Know When To Quit, and When Not To

Before leaving my last job, I gave it six months to improve. I wrote a letter to my supervisor asking for a raise, arguing that I was continually doing more work but receiving no additional compensation.

After submitting my request, I made a promise to myself: At the end of six months, if I hadn’t received the raise as requested then I would quit my job. The time came, and I quit.

Looking back on it now, I know it was the right decision. After two years with the organization, it was time to quit. Here’s why:

More Work, Same Income

The above graph represents the relationship that existed between the amount of work I was doing on the job and my income while working there. Since I earned salary, my income was constant. Since I am proactive by nature, I took on additional projects outside of my job description. The result? Being taken advantage of by my employer for two years.

Now, this wasn’t my employer’s fault — we just weren’t the best match for each other. The job was definitely more suited for someone that would take the “do the least amount of work possible without getting fired” approach. Consequently, my “go getter” approach didn’t fit in.

Having failed to realize this, I worked hard expecting a raise that would never manifest. Strangely, the other thing I failed to realize was that getting a raise wouldn’t actually help me:

Graph: Getting a Raise Only Helps Temporarily

As shown in this second graph, getting a raise would’ve only corrected my situation temporarily. A larger income would result in larger amounts of work, meaning it wouldn’t be long before the additional work exceeded the value of the raise. In other words, the raise would only satisfy me for a finite amount of time before I was in the same position of being taken advantage of.

Readers with business sense are probably thinking “What do you mean, being taken advantage of? That’s how business is designed to work — the business pays you less than they plan to earn from you.”

My point is that I don’t fit the standard business model. I don’t like being told what to do, I get bored quickly when I’m not doing something challenging, and I like earning income that is a direct result of how hard I worked for it.

In other words, I don’t like the traditional idea of working — trading time for money seems inefficient, especially when there are more things I want to do with my time besides work. After coming to terms with this, I’m grateful that my request for a raise was refused.

If I had received the raise, I wouldn’t have quit when I did. I would’ve stayed around until the temporary satisfaction expired — and further stifled the entrepreneur in me.

Once I made the decision to quit, I moved to another state with a plan to reinvent myself. Instead of looking to work for someone else, I began working for myself. I started writing original articles for LifeReboot, and I made another promise to myself: In six months, if my site wasn’t earning an average of $10 a day, then I’d give up my entrepreneurial adventure and look for more traditional work.

In the first month, LifeReboot earned $0.
The second month, it earned $42. (Average $1.40/day)
The third, $126. (Average $4.20/day)
The fourth, $171. (Average $5.70/day)
The fifth isn’t over yet, and has already earned $286. (Average $9.53/day)
(Edit: LifeReboot’s Current Monthly Earnings are available in this article.)

If the trend continues, then I will undoubtedly reach the six month goal that I aimed for. If the trend continues for years, then I will have succeeded in discovering a way to earn income working smarter instead of harder:

Graph: The Ideal Relationship -- Same Work, Increasing Income

If you were given a choice of how you’d like the relationship between how hard you work and how much you earn from it, I’m certain you’d like something similar to the graph above. When I sought out an income that takes advantage of exponential growth, I believed I would never achieve it working a traditional job.

Creating six month deadlines for myself have helped me create positive change in my life. If I hadn’t decided to quit my previous job, LifeReboot would still be just an idea in my head. If I hadn’t given LifeReboot a time limit to earn a specific value, I may not have worked as hard as I did. Now that my original goal is on the horizon, I’m certain I shouldn’t give up.

Which brings me to my point: Look around you. Imagine where current trends will be taking you in the next few years. If you like where you’re going, then keep at it — but if you don’t, then start making some changes.

If you've found this website helpful, please click the PayPal button. You will be helping me pursue my dream career as a writer. Thanks for your support!

54 Responses to “Know When To Quit, and When Not To”

#1 Joel on 27, Jul, 2007 at 8:47 am

You’ve inspired me to make money off my music and teaching guitar. It’s funny, but I’ve always viewed the 9-5 job as stable. I now realise what is really stable is what you create yourself.

