I found myself nursing high fevers at a much higher frequency than before.
I get it, most corporate jobs are pretty crappy. But sometimes, we just need to do it in the short-term for the money.
My advice? Make peace with whatever you can, and save as much money as possible. In a few short years, you’d have enough to quit your job and chase your dreams.
So, save money as if your life depends on it.
Because frankly, it really does.
2. Your Job is Crazy Stressful
You’re constantly stressed out at work. You try to churn out papers, spreadsheets. You rush to meetings. You’re hard-pressed to meet deadlines. Your bosses are breathing down your neck. Your colleagues are trying to find some way to throw you under the bus.
When you’re suffocated by all the stress you encounter at work, your mental health will suffer. Emotional turmoil and financial stress is something I’ve been through. I can relate to it. I know how exhausting it is to go through a full day without a wink of sleep. I understand the desperation that comes with an anxiety attack. I’ve been to the deepest, darkest parts of depression where I just didn’t want to live.
Here’s the thing. Most high-income jobs require 24/7 dedication to the work, which comes with a lot of stress and sleepless nights. Lower-income jobs, on the other hand, give you adequate work-life balance with a significantly lower stress level.
I fall into the latter category. Instead of having a higher-income job where I would be able to afford more luxurious things, I’d rather give up these things and save aggressively. Because I don’t see the sense in letting my health be completely sacrificed for a corporate job that I don’t find much meaning in.
If you’re not a big fan of your job, and if it’s extremely high-stress, think about finding a lower-stress job, despite the smaller paycheck. Remember, health is wealth.
3. You’re Desk-Bound
Maybe you love your job. Maybe you even love the stress.
Unfortunately, when you’re stuck at your desk for about 8 or more hours a day, 5 or more days a week, 52 weeks a year, your desk job will still take a massive toll on your physical health.
It could be because you don’t get enough sleep.
It could be because you don’t have time to exercise.
It could be because you only eat take-out.
It could be because you simply sit at your desk all day.
Your risk of a whole host of illnesses, including diabetes and cardiovascular problems, drastically increases.
Perhaps, it may be time to start slowing down. Spend more time with your loved ones. Spend more time embracing nature. Spend more time pursuing passions outside of work.
A Defiant Personal Choice – Health over Money
Here’s a short story of my life, and how I chose my health over money.
I graduated from law school, passed my Bar exams, and got called to the Bar.
After all that work, I ditched an insanely lucrative career.
Many people have asked me why I chose to do so. They tell me that I made a wrong choice. That I should be slogging it out at a law firm 24 hours a day, every single day of the year. In a few years, I would become senior associate. Then, junior partner. Then, partner.
They tell me I’m wasting my life at a dead-end job in a small company, earning peanuts of a salary despite having a good work-life balance.
They tell me all these things that I’m supposed to do, to thrive in a materialistic world like ours.
But here’s the reality.
I hated law school. (I only did it to make my father happy, back in the day.) I hated my internships at law firms. I knew I would hate working at a law firm.
The stress is high, and the hours are incredibly long, too. It’s not uncommon for my peers to work 12 to 16-hour days. Sometimes, they would even pull multiple all-nighters.
I’ve known, for a long while now, that corporate jobs aren’t for me. I don’t want to be bound to my desk, and I don’t want to work for anybody. But right now, I’m doing it for a little extra financial security.
I’ve made my peace with working 9 hours a day, 5 days a week. Even so, some days, it can be a little trying for me to make it through the day. Just thinking about 16-hour work days, while being in a constant state of stress, is absolutely terrifying.
And for what, really? A bigger paycheck so I can buy myself a real fancy house after 20 years on the job?
So, I made my little defiant choice, against what everybody else told me.
I took a significantly smaller paycheck. I don’t even bother trying to climb the corporate ladder.
In exchange, I leave my job on time, almost every single day. I don’t work on weekends. I don’t have crazy stressful deadlines that I need to pull all-nighters for.
I have free time to work out, take a walk, write blog posts, and learn cool stuff.
I did that because I refuse to let my health be sacrificed for a silly cubicle job that I don’t love.
Just a little food for thought.