9 Helpful Tips For Leaving Your 9 to 5 Job

The song “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton was released in 1980, and I’m listening to it as I write this. Part of the refrain says, “There’s a better life, and you think about it, don’t you?”  

If you are reading this, I am guessing you really have thought about it at some point. I hope reading this will motivate you to do more than just think about it—it’s time for you to step into freedom!

Do people still work the hours of 9–5? When I was working a “normal job,” my hours were about 7:30–4:00. I was a teacher, though, so let’s be real. By the time I made lesson plans, got my room ready for the next day, and graded papers . . . it was just never-ending. 

Are you working a job like that? Sacrificing time with your family or your own mental health to be who you need to be for your job requirements?  

About five years ago, I started to wonder what else was out there for me. As much as I loved my students, I just felt like life was being sucked right out of me with all the demands of my profession. 

At that time, my husband and I were just dating, and he was working an industrial job in a paper mill. A big international company had just bought it out and took over. Positions changed, and the family atmosphere was gone. 

I saw the life being sucked out of him too.  

Maybe you are thinking, “This is just what we have to do, right? We suck it up and keep working that “9-5,” grateful we have just enough money to pay the bills with a little left over for retirement. In our seventies, we’ll finally be able to pursue a hobby or travel in that RV.” 

Well, here’s the thing: You don’t have to wait for your ship to come in. 

I am all about being grateful for what we have, but being grateful does not mean you can’t strive for something more. Robert and I did it, and you can too! 

How We Broke Free from the 9 to 5

Our story really began five years ago on a warm February evening, right around sunset, on Robert’s back porch. 

Now, let me tell you a little about my husband; he hardly ever talks about serious things. On those rare occasions when he is going to open up and have a serious conversation, I can feel it in the air. I know it will only last about two minutes tops, so I literally have to bite my tongue to keep my chatterbox self from ruining the moment. So, when he looked at me and said, “Did you know my dad died just two weeks after he retired?” 

I knew I had to let him roll with what was on his mind. He shared how he never thought that he, himself, would ever live to be 30 (he was really wild before he met me). But now that he was thinking about the future, he knew he didn’t want to spend any more time feeling like a prisoner or a robot. 

So, right then, before the sun even had time to set, we made our escape plan.  

I never thought that mama’s boy would ever actually do it, but he did! And here’s the crazy thing; the world didn’t fall apart. 

As a matter of fact, it all came together for us! Within a month, we had put our notices in at both of our jobs and put our houses up for sale (both went under contract in less than 48 hours, and both at and over asking price (mine was the one over asking price 😊). 

Within two months, we eloped and came back with our new home on wheels. Then, we moved into our RV and parked it in his brother’s garage. 

We registered Robert for the RV Tech Training Center in Clearwater, Florida, and I started research on opening our own business as a Mobile RV Repair Service. I finished out the school year, and the morning after my last day at school, we headed for Florida.  

And that’s how it all started. We broke free, and so can you.

Now that you know how we began, I want to share some helpful tips we have learned along the way. Disclaimer: It was NOT always easy. My first book will probably be called How Not to Kill Your Husband When Working and Living Together Full-Time in an RV

I hope these tips are what you need to begin your new journey, however big or small it may seem.  

  • Know that it is possible! 💪

You may think, “Duh, it’s obviously possible because other people have done it. I just don’t know if I can do it.” 

You can, though! We dreamt up this new life together, but we had no idea what we were doing. We had no special qualifications that made it possible for us to leave our jobs and start a business. We just knew it was right, and we would regret it forever if we didn’t try.

So don’t allow doubt to seep in. Always remember it’s possible.  

  • Keep it close while you plan. 🤫

So, you’ve just made this huge life-altering decision to leave your job and head out for the unknown. Maybe you’ve just started, or maybe you’ve been there for years. Either way, once you have committed to this decision, you are going to be able to breathe again, sleep better, and see the world in a whole new light. 

You are going to feel, what is that . . .? Joy . . .? Excitement . . .? All the things! 

People will notice. They are going to want to know what has changed. But if you are still at the beginning stages of planning out your escape, you need to be careful about who you share your plans with. You may normally be the toughest person out there, but you will be really fragile at this point in your journey. You may see the end destination so clearly in your mind, but others won’t. 