#2 Amanda on 27, Jul, 2007 at 9:50 am

I love this post! All you have said is so true. I quit my job about 3 years ago because my husband was transferred to another state. BUT, this forced me to start working for myself and I found it much more empowering than the 9-5 jobs. I like your ideas about being aware of what one’s current trends are.

#3 Vijay Teach Me on 27, Jul, 2007 at 11:04 am

Very well said, May I recommend the book: The 4 hour work week. by Tim Ferris


#4 Vijay Teach Me on 27, Jul, 2007 at 11:07 am

“The fifth isn’t over yet, and has already earned $286. (Average $9.53/day)”

All this with Google Adsense alone you can start to dyersify your income pool. Just a recommendation.


#5 alejandro on 27, Jul, 2007 at 11:49 am


this article reflects the reality of many of us, ’cause sometimes we take additional job , and we think that the employer will recognize that.
Now you made a good point it’s also our fault ’cause been proactives sometimes doesn’t necessary bring an income or the benefits that we want.

the 1st and 2nd graphs really represent a situation that i lived before, now, i’m in a new job and i hope i can achieve the graph #3 here.


#6 lavalinx on 27, Jul, 2007 at 3:42 pm

Nice explanation. I started two businesses this last couple years. Now I can take my proactive, work-aholic approach and make a better life for myself instead of an employer.

#7 Just a guy on 27, Jul, 2007 at 6:16 pm

So.. why doesn’t your workload graph increase when you work for yourself? Are you less of a go-getter? Are you lazier now that you’re self employed?

#8 david on 27, Jul, 2007 at 6:49 pm

how can you live off of 10 dollars per day?

#9 Lauriesman on 27, Jul, 2007 at 7:19 pm


Here’s what you might want to do:

1. Stop giving advice.
2. Think twice when you are writing something and it’s in the third person narrative voice.
3. Reboot this website. This is the one point I will focus on:

a. your website, as it is now, is interesting only because you are a slacker giving advice on how to fix our miserably fucked lives.
b. Consider opening your site to other contributing authors, and make it a social site with networking. There are many more people who have rebooted their lives and it was a lot more complicated than quitting a video-game and moving to Michigan… let them tell their stories (in addition to yours).
c. Moving to Michigan would be considered by many people to be a puzzling and bad thing to do. Michigan is not a place for over-achievers, as you claim to be.
d. Make more than 10 bucks per day. Refer to item ‘a’ and put ads on it– do some merchandising, pay for some marketing, do some guerilla ad work, and whatever it takes to make more than ten dollars a day.

That’s it for now. I have to go and sleep because I have to go to my job tomorrow (which I love).

#10 Lauriesman on 27, Jul, 2007 at 7:24 pm

Forgot one little item:

e. Write more than one tiny article for every three days you are supposed to be working for yourself. I’d say put your money where your mouth is, but there isn’t any money….

#11 Lauren on 27, Jul, 2007 at 8:05 pm

To Just a guy: I think Shaun is doing something here that I do a lot as a teacher: Simplifying the picture to prove a point. If he had a method of actually measuring the work load into data and graphing it the outcome would look differently, but the point is still valid. You can’t deny that he is experiencing an exponential increase of income and enjoying his work more.

#12 Jinno on 28, Jul, 2007 at 12:25 am

I actually agree with Lauriesman on a few points. This is the internet, which you have and continue to acknowledge. I can respect that you are merely using this as an open forum to promote your writing and advice.

And I think you should continue to do so. But I think also that there are going to be times when your writing isn’t going to be enough to keep the members flowing. Your experiment is a success, you’re going to hit that $10 a month mark, and probably soar higher.

But the very title of your blog lends itself to a much broader horizon. You could be promoting a network for those people who are trying to reboot their lives and start enjoying their lives as you are now. As I’m sure you’ve had many people supporting you through the rough patches of this experiment, there are those of us who are willing to take a leap, but without the support of people we may lose the inclination to keep out of our safe zones.

Even still, you could increase your income by simply adding a forum to your website and merely include AdSense on every page. If the forum got popular enough that’d certainly increase revenue, and it’d still be able to increase the emphasis on there being more than just you rebooting your life. It could also give you more topics to write about, so that your advice could be more tailored to certain people rather than being broad.

