When I first started my career, the idea was still pretty solidly that you work for some big company and get promoted to make more money and have a more comfortable life. This was the early days of the internet so the concept of driving people around in your car or sharing your house with someone for money didn’t exist.
I never really seemed to care though, I had found what I loved, or at least enjoyed doing that people valued, making sense of data.
The thing that shook me into a new way of thinking came about 5 years later when I survived a layoff at the software company I was working at. The thing about this layoff, I had been through others before, was that the company let go of the most key people on our team. Or at least, this was my view at the time.
Fearful I’d be let go also I decided to post my resume on a tech job website (dice.com) I was shocked at the response. Three days later after a handful of phone interviews, I had two job offers, both more than double my salary. I took these to my boss at the time not sure what to do. He told me to take one of them. From this point on my perspective shifted, I knew the skills I had developed over my five years were valuable, and I could find work anywhere if I so chose.
This led me on a long and fruitful career until the point when I learned that deep skills in a valuable area have greater potential than just trading time for money, even if it was $250 per hour (yes, this is how much I charged clients)
I wanted to help others enjoy a bountiful career as I had so I began to publish my insights online. First they were small tips on this site then later they grew into full online courses that now have helped over 500,000 students.
This last part, a one-to-many relationship with your impact is how you can truly escape work.
I left my “full-time” job April 1st, 2016 (no joke) and couldn’t imagine ever going back.
So here’s the general path I followed to escape work and get control of my situation:
- Develop skill in a valuable area (3-5yrs)
- Find a way to share that skill with others (18mo)
- Offer a paid version of that help (6mo)
- Continue to focus on helping your customers
At some point, maybe already, you’ll want to leave your full-time job as I did. This is natural and scary. You’ll have to decide how much risk you’re willing to take before pulling the cord. I was making about 80% of my regular salary with my online business when I hit eject. At that time I had a six-month-old son and had recently bought my first Tesla, so I had a low tolerance.
I’d love to hear your story if you are on this path or go down it anytime soon, ping me on twitter or just reply to this email. And if you’re interested in becoming a data professional like I was you can get my free course “Data Pro Kickstart” by signing up here