Especially people who: 

  • Play it safe and think staying put is the honorable thing to do 
  • Love you and want to protect you from any hurt or disappointment 
  •  Are jealous that you are doing something they think they could never do 

You must keep it close at this stage and only share what is necessary to gather information to plan your route. 

  • Calculate the risks, and know there will be risks. ✍️

This is a hard one because I don’t know your plan. What has been eating at you? What have you been catching yourself saying “one day” about? This is the point when you will need to do some research if you haven’t already. 

For us, money was our biggest issue. Financial concerns are not something I am telling you to take lightly. Instead, I want you to know there are resources out there to help you get started. Just don’t get lost in the research and never move to the next step. You will not be able to plan out every single possibility, and you will never have enough money saved. 

At some point, you have to go for it! 

  • Be careful about comparing yourself to others. ⚖️

During research, you may have followed other people who have jumped into this world. You see their professional websites and the pictures of all they have accomplished, and you start to think that you could never get there. 

The fear will start creeping in, disguising itself as realistic and reasonable. It will say you aren’t qualified enough, you aren’t good enough, and you will never make it. 

Do NOT let fear win. 

Many unique things set you apart from others who have forged the path ahead of you. If whatever you are looking at on social media or thinking about in your spare time is not educating you or motivating you to move forward, block it out! You were uniquely made to be you! 

This is your dream. Focus on that. 

  • Take a step forward. 👣

We kind of jumped, but everyone’s pace is different. You do you. Just make sure that you are taking steps forward. 

Every single day, make sure you are taking a step—even if it is a baby step. Sometimes you will be side-stepping a little as your vision aligns with the destination on the horizon. It will seem like you are moving in the wrong direction, maybe even feel like you are going backward, but you are moving, and that is what matters. 

Sometimes we need to turn a little to end up at the right place. Also, remember to leave the mistakes of the past behind. Learn from them and move on to what is ahead.  

  • Block out negativity! 🛡️

At some point, you will need to tell the people in your life about your plan. Just know that their reactions may not all be positive. 

Don’t open it up for discussion. 

And don’t look for or read into others’ reactions, either. You would be surprised how much an eye roll can affect you. Just briefly share the plan and explain that you hope they will be happy for you. 

It’s okay if they ask questions you don’t know the answer to. Just tell them you will figure it out (and if it’s a good question you hadn’t thought of, make a mental note and revisit it later). 

Shield your heart for this, and open your mind to criticism. You may actually get some helpful feedback. If nothing else, you can do what I have always done; take someone else’s doubts and use them to fuel the fire burning inside you.  

  • Take time to celebrate yourself. 🎉

The time range from when you decide to leave your job until you walk out the door will vary for everyone. It is important to take time to focus on your progress, however big or small it may be. Whether it’s making a phone call, applying for a loan, selling things to start your dream fund, or whatever small step you take, make sure to celebrate yourself. Be like, “Dang, I am doing this!”  

  • Look for resources and be a resource for others later. 🔍

I believe most people are good. 

There are people out there who want to help you realize your dream. Look for those people. Your best resources will be those who have stepped out and taken a similar route. 

There are also people and companies that specialize in whatever you need help with. Lately, I have been using Fiverr for many of my projects, and it is very affordable. If you haven’t heard of it, be sure to check it out. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. When we first started, I spent hours on the phone asking questions. I would try to do my due diligence by searching for the answer first. Then, if I couldn’t figure it out, I would ask someone.  

Most of the time, I thought I would feel really stupid. But I ended up feeling good about what I had learned—or that I even knew to ask the right question. Just make sure that you go back after learning and try to help someone else along the way! 

  • Leave on a good note. 😀

You have done all the things, and now it is time to put in your notice and finish out those last few weeks. Make sure—and I really stress this—please make sure that you leave on a good note. No matter how badly you want to tell them to take this job and shove it, don’t do it. If you want to prove a point, do it by putting all that energy into your new venture. 

You’ve got this!

We started our journey together that night on the porch, and it has been ever-changing since. We did our year in Florida, and it was wonderful and so, so hard, but I have no regrets. And we are off on new ventures now. 

I never thought this small-town girl who used to get homesick at church camp (nine miles away from home) would have grown to have a gypsy soul, but I have. Our eyes have opened to a new world, and I believe the quote by Robert Frost: 

“Freedom lies in being bold.” 


Life is short. Take the Bold Route!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top