#13 Bobsmith on 28, Jul, 2007 at 1:31 pm

If a beggar on the street makes $1 his first week, $2 the next, and $4 the following- that does not mean that in 4 months he’ll be making $4k a week.

Your assumption is that traffic to your blog and ad revenue have no ceiling. That’s grossly false…

#14 micah on 29, Jul, 2007 at 1:05 am

Sad thing is, StumbleUpon will probably bring many people like me to this exact page, making our writer more and more money, justifying his nonsense. … But I hardly doubt this is a good business model by any standard, even your own 10$/day one.

#15 chris on 29, Jul, 2007 at 3:09 am

heh. you have run afoul of the most dangerous phrase in all of economics: “if the trend continues…”

lots of luck to you bud, but if you get what you hoped for, dont fool yourself that it WASN’T luck.

#16 Andi on 29, Jul, 2007 at 1:32 pm

I don’t care if it’s nonsense or not, anything that makes people think about the way they make their money is a good thing in my book.

#17 bill on 29, Jul, 2007 at 3:23 pm

I don’t see how anyone makes money off of Google Adsense…I rarely see one that is relevant and when they are, they don’t seem credible. Who the hell is clicking on these things?!?!

#18 remoh on 29, Jul, 2007 at 3:59 pm

after getting took by all those get rich quick schemes now I’ve finally found a scheme where I’ll really get rich — and quick!

#19 Still, Money Isn’t Everything « Mike Cane’s Blog on 29, Jul, 2007 at 5:03 pm

[…] Still, Money Isn’t Everything Know When To Quit, and When Not To […]

#20 Kevin on 29, Jul, 2007 at 6:20 pm

Certainly the path to success this way is a hard one. It’s not saying you can’t do it, it’s just that I believe you’re going to need to be more imaginative and more aggressive.

As David Bowie said in ‘Changes’ (which should probably be the theme song to this site) — “you want to be a richer man? You’re going ot have to be a different man. Time may change me, but I can’t trace time”.

Good luck —

#21 lurker on 29, Jul, 2007 at 6:41 pm

2 years ago I was a struggling real estate salesman… This year I’ve already netted over 1,000,000 with my strictly online business at 29 years old.

The way to make big money online is (and always has been) through selling actual products.

People get clouded by visions of these huge myspace/youtube sellouts… Truth is they are super rare needles in a haystack.

Luckily one can now sell products with little to no overhead (downloadable courses, software, ebooks, videos, etc)

Very few people get “plentyoffish” rich with content sites.

Of course “getting rich” might also not be what your after…

#22 MoneyMan on 29, Jul, 2007 at 7:39 pm

Your graphs hit home. By the way, are they really the crayon drawings they appear to be? I’ve never seen graphs presented like that.

Anyway, congratulations for getting your 3 hours/day back. If you’ve inspired someone else to quit playing those MMOGs, then you’ve done them a great service by writing this post.

Did you ever think there was a reason why you were “underpaid?” The amount of time you spend at work and the amount of work you do says nothing about the quality of your work. Were you doing a good job? Just food for thought.

#23 Webmaster X on 29, Jul, 2007 at 9:24 pm

You call yourself an entrepreneur because you make $10 / day after 5 months? If you ever make any real money on the internet you will look back at this nonsense and realize you were completely retarded.

#24 Steve Tylock on 30, Jul, 2007 at 12:00 pm

Some people give, others take. It’s relatively easy to “work” for those that have a similar feeling about this spectrum. It’s hard to work for those that take when you want to give.

Give First Economics:

The trick is to do the thing you are here for – in such a way that you get paid for it.

#25 Mike on 30, Jul, 2007 at 5:10 pm


I think there are some great ideas for improvement in the comments on this page. Make sure you consider them thoroughly.

As has been said, this website is a great opportunity. It has been dugg a few times, and its a great concept. Now put yourself in gear, and really build something great: not just a blog about your self-help ideas… but something worthy of a great deal of traffic and revenue. Otherwise, I fear you’ll fade back to the 9 to 5 faster then your graph suggests.

Without other stories of success, I fear that your voice will continue to be weakened by the 6 months of experience behind it.

Best of luck to you and your adventures.

