I talk to countless people who want to live a more earth friendly lifestyle and pursue their true passions but explain to me that they are just too caught up in the rat race. By this I mean working a job to earn money and then paying bills and debt and not having the free time to live the life they truly desire. A vast majority of Americans are in debt and so often working to get from month to month with bills.
This is my guide and advice on how to quit your job that doesn’t serve you or the earth. I write this to those of you who really want to stop destroying the earth, causing harm to other people and animals, and really take back your lives. This is going to take dedication, educating yourself, critical thinking, and an open mind to trying new things. This blog really isn’t intended for people who only think and care about themselves. Rather, it’s for people who’ve woken up to the massive environmental and social issues we’re dealing with but are stuck in the system and want to get out of it. None of this is black and white, there are gray areas and no matter what we do we’ll never be able to be perfectly morally straight, or live in a manner that causes no harm. But we can all do so much more and we can all start today. That’s what this guide is here to help you do.
I am suggesting and encouraging you to quit your job if it doesn’t serve you or the earth. I am not telling you that I don’t support jobs or working. I do. I just don’t support semi-slaving away our lives to a job that doesn’t serve us as individuals and drains our health and happiness. I also do not support jobs that cause vast destruction to the earth. We need this earth and the resources on it to remain intact and in a manner that we can live on. If we’re all just plugging away at jobs that cause vast amounts of destruction, then jobs will cease to exist anyway because we’ll cease to exist. Maybe jobs will be here for us, but not for future generations. I believe it’s very short sighted to work a job that destroys the earth just so we can pay our bills, or feel successful in our relatively short time on this planet.
So how to quit this job that you know deep down isn’t what you want? Well the answer is quite simple. Just quit. I’d say do the respectable thing and give them the notice that you’ve agreed to give. Unless it’s a truly corrupt, crooked, or destructive company, then I say just quit today. For some of you reading this, that’s it. You’re done, just quit.
For others that is not going to be enough and I understand that actually quitting may not feel or be that easy. So I want to help out with that and make this as practical as I can. Here’s my 11-step guide:
- Take the time to think about your job. Does this job cause you mental health issues, depression, or make you a less healthy and happy person? Does this job go against your morals or ethics? Does this job cause destruction that you don’t agree with to the earth, animals, or other people? Be honest with yourself. Do you have a painful feeling in your gut that you just shouldn’t be doing this job? Do you have to rationalize to yourself the reasons it’s ok to have this job? If your answer to these questions is yes, then you should keep reading. If your answer was no to all of these then I’d day say you’ve got a good thing going on!
- Assess your situation. It is very commonplace and accepted in our culture to go into debt over our heads. Our culture makes it very easy to get into debt so I feel for anyone who is in this situation. The debts I hear of the most from peers are credit card debt, school loans, and mortgages. I bring up debt now because most of us don’t have a fresh start and we’re stuck in the middle of what we’ve created. Do the math and calculate your monthly expenses and your debt. Do the math to see how much work it would take you to get out of debt. You’ve got to take control of your finances otherwise it’s too easy to spend your entire life spinning around in the viscous cycle of bills and debt.
- Pay off your debt. An ideal scenario after step 2 is that you can pay off all of your debts and then never go back into debt again. This step is for those that can do that. If you have the money to pay off all your debts then do it and vigorously do what it takes to not go back into debt (more on how to do this in the next steps). I’m not an expert on debt, but I have a few suggestions to help. If you can’t pay your debt straight away with cash, then liquidate any of your possessions to get yourself out of debt. This could be your car, jewelry, sporting equipment, investments, and anything that you have that you can sell.
3a. Pay off your debt. If you don’t have enough money to pay off your debt or you still want to continue making money, but you’ve realized how important it is to leave your destructive job then here’s an option for you. Quit your job and get a job that is right for you and the earth. That may not be easy to find but it just may be. Now that you are aware and have decided that you are done with your destructive job put serious energy into finding a job that is part of the solution. Don’t settle. Pour your energy into this if it’s what you want.
3b. Pay off your debt? If you don’t have enough money to pay off your debt, then figure out if it is actually possible to ever pay it off or likely that you’ll be able to. You have to decide what is more important: Following through with your promise to the credit card companies, mortgage companies, etc. or to start living a life that’s not destroying the earth. Is paying back a corporation more important than halting the destruction of our only home and the millions of species that are dependent on us not destroying it? From a holistic earth approach, what is more ethical – continuing to give money to an organization that is destroying the earth in order “do to the right thing”, or to take that money and dedicate it to reviving the earth and humankind in need from the destruction we’ve already caused to it? This is a question for you to ponder and a question I don’t have the answer to. I’m not advocating stealing, but I’m also advocating for prioritizing the health of our planet and our race. If you decide not to pay your debts, then I encourage you to do whatever you can to be as fair and helpful as possible to these agreements you made. And if you decide not to pay your debts, then don’t be a hypocrite. You have to remove yourself from that system and truly dedicate yourself to the betterment of our earth and society. Again, I am no debt expert and this is a tough topic, but these are my suggestions. It’s not going to be a perfect solution for everyone and it’s a tricky situation, but I hope these ideas can be of service to you.
