Escape 9 To 5 Life: 4 Steps To Establishing The Correct Mindset
Some remote workers vision, plan and articulate their dream to escape 9 to 5 life. Other people are simply going about their normal work routine when an unexpected work meeting delivers a surprise.
That’s what happened to me: I didn’t plot to “escape” 9 to 5 life – it just happened. Like so many others during the pandemic, I suffered a layoff due to COVID budget constraints.
It happened on May 14, 2020 – so I left and never looked back.
Note from Kayla: This guest post about how to escape 9 to 5 life was written by Daphne Reznik, the creator behind FreeAt50! I publish guest posts on Writing From Nowhere to give readers a well-rounded perspective on remote life. Daphne’s story and outlook are so valuable – enjoy reading and check her site out when you’re done.
Since that day, I’ve gone through a lot of learning and decision making. But unlike so many others, I didn’t have to search my soul. I knew as soon as the fateful Zoom call ended around 11:45 am EST, I was FREE.
Intro To Escape 9 To 5 Life
What I did not know, was how to sustain a lifestyle (you know- like pay bills?) for the long-term.
But I didn’t stress: instead, I immediately prioritized.
First, I contacted everyone I needed to, filed for unemployment with, quite literally, millions of other Michiganders, made sure my paperwork was all set for my health care and severance and then…
Breathed. Chilled. Relaxed.
Michigan was locked down, I had worked for 30 years without a break (other than a week or two of vacation at a time at the most- while still accessible of course), paid taxes, lived to serve “the company” and… I was over it.
And luckily for me, that mindset was the foundation for quitting corporate life.
Escape 9 To 5 Life: 4 Steps To Establishing The Correct Mindset
Step 1: Know Your Why
Everyone’s story will be different, but when I was laid off, I was 49 years old. And if I’m honest, we had a pretty typical corporate situation going on, which led to some pretty awful behavior and a ton of anxiety in the company.
It wasn’t all bad: I loved my actual job, my boss and most everyone I worked with. However, the environment had been uncomfortable for a long time with concerns over restructuring after the loss of senior leaders, including our CEO.
These feelings didn’t appear overnight: I’d been reflecting long before that. I was watching people get older, including my parents, watching GenXers stressing out and passing away much too young.
Prior to my layoff, I had already decided that if I was one of the next wave of eliminations, I did not want to do the 9 to 5 (or 8 to 6, 7 to 7, weekends etc.) thing anymore. I’d worked in state government, for a small business and then in corporate.
None of these years were wasted: they were all outstanding experiences and gave me a gift: a toolkit of skills to use in the future.
I knew my “why” for professional freedom, and this post from Kayla is all about it.
What I didn’t know yet was the “how.”
Escape 9 To 5 Life Step 2: Find Inspiration
One thing I’ve always been quick to do is pick up the phone. This led me to an important discovery: A couple of weeks after the layoff, a former colleague of mine suggested Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek. #Vindicated
My thought process was okay: People left corporate life and not only survived but thrived!
This book became my primary inspiration, and I wanted to take the it even further.
Continuing to talk to people who inspired me was vital, so that’s exactly what I did. My friends had done some courageous things! I heard amazing stories.
Once I started talking about the book and my dream to steer clear of traditional employment, people stepped up with stories of inspiration:
- A friend who left business and management after more than 20 years and became an instructor at Carnegie Mellon!
- A friend who suddenly stepped away from 9 to 5 and is working in a donut shop and bakery in between taking her camper on the road and writing!
- And then another friend who shared that an old colleague of his quit her high-level position in a health care system, sold everything and has been living the nomadic life with her husband traveling the US in an RV!
- Plus another friend who told me about my new mentor Tegan Marshall, who with her husband, after reading the book, quit their jobs, sold everything, and have lived in like 17 countries over the last 8 years!
Inspiration to escape 9 to 5 life was everywhere. This is why people are one of my greatest “tools” in my toolkit.
Step 3: Be Authentic
After steps one and two, it is time to do what Tim Ferriss suggested:
- Figure out the worst-case scenario
- Layout the budget – expenses that are vital and the money you have access to
- List the skills you have and your passions
For me, this included writing, so that’s exactly what I did. I knew a blog was an option. I started with what became my first post, my month-to-month account of 2020 leading up to my decision to pursue professional freedom.
At this stage, listening to your gut and letting yourself be honest about what you want for your future is essential. #NoGuilt
Want to hear more insight from people who have successfully made the transition to remote work? Hear Angeline’s story of transitioning to remote work after being laid off, and her 3 tips for you.
Step 4 To Escape 9 To 5 Life: Research
Once you know what you don’t want, start researching ways to get what you do want.
What I wanted was to escape 9 to 5 life and own my time. Even with the big picture nailed down, it still took some experimentation to narrow down my vision.
First, I tested the waters doing a consultation project using my corporate background. While I enjoyed it, and it may be a future income stream, I really loved writing.
So, I jumped into Facebook groups, read a lot of blogs and took free courses online.
This went on for several months: research is not a topic to check off your list in an afternoon.
This led me to launching my blog at the very end of August and making the decision to monetize it.
Escape 9 To 5 Life Final Thoughts: Make A Decision And Take Action
Once I decided to run with the blog, I went all-in. This was something that all my research told me I needed to do: focus on one income stream at a time.
For me, the action items included:
- Scheduling occasional coaching sessions with my coach Tegan, who has succeeded in building the nomad lifestyle. She is keeping me focused on only the things I need to do for ME to succeed. There is SO much available online, so many strategies, ideas and frankly, shiny objects.
- Being consistent on social media about the FreeAt50 blog and its mission. My mission. This included “coming out” on LinkedIn as a blogger!
- Putting all my energy (“work energy”) into the blog. This means I sometimes need to say “no” to others and to myself.
Like Kayla, I hope to inspire others to take the leap and design the lifestyle they want. Please take inspiration from wherever you can and once you decide the path – go all in!
Note From Kayla: What a fantastic story of turning a difficult situation into an invitation to escape 9 to 5 life for good and live your desired lifestyle. I appreciate Daphne sharing her insight with us so much – follow Daphne online for more resources and inspiration from her journey to escape 9 to 5 life to yours.