#26 Tushar on 31, Jul, 2007 at 1:34 am

It seems as if you have written each n every thing about my life ! Did you steal my thoughts ??
I am having 2 years of experience and same feelings.
I think it’s high time for me also to do something. This post has made be live again. Thanks for this inspirational and wonderful post.

#27 Leion on 31, Jul, 2007 at 10:33 am

I have been reading many quit-your-job-and-do-something-else stories lately. Very inspiring indeed!

#28 Me on 03, Aug, 2007 at 12:28 pm

$10 a day? How can you possibly live off that. If you consider an average 8 hour work day that would equate to $1.25 a day, grossly below minimum wage. Yes I do know that you no longer get paid based on a function of time you spend working, but nevertheless, the bills you have to pay are still determined based on time. $10 a day would be considered way below the poverty line wouldn’t it?

I don’t know about michigan, but here in California, you can make 64 dollars a day working at starbucks. Even beggars enjoy higher income than you. This isn’t exactly an inspiring story of “quit your job and get rich by other means”

By any rate it would be more of a “quit your job and become poverty stricken by even third world country standards”

#29 Wes on 08, Aug, 2007 at 5:39 pm

While I agree that if you feel unappreciated working the job that you do. And that everyone should be payed enough for what they do. I totally disagree with is the relation of money and enjoying what you do.
At the point where money is the only positive thing about your work quit. But don’t make it look like money is all you can get from a job. The opportunity to learn, work with people, accomplishing things are some aspects of work that make you enjoy it.
I personally think that people that only care about the money are rarely motivated enough to justify a raise. Maybe the guy that said something about you under performing, was on to something?

#30 Design Enterprise » Blog Archive » Constructive Images on 13, Aug, 2007 at 3:16 am

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#31 puttputt on 13, Aug, 2007 at 4:35 am

You make the mistake that business models fit either a zero, first or second order function when in fact they are non-linear (just take look at the stock market).

When you work at “boring” jobs you are deferring the risk to your boss. The less risk you take the less money you make, however taking on more risk means just that, i.e. you have more risk making no money and less chance hitting it big.

So it’s a trade off. The safest option is to take a boring day job while you work at a high risk night job. At worst you will get pooped but you won’t starve.

#32 din on 14, Oct, 2007 at 5:40 am

i have been slugging in the creative industry for the past 10 years. doing branding works onlife and ofline for some of the largest brands in the world. but i’ve soon realised that while i will still struggle everyday with continuous deadlines and pressure, i don’t think i will ever get rich this way.

#33 Teddy Wong on 14, Oct, 2007 at 7:18 am

You are right and I also want to quit my job because the income will be limited but working hour and input must greater. The incoem from salary will only raise a little bit yearly or after promotion. However, it is not enough to enjoy a good life.

I will also quit my job when I can generate enough income for myself. I want to work for myself too.

#34 MAX on 15, Oct, 2007 at 3:09 pm


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#38 Will Kriski on 15, Mar, 2008 at 11:53 am

Great post. It’s nice to see some people taking control of their careers. Every action should have a purpose behind it. I hope you can fully support yourself with online income one day.

#39 Mark McClure Coaching on 10, Jun, 2008 at 9:46 am

Sometimes knowing when to quit is tougher than just “hanging in there”. Your mileage may vary.
mark mcclure

#40 rat race addict on 24, Jul, 2008 at 9:28 pm

put it this way- imagine the show matrix-some people prefer to be in the matrix (ASSUMING NOTHING HAPPENS) and some pple just want to be out of the matrix. its a choice.but it is sure not a easyway. but respect to people who can walk out of the matrix and control their lives!!! as for me, i am simple, i just want to be happy for what i am doing even though the tough gets going.

#41 lol on 15, Oct, 2008 at 12:49 pm

are you homeless?

#42 Zad on 10, Feb, 2009 at 8:59 pm

.this article is so old, and should not be used at all in a time where finding a job is like finding a needle in a haystack. I’m not sure why a page like this got in the stumbleupon indexes but it definetly is a good article, just giving a headsup for everyone out there not to go by it in the “wonderful” economy we are living in now

#43 Shaun Boyd on 11, Feb, 2009 at 10:57 am

What you’re saying is true. The advice given in the article is dated, and might not apply to today’s economy. Right now, most people who are still employed feel lucky to have a job. However, the article does make you think, especially if you can relate to the situation I describe, and that’s really the point — to raise awareness.