- Stay out of debt so you don’t feel that you have to go back to a job that you don’t agree with. This means abolishing any ways that allow you to get into debt. A very simple solution to that in terms of credit card debt is cutting up and canceling every single one of your credit cards (see 11 Reasons I canceled my credit cards). Staying out of debt simply comes down to never spending money that you don’t have. This would mean not getting into a mortgage (lifetime debt for most people), working to pay for school if you are going to go instead of taking out loans, and simply going without anything that you can’t afford. As far as expensive university goes decide if it’s worth being in debt for life or decades to go to university. I think there is a lot of value in university, and I am happy that I went, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary and I think there are many alternative ways to have a successful life and be a contributing member of society.
- Cancel all of your bills. It’s a process, but I recommend going bill free. If you never have any bills that you have to pay at the end of the month you’ll be more secure without a job. I currently live without a bill to my name and my cellphone was the last to go (see why I got rid of my cellphone). I used to have at least a dozen bills and I slowly got rid of all of them. Getting rid of my car was a huge one for me because that ended insurance, registration, maintenance, and gasoline. The average American spends $7,000/ year on their car, which is basically January and February of work for the average American (see Selling My Car… Bought My Freedom). Riding a bike is a nearly moneyless alternative to driving a car.
- Let’s talk about rent. There are a few options that I’ll touch on. First is living off the grid and doing away with rent completely (see my off the grid tiny house). Another is to do a work exchange either at an organic farm, or live aboard work such as care for an elder. Then there’s always renting out rooms in your house to cover the cost of your own rent or at least drastically decrease it. I used to use airbnb.com and craigslist.com to do this when I had a three-bedroom apartment and it covered the cost of my rent.
- Focus on your health. Practice natural health care. This means eating a truly healthy diet (see the planet friendly diet). Practice a healthy and natural personal hygiene (see my natural personal hygiene) and remove medicine and unnecessary doctor visits from your life. Let food be your medicine. I recommend growing some of your own food. Exercise is very important and you absolutely don’t need to pay for this. Walk, run, bike, do bodyweight exercises, yoga and most importantly incorporate movement into your daily life, rather than having to seek out as much exercise.
- Simplify your life. The less you need, the less money you need, which of course means less time spent at work. Always ask yourself, do I need this or do I just want this? Also when you are about to buy something calculate how many hours of work it would cost to pay for it and ask if it’s really worth it? For example, if you make $7.75 an hour, then is that $4 coffee worth a half hour at work? Cut money out of your life in any way you can find (see 10 things you should get rid of today).
- Share. Rather than owning your own of everything you can share. Great examples are car-sharing programs, the library for books, tool libraries where you can check out tools, and print shops. There’s also the old fashioned way of just sharing with family, friends, and neighbors. Think of how many fewer things you’d need to buy, store, and insure if you shared with others. Renting is another form of sharing and there are so many things you can rent.
- Always make entertainment free. Find your entertainment in relationships, all of the earths elements, spending time outside, free events, etc. There are so many ways to entertain yourself without spending a penny.
- Dedicate your life to making the world a happier, healthier place and make your life all about that. People will gravitate towards this because so many people are yearning for this and you’ll find a lot of support.
I’ve found that security does not lie in money or a job. That is an illusion of security. Real security lies in relationships, knowledge, resourcefulness, and an understanding of how your surroundings and the earth works.
You can do this. You may only live this one life, so live it the way you truly want to. I was once a part of the never-enough-money cycle and I was in debt too. But I got out of it. Here’s my 5 year timeline of the actions I took that got me to the debt free, bill free life that I live today. It’s not going to fit your life exactly but it could be a very helpful example. I am an example of someone who has done most of the things I’ve talked about in this guide. If I can do this I am certain that you can too! Use my example as education and inspiration, but you need to take control of YOUR life, you are the only one living it and it is completely unique. Like I said, it’s going to take education, dedication, critical thinking, and an open mind. If you’re really serious about this I recommend reading all the links in this article to expand your knowledge.
Need advice? Have a question? Please get in touch.
And please let me know if this article was helpful to you!