This is a guest submission by Anthony from ManVsClock.com
On a typical day at the grind, I usually have a sinking feeling in the pit my stomach; antsy in the knowledge that the people I am spending most of my time with are the people I care about the least.
The grounding realisation that 70% of my life is whored out, in a futile effort for financial independence, social acceptance and personal happiness also leaves me with the burden of that guilty feeling.
You’ll know the one I mean, the greatest crime and tragedy to mankind – not being true to one’s self.
On July 3rd 2011 I took my usual journey to work on the train, but I had a bit of a more positive swagger in my walk on this particular day. For this was the day I handed in my notice to my boss. Slam! On the desk, how d’ya like them apples? Magic stuff! (Smile, you’ll get there!)
Oh where are my manners? I haven’t introduced myself yet! Hello, my name is Anthony and I’m from a small town in the North-East of England. There seems to be a sense of immense pride here about working the grind. Social brownie points are handed out to those who sell their soul the most to make another man rich and we are made to feel guilty for having too much recreational time.
Most people who I know don’t really seem to ‘get’ why I have always wanted to so aggressively escape the rat race, but I believe they secretly do, deep down. I suppose it’s like that saying in the film ‘Fight Club;’ the first rule about feeling depressed and disillusioned is…
The Day I Decided To Take Action (and responsibility)
Back on November 20th, 2010 I simply decided enough was enough. My job was affecting my happiness, social life, relationships and health. I had fallen asleep at the wheel for the 3rd time that month and with risk of sounding dramatic, I was completely miserable! And trust me; November is not a good time to be miserable in North-East England!
I needed a new plan. It seems whining about your life and not doing anything to change it doesn’t actually make it better! On this day I had to take action as I was sick of this smothering feeling of hopelessness. So I made the affirmation; one year to quit my job and leave England on a one-way ticket in pursuit of a feeling of living than merely existing. No excuses. And as if that wasn’t impulsive enough – I started a blog to hold me publicly accountable, affectionately known as “Man Versus Clock.”
I expected to be talking to myself on the internet for a year and didn’t think people would really care about what I was doing. Thankfully I was wrong!
The support I’ve received from like-minded people has spurred me on and made me feel like less of a weirdo for not wanting to work loads of hours for pennies until I’m nearly dead! I regularly receive comments and emails from people all over the world who can relate to my feelings and connecting with them has been an absolute god-send.
That being said, it made me really focus on what I hated about the grind. This last year in my job has been insanely hard on an emotional level and I’ve never really told those around me my true feelings. I don’t like to be the party-pooper. The unsociable hours of work have taken a toll on my fitness – a thing that I have always been so proud of. Exercise was also my vice, and I’m simply going nuts without it! It’s like locking a Border Collie puppy in a basement!
Because I am so petrified of running out of money, I was initially going to leave my job in October but I honestly couldn’t take any more of the grind. I have £4000 saved up, which is nowhere near how much I wanted and some may say leaving my job is reckless, but I’m feeling psychologically up to the task and I believe it’s because of where I have been focusing my energies.
People often ask me what I’m going to do, how am I going to survive without a steady paycheck? I honestly don’t know the answer yet. Maybe I’ll make some money with my blogs (I have 2 others, sport-related) and get paid for writing about what I love? Maybe I’ll start a business? Maybe I’ll volunteer? Maybe I’ll fail badly? I honestly don’t know. My future is one of uncertainty, but it makes me feel alive.
It’s rather stressful not knowing what’s around the corner and how I’m going to make money to survive, but I’d take nerves and excitement over all of the sacrifices of working in a job I hate any day!
The Importance Of The RIGHT Support Group
I think it’s extremely important to find the right support group when wanting to end the grind. What I mean by that is, take comfort from and mix with those who empathise with your situation but are doing something about it. It’s easy to just log on to Facebook and bitch about your job and although you’ll get the inevitable sympathy – you’ll still be in a job that you hate.
Make yourself accountable, you don’t have to go to my lengths and start a blog but you can find people who will keep you on course. Switch numbers, email addresses and talk on Skype about what action you are taking to quit the grind. This way, when your support group asks you what you’ve been doing to quit the grind this week, you’ll want to give a good answer.
There were times when I took my foot off the pedal and when asked that question, it provided the needed kick up the backside and got me going. As mentioned before, when you do this you will focus even more on how much you hate your job and it will become even more difficult…good!
Yes, it’s a good thing, make sure you use it. USE that fire in your belly to your benefit and get busy working on you. Because the worse thing we can aim for is apathy. No matter how apathetic we claim to be, there will always be that niggling feeling in the back of our mind that we just gave up on ourselves.
So go to work and play the game. Be that good little worker bee that your boss wants you to be. Smile and nod your head and be that good little robot. And when you get home…
… rip off that work mask and start doing something – anything that’s at least a step towards getting out of the grind. Build that support network, don’t be shy! There are people out there just like you who feel exactly how you feel! I only wish I didn’t wait this long to find out.
Anthony is about to leave England for an adventure of uncertainty and awesomeness. He has vowed to focus on doing the stuff that excites him and makes him feel alive! You can follow him at manvsclock.com, on Twitter, or Facebook.