#44 scuppers on 14, Feb, 2009 at 1:11 pm

A few things come to mind:
1.)There are a lot of people slamming this article because Shaun starts out with a modest goal of $10 a day. In any business, you have to start somewhere, and that first step’s a doozy. Every big business started as a small one, and every small business had its first dollar, its first customer.
2.)It sounds like to Shaun (and to me too, actually), being independent and having some link between the work you do and the pay you get is worth quite a bit actually.
3.)Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you really step back and think about what’s going on with “today’s economy,” it’s that people depended on some large companies, banks, and other questionable institutions for too long, and didn’t depend on themselves and the “sweat of their brow.” People who are getting laid off (like me), are learning the hard way that to work for a big company’s not any more secure than working for yourself, and that working for yourself is an interesting alternative – where you control the parameters of your own reality. That’s what freedom is after all, right? Controlling as many of the things that affect you as possible.

#45 AJ Kumar on 24, Feb, 2009 at 4:47 am

wow..very interesting topic. $10 a day…thats awesome! you can do so much with that!

#46 Saiba quando pedir demissão, e quando não « Muitolegal’s Blog on 16, Mar, 2009 at 10:35 pm

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#47 Carolyn on 10, Jul, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Hello I quit my job And i havent been able to find one in the economy I have been at crossroads Of thinking of moving out of state And then i been thinking about working on my own But i been trying to figure What that would be And how to get started I have been in out of jobs And working for company is getting harder So your website is preety interesting and helpful to me To figure out how to move out of state And working for your self Maybe i will figure it out I heard about freelance Any one have any information on that Will thanks Carolyn

#48 Gianpaolo Pietri | The Optimalists on 30, Jan, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Great story. The visual diagrams really help drive home the point. I went through a similar situation with my old boss, and am glad to be rid of the parody, even though I am still not where I need to be with my new ventures. But being your own boss is irreplaceable.

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#51 Saying No and Scaling Back: Separate, But Related Choices | Higher Ed Career Coach on 17, May, 2011 at 8:10 am

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#52 Sumisu on 14, Apr, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Look, I will say this about this man’s website – he’s got hope, he has a positive attitude and he did something a lot of you wussy people are afraid to do. You are afraid to walk up to your pisshole of a boss and say ‘take this job and shove it!’. I have a shitty boss. I would love to have that courage, I would love to tell her to shove it. I’m not courageous enough and I am still afraid.

I’m looking at getting fired because my organization wants 100% perfection all the time. Bullshit. We are all human. I have poured hours and hours and hours of my life into this shithole job. I wish I had the courage to take a shit on my boss’ desk and walk out. I’d rather be making ten dollars a day than making 100 something and being so freaking unhappy I am working on a certifiable ulcer.

So I think what he is trying to say and some of you retards are interpreting as lazy is this: ‘You only have one fucking life, don’t be a dumb shit and waste it doing crap you hate. No job is worth going in nauseous everyday trying to meet unreachable goals because your boss is a sadist bitch’.

So, understand that money isn’t everything, happiness and contentment are extremely important – and DON’T WASTE YOUR FREAKING LIFE!

#53 linda on 16, Apr, 2012 at 10:08 am

Thank You!!! your right!!! time to move on wanted to do it for yrs .NOW I WILL-BAD BOSSES SUCK.MINE HAD IT GOOD WITH ME AROUND ,BUT NOT ANY MORE I’M TAKING MY LIFE BACK!!!!!

#54 Ronny on 29, Aug, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Shaun Boyd, that’s almost the same exact stuffs that i had been through with my last employer. I always think of myself as the hardworking type. But no matter how much I do or how early i reach the office, the amount of work just get more and more to the point that i feel that my employer was taking advantage of (that’s euphemism for “exploiting”) the hours and energy that i had been contributing to the company, and the same monthly income had to finance my livelihood. To cut the story short, i quit at the end of my 7th month there.

2 thumbs up to you Shaun!!!

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