The Importance of Having a Plan

This is a guest post from David of MyTwoDollars. If you like what you see here, please consider subscribing to his RSS feed.

It was September of 2006 when I finally gave notice at what was turning out to be a dead-end corporate gig. While it paid handsomely, it was so incredibly boring that it was sucking the life out of me. I am a curious learner by nature, and to have days go by with nothing but paperwork to push around was killing my spirit!

So after 4 years at this job, casually collecting my big paychecks, I quit cold turkey. I gave them a month’s notice so I could assist in any transition, but guess what? There wasn’t one, because they never got around to hiring anyone. Believe me, it was not a healthy environment. But back to how we survived.

As it turns out, I quit without having another job lined up. Most people said I was stupid, an opinion that was shared by many of my readers. But while I did not have another gig lined up, I did have a plan, and it has paid off rather well.

We learned a lot about planning when we moved to the beach and our rent tripled (while our income didn’t), so… For months before I quit, my wife and I started shoveling money into a savings account. This would be the account we would live off if I wasn’t able to make money for a while. Within a few months, we had enough put away to equal a few months of my salary, so we felt comfortable with moving forward with our plan.

One month before I quit, I had my resume professionally redone. The end product was worth the money, but the funny part is that I have not had to use it yet. We also started talking to all of our friends and colleagues to let everyone know that I was going to be out of work in a few weeks, and I started contacting old employers to see what they were up to.

So now, let’s talk about the day I walked out the door for good. I left my back problems, my anger issues, and my lack of interest in my job at my desk that day when I went home. What a glorious feeling! That was a Friday, and (thanks to a friend of mine) I had a part-time job as a web designer on Monday. And that job, which started off as a temporary, twenty hour per week gig, is still going strong. Granted, I still only put in 20-25 hours for them a week, but it keeps me honest. 🙂

The rest of my income has come from my online ventures. I run MyTwoDollars as well as a website on environmental and sustainability issues called The Good Human. I also design, implement, and maintain several other websites and weblogs for people. All of the income from these other sources balances out the hours I put in for my “employer, ” and I get to do it all from home on my own schedule — I never had to go back to a corporate gig. It’s been a great 15 months so far and I would not trade it for the world.

The key for us was to plan in advance, even if that didn’t involve having a job lined up. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go back into the corporate world, so we saved a ton of money and talked to everyone. We cut back on eating out and other entertainment prior to my last day. We lived even further beneath our means than we normally do, because we knew we had to sacrifice for me to be able to leave my job.

And even knowing now what I didn’t know then, I would still do it the same way all again. I’ve been working for 14 years now since I graduated college, and the last 15 months of all those years has been the most rewarding and most interesting of all. I hope I don’t have to ever trade it in and go back!

7 Responses to “The Importance of Having a Plan”

  1. Anonymous

    i absolutely love my job, but i have worked at the soul-sucking jobs that you describe. one question — what do you do for medical insurance?

  2. Anonymous

    I enjoyed reading this article, mainly because I’ve been in the same boat. My husband and I were just getting started in life, but my career was boring and not at all interesting. So I quit, cold turkey, and I don’t regret a minute of it. My husband and I also had a “plan” in place so I was able to take my time to redirect my career in the direction I wanted to go. It’s definitely worth it!

  3. Anonymous

    Planning and organization will set you free.

    Congratulations on having the guts to put your plan into place. I hope to join you in a few years as I put mine into place. Right now, the daily expense of living is crushing me. Between three kids, a mortgage, private school, and nagging debt, I have a ways to